poorest-districts-with-largest-number-of-migrants-are-ones-that-need-to-generate-employment

 

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Context: To reduce the hardship of migrant workers the central government launched the Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan (GKRA). 

  • It has the twin objectives of providing employment and benefits to villages through the development of rural infrastructure using returning migrants’ skills. 

About the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan:

  • A total of 116 Districts, together accounting for more than 6.7 million migrant workers across six States, namely Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Odisha have been chosen for the campaign which includes 27 Aspirational Districts. 
    • These districts are estimated to cover about 2/3 of such migrant workers.
  • The villages will join this programme through the Common Service Centres and Krishi Vigyan Kendras, maintaining the norms of social distancing in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The ₹50,000 crore programme is to include MGNREGS that allows for 100 days of work for members of rural households. 
  • This campaign of 125 days, which will work in mission mode, will involve intensified and focused implementation of 25 different types of works 
    • to provide employment to the migrant workers on one hand and 
    • create infrastructure in the rural regions of the country on the other hand.
  • The schemes for providing drinking water, road building, and house construction will be expedited in these districts for which the migrant workers who come back from the cities will be employed.
  • The Abhiyaan will be a coordinated effort between 12 different Ministries/Departments, namely, Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Road Transport & Highways, Mines, Drinking Water & Sanitation, Environment, Railways, Petroleum & Natural Gas, New & Renewable Energy, Border Roads, Telecom and Agriculture.
  • It is an umbrella scheme of 25 different government schemes under 12 ministries with the aim of better implementation via a centralised chain of command (the Ministry of Rural Development). 

Critical analysis of the scheme

  • The choice of districts should be guided by the following factors: 
    • The number of migrants from that district
    • how poor those districts are relative to others 
    • how efficient these districts are in terms of delivery of the programme objectives.

Let us evaluate each factor one by one.

  • The number of migrants from that district: While the GKRA scheme only applies to districts which had at least 25,000 returning migrants, there is paucity of recent data on district wise migrant workers. 
    • However Uttar Pradesh and Bihar account for a large part of the out migration and the GKRA has 63 out of 116 districts in UP and Bihar.
  • How poor those districts are relative to others: GKRA districts are on average are less developed based on 
    • night lights data (a proxy for GDP per district), 
    • poverty rates (from the NSS, 68th round, 2011-12), 
    • literacy rates and the proportion of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes population (from the Census 2011)
    • Hence the emphasis on these districts seems justified.
  • Delivery of the programme objectives: 
    • Overlapping work types: Out of 25 work types under the GKRA scheme, 11 of them are already covered under MGNREGA.
    • Linkage with MNREGA: The success of GKRA schemes may be tightly linked to past performance of MGNREGA.
    • District-level performance indicators in the MGNREGA (the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) show that the GKRA districts fare worse on average on an overall composite index of coverage and intensity than the other districts over the period 2011-2019. 
    • In terms of SC/ST coverage too, the GKRA districts do worse on demographic coverage. 
    • Out of 12 districts that reported a higher materials-to-labour expenditure on MGNREGA, nine out of these were the GKRA districts. The materials to labour ratio is mandated by the government to be below 40 per cent.
    • Concentration of MNREGA benefits: In the GKRA districts, benefits of MGNREGA are highly concentrated on some selected beneficiaries and neglects the majority of the targeted poor population. 
  • The state capacity and corruption:
    • Poorer states like Bihar and UP are amongst the worst performers in access measured as person days generated.
    • Irregularities based on the NSS data, suggest that states like Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa, UP and Uttarakhand reveal larger gaps between officially reported employment generation figures and the NSS-based estimates which may reflect irregularities. 
    • Social audits results are not being reported by states like UP and Bihar.
  • Linkage between social audits and performance
  • On the other hand, states like Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan have well matched figures. 
  • Social audit processes have been documented to work especially well in Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Assessment of GKRA

  • The better overall performance of the non-GKRA districts is being driven by their better performance in coverage. 
  • The poorest districts with the largest number of migrant workers are precisely the ones that need to generate employment, but have the least capacity to deliver. 

The Centre has created a bureaucratic structure accountable to the Ministry of Rural Development and that may deliver the right outcomes in the short run, but it remains to be seen how to manage this in the longer run.

Key terms

  • Night-light data are basically the visible lights emanating from the earth captured by satellites from outer space. 
    • The data, which provides a numerical measure of brightness of the earth during the night, is now used by many economists around the world to study economic activities.
    • According to the study, the long-run average growth in real GDP and night-lights moved in close proximity to each other. 
  • “Demographic coverage” is the yearly average employment as a proportion of the 2011 Census rural adult population below the poverty line.
  • “Financial coverage” is the inflation-adjusted average yearly expenditure per rural adult below the poverty line on the programme. 
  • The “demographic/financial intensity” is the average number of days worked/annual (real) payment received per programme participant.

Image source: Mygov

After reading this article, answer the following question for Mains answer writing practice. Also you can get your answer checked free of cost by clicking on the following link.

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Q) The poorest districts with the largest number of migrant workers are precisely the ones that need to generate employment, but have the least capacity to deliver. Critically analyse in context of Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan. (250 words)