Uttar Pradesh (UP)will generate 12.5 million jobs, primarily in rural areas and across small-scale industries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. Since the lockdown was announced on 25 March, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers from UP have returned to the state after losing their livelihood.
At the virtual launch of the ‘Atma Nirbhar Uttar Pradesh Rojgar Abhiyaan’, along with chief minister Yogi Adityanath, Modi said the scheme was a “qualitative and quantitative expansion" of Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan (GKRA), a new central job scheme. He said investors from India and abroad were looking to set up businesses in Uttar Pradesh. Coming to covid, he said many European countries have lagged behind in fighting the pandemic.
“Uttar Pradesh has increased the scope of Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan. While the scheme started by the Centre had 25 programmes under it, the Uttar Pradesh government has not only added more schemes, but has made a quantitative and qualitative improvement [on the GKRA]. Uttar Pradesh government is expected to employ 1.25 crore people under these schemes, of which 60 lakh will get employment in rural areas, and 40 lakh under micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)," Modi said.
While economic activity should continue in the state and in the country, people must maintain social distancing, wear masks and wash hands, Modi said, and added these were precautionary measures to remain safe, in the absence of medicines to treat covid-19. “Social distancing, do-gaz doori, and covering of face were the only medicine against coronavirus pandemic till the time a vaccine is developed. Everyone has faced problems, be it young, old, poor or rich, because of this pandemic and there is no clarity when this pandemic will be over," he said.
Modi said the UP government had provided 3 million houses to the poor, 300,000 government jobs, controlled the law and order situation, made the state open-defecation free in the last three years, and has transferred ₹5,000 crore to 32.5 million women under the Jan Dhan Yojana in the last few months.
Last week, Modi had virtually launched the GKRA, aimed at providing employment to returning migrant workers. Bihar, where the scheme was first launched last week, and Uttar Pradesh are two of the states worst hit by the reverse migration, which was triggered by the lockdown.
The Centre had chosen 116 worst-affected districts by reverse migration across six states. 31 UP districts were chosen for the flagship programme, of which at least 16 districts saw the arrival of over 50,000 migrants each. The central scheme, costing ₹50,000 crore, will run for 125 days.
“Crisis has been turned into an opportunity by the state government. The way that Uttar Pradesh has shown, other states of the country also have a lot to learn from this. I am hopeful that other states, too, will bring such schemes. The achievements and efforts of Uttar Pradesh are huge also because it is not just a state but one that is bigger than a lot of countries in the world."