The Narendra Modi government will launch a massive rural public works scheme — Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan — on 20 June to provide livelihood to migrant workers and rural citizen.
The campaign involves 125 days of work and will have “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, with a resource envelope of ₹50,000 crore,” the statement said.
“PM @narendramodi to launch Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan on 20th June to boost livelihood opportunities in Rural India,” a Twitter post from the prime minister’s office handle said. The programme will be launched via video conference in the presence of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, the Twitter post added.
The statement did not make it clear but the new scheme may run in tandem with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme that allows for 100 days of work for members of rural households. The rural job guarantee scheme has seen record enrolments in rural areas following the large scale migration of lakhs of workers from their places of employment in cities and towns to the rural areas after the lockdown was imposed from 25 March.
Last month, the government had announced an additional ₹40,000 crore for the rural jobs programme in addition to the ₹61,500 crore announced in the budget on 1 February.
The new scheme is also expected to supplement the ₹1.7 trillion relief package, amounting to about 1% of its gross domestic product, that was announced on 27 March in an attempt to limit the economic damage caused by the coronavirus outbreak and tackle the loss of livelihood of millions of poor hit by an unprecedented 21-day nationwide lockdown.
The relief package –Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Yojana — had aimed to alleviate the financial pain faced by migrant workers, farmers, urban and rural poor and women. Announcing the scheme, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said about 2.2 million health professionals at the frontlines of fighting the Covid-19 outbreak, including doctors, nurses, ASHA workers, paramedics, sanitation workers will be provided medical insurance cover of ₹50 lakh per person. About 800 million people will get 5 kg of wheat or rice each month for the next three months for free over and above the 5kg they already get. Besides, 1kg of pulses for each household will also be given for three months.