GUWAHATI, May 18 - The Assam Government is chalking out a comprehensive plan to provide job cards under the Mahanta Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) to around five lakh migrant workers who will be returning to the State in view of the country wide lockdown to check the spreading of coronavirus pandemic.
Official sources told The Assam Tribune that there would be no shortage of fund for providing job cards not only to the migrant workers who are returning from other states of the country but also to the persons who are migrating from the cities and towns within the State to the rural areas.
Sources said that Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal reviewed the situation yesterday and directed the Panchayat and Rural Development Department to chalk out a comprehensive plan as soon as possible so that job cards can be issued to the migrant workers soon after their return to the State.
Sources revealed that around 5.40 lakh persons working in other parts of Assam have filed applications seeking to return home, while, in recent times, the State is also witnessing migration of people from the cities and towns to the rural areas. More than 6,000 job cards were issued to such migrant workers in the last couple of days and steps have been initiated to expedite the process.
Official sources said that while chalking out schemes for providing work for the job card holders, stress would be given on asset creation, both community and individual assets. As rural roads are being constructed under the PMGSY scheme, construction of roads under the MGNREGA schemes would be taken up only when it is found to be essential.
According to an estimate, unspent amount of around Rs 2396 crore is pending with 2200 gaon panchayats of the State under the 14th Finance Commission allocation and the Chief Minister directed the Panchayat and Rural Development Department to utilize the amount within the next three months. Moreover, under the new Financial Package announced by the Union Finance Minister, the allocation under the MGNREGA has been increased substantially and �under the circumstances, Assam Government will be able to provide job cards to more than five lakh persons if required and there will be no shortage of funds,� sources added.
Meanwhile, while discussing the issue of providing employment opportunities to the migrant workers by providing them job cards under the MGNREGA yesterday the Chief Minister also directed the Skill Development Department to take steps for imparting training to migrant workers for upgrading their skills.