Odisha govt conducting skill mapping of returnee migrant workers

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government is mapping skill set of all migrant workers who have returned back to the state during the lockdown, in a bid to provide them employment opportunities in existing or upcoming industries, a senior official has said.

The government is also trying to bring this large influx of migrant workers to a formal setup through skill upgradation, before enabling the match making between the labour requirement of existing or upcoming industries and the skill sets of the migrant workers.

More than 3.5 lakh migrant workers have so far reached the state in a span of only 25 days, and the government expects another five lakh people to return to the eastern state in coming days.

“We are doing a skill-mapping of all the migrant workers. As soon as they land in temporary medical centres and quarantine facilities, through our technical educational department and through our self help groups, we are trying to map their current skill sets,” said Hemant Sharma, Principal Secretary, Department of Industries, Odisha.

The skill mapping of migrant workers will be beneficial in the long run as manpower is required for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprise (MSME) units and large projects expected to start soon in the state.

Moreover, lakhs of migrant workers who have returned to the state during the lockdown can fill the labour gap for industrial units.

“We will make a very decent and reasonable attempt to try and do the skill mapping, skill upgradation and also match making with the industrial requirement of labour within the state,” Sharma said.

Following the nationwide lockdown was announced from March 25 to combat the spread of coronavirus, lakhs of migrant workers were stranded across the country without basic necessities like food, shelter and transportation.

Elaborating further, he said the migrant workers are coming mostly from textile, apparel and garment sector, and the state government is planning to make a push on that side.

“We are planning two big textile parks one at Dhamra, in Bhadrak district, under the Government of India Mega Textile Park Scheme. We have already submitted our intent to the Ministry of Textiles. We have 2,000 acres of land there readily available. It is on the gateway to the Dhamra Port, so external connectivity is also available,” he said.

Sharma also said the second textile park is expected to come up near Ganjam and Khurda districts.

“We have observed that a very large portion of the migrant workers are particularly active in the textile segment. We are planning another 600 acre of dedicated industrial facility for the textile sector,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chief Secretary A K Tripathy has directed district collectors to take up more employment-intensive projects for them under the MGNREGA and Odisha Livelihood Mission (OLM).

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