By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, January 15, 2020: In yet another populist move, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday announced a special package for the migrant workers that ensures livelihood support, employment linked skill development, asset creation and aims to reduce distress migration.

The special package will benefit around 10 lakh people in four migration-prone Bargarh, Balangir, Nuapada and Kalahandi districts with additional 100 days of work in year besides 100 days of work in a year under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

Around 29.6 lakh construction workers have already been registered under the board of which around 20 lakh have availed various benefits, said official sources. A Shramik Mitra will be engaged in every gram panchayat of these 20 blocks, who will act as focal point for migrant workers. Also, a database will be created to ensure that they will be benefitted under various welfare schemes of the state government.

The chief minister also announced to hike wage to Rs 286.30 per day for the unskilled workers under the rural job scheme for these districts. At present, the unskilled workers are entitled only Rs 188 per day.

Patnaik also announced a corpus of Rs 500 crore for the purpose. “All gram panchayats in these 20 blocks will be covered as intensive gram panchayats under Odisha Livelihood Mission (OLM). Each family in these areas will be brought under the self-help group (SHG) fold. Financial assistance from community investment fund (CIF) and Vulnerability Reeducation Fund (VRF) will be extended to these SHGs,” he added.

The CIF (one-time assistance of Rs 10,000 to 15,000) is being provided under the OLM as resources to strengthen the financial management capacity of the SHGs. Similarly, the VRF also provided under OLM to address vulnerabilities like food security, health security and to meet daily needs of vulnerable persons.

Any person in distress can approach the local BDO for availing the VRF, said official sources.

As part of the action plan, all the SHG members will be covered under group insurance. One each SHG in these 20 blocks will be identified as banking correspondent. Also, one eligible youth from every household (18 to 35 years) will be covered under placement linked skill development programme under the OLM.

The state government also plans to conduct a special drive to ensure registration of construction workers under the Odisha Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board (OB&OCWWB) that will help them to get various incentives like marriage assistance, pension, education assistance, pucca houses and other benefits.

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