Months after millions of migrant workers walked back to Bihar amid the coronavirus lockdown, they are yet again looking up to move to other states for employment. It comes even as Nitish Kumar led NDA government repeatedly announced that it launched a slew of measures to reduce challenges faced by the migrant workers.
The government said that it transferred Rs 1,000 to bank accounts of 29 lakh migrants who had registered. The Kumar government also claimed that each and every migrant either with ration card or no ration card received free foodgrain. Even MGNREGA contributed significantly in providing jobs to the jobless during the coronavirus crisis. The government claimed that nearly Rs 5,000 crore was spent on 13 crore job days between April and October 2020. Over 38 lakh families bagged MNREGA jobs, as per Bihar’s rural development department data.
However, Bihar MGNREGA per day wage of Rs 190 is much less as compared to the daily wage in Haryana for a skilled labourer at Rs 350. Even in places such as Patna, the daily wage stands at Rs 237. This means MGNREGA employment was not that gainful for the labourers. Now, the second mass migration in seven months has begun as the migrants once again look towards richer states to seek jobs amid opening up of coronavirus-induced restrictions across the country.
Kumar has faced heavy criticism as he avoided public interaction during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Yadav has used the matter to criticise Kumar during his campaign saying that the current Chief Minister stayed indoors for 144 days only to come out now, just to seek votes of the people.
With Tejashvi Yadav-led Mahagathbandhan leading in early trends, it hints towards the end of 15-year rule by Nitish Kumar. The opposition in the state claims discontent over jobs, migrant crisis and handling of the coronavirus and floods.