Q. What is the migration situation in your village? Why do you think people migrate?
Panchayat Secretary: There are many people in my village who migrate for work; and if MGNREGS or other work is not available in the village as per their needs, they go to nearby districts to work the fields at time of harvesting. After finishing the work, they return to the village.
Q. What has been the extent of re-migration, ever since migrants returned to the Gram Panchayat (GP) due to the COVID-19 induced lockdown? Has there been a change in the migration pattern?
Panchayat Secretary: All the migrant labourers had returned with their entire families during the COVID-19 pandemic. And when things recovered a bit, the labourers alone went to cities and other states for work. But once things settled after the second COVID-19, the labourers migrated again with their families.
Q. Is there a Palayan Punji or migrants register maintained in the GP? Does the GP have a record of which households or individuals migrate out to work?
Panchayat Secretary: During the pandemic, we maintained a datasheet with the details of all the migrants, for this we first used a physical register for the entries and then created an excel sheet. We shared this with the Rural Development Department along with the Anganwadi Workers, ASHA workers and teachers of the Education Department. This allowed for easy provision of facilities to the migrant children and women.
Q. Have any plans been made by the GP for the migrants belonging to disadvantaged or vulnerable sections?
Panchayat Secretary: Mainly, all the schemes are run for the poor and weaker sections, so that they can live well. These schemes aim to build pucca houses, provide access to good health facilities, clean and safe water, and enable proper sanitation, etc.
For this, first we ask for a list of people belonging to the weaker sections from the higher level and then planning is done to see what benefits can be given under what scheme. Gram Sabha is also conducted to discuss the same.
Q. Are works being done in regards to climate change or environmental protection under MGNREGS?
Panchayat Secretary: Ever since the pandemic, a lot of work is being done in the Panchayat in concern to cleanliness and health. Works such as planting trees, improving the quality of drinking water, and collecting garbage from house-to-house are also being done.
This interview was conducted with a Panchayat Secretary in Rajasthan in Hindi on 11 October 2022, and has been translated.
Image Credits: Yogendra Kumar/Hindustan Times