November 18: The government had promised to provide employment to Nepali migrant workers who had returned home from abroad amid coronavirus pandemic. However, the government still lacks exact data on the number of such migrant workers.
Although the Nepali migrant workers started returning home after coronavirus was first detected in China’s Wuhan in late December 2019, the government still does not have reliable data on the number of people who returned home due to coronavirus crisis.
Officials at the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security admit that they are unable to provide employment to the foreign returnees in lack of exact data on the number of people who have returned home due to the pandemic.
Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security Rameshwar Raya Yadav also admits this fact. According to the Minister Yadav, they have just started collecting details about the migrant workers who returned home during the global crisis.
“We don’t have data regarding the number of people who have become jobless due to coronavirus. We will not give them employment opportunities within the country after collecting data in collaboration with the local units,” said Minister Yadav.
The government had rescued stranded Nepalis from abroad through chartered flights but Minister Yadav says they did not keep the records at that time.
The government is facing strong criticism as people have started returning to foreign countries for work despite the risk of infection because of limited work opportunities within the country.
The Council of Ministers decided to conduct a feasibility study on employment opportunities within the country on November 9 upon the recommendation of the finance ministry.
Labour Minister Yadav informed that the government has issued circular to the local units to collect data as per the decision taken by the cabinet.
“Although the data collection is taking place at the behest of finance ministry, it is our responsibility to give them employment. We will provide employment to those who possess skill while we will train unskilled workers and make them self dependent,” said Minister Yadav.
As per the cabinet decision, the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration has instructed the local units to collect data regarding within 15 days.
According to Joint Secretary Bishnu Datta Gautam, they are collection information regarding the number of people who returned home due to Covid-19 pandemic as well as those who returned home upon completing their studies and those who are unemployed within the country.
A large number of Nepali workers had returned home from India due to increasing risk of infection in the neighbouring country. However, they have been forced to return back to work disregarding the threat of infection due to extreme hardship and financial crisis.
The government had announced budget on May 29 and allocated Rs 47 billion for more than a dozen employment-related programmes. However, it has not even started a single such programme.