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Returnees are resources

  • Migrant Students who were stranded in Bihar being screened at Quarantine facility at Tezpur Central University on 11-05-2020. Photo by UB Photos
    Migrant Students who were stranded in Bihar being screened at Quarantine facility at Tezpur Central University on 11-05-2020. Photo by UB Photos

It has been speculated that nearly 15 lakh Assamese youths from different parts of the country will come back to Assam in the next few days. Many view it with trepidation that the descending hordes will overwhelm the state. What needs to be done, actually?

First of all, we must understand that most of those who are coming are young, able bodied, experienced, and in some cases skilled persons. Their exposure to the world outside and experience of operating in an alien environment would, it is expected, also impact their mind sets in a positive way. They should be treated as Human Resources, not burdens. And Resources are to be nourished.

The first job of a responsible state would be to document the members of this ingression. All the young persons, who have left their occupations to come back to the state, should be documented: their personal profile, qualifications, skills and experience are to be noted, along with their other details.

Based on the inputs, we can draw up their profiles on three criteria: Skill wise, Experience wise and Education level wise.

Skill wised, we can determine the skills that would be in demand once the expected industrial/economic resurgence of the State takes place. We may provide skill upgradation or reinforcement scopes to them and explore opportunities for their employment in local industries. They may also be retrained in alternate skills for which there may be future demand.

A large number of the returnees would be from the service sector, where the general impression is that no skill training is necessary. Yet, every vocation requires a professional approach that can be inculcated through appropriate training. Take the case of security guards: most professional security agencies subject their staff to mandatory training that can be of minimum six months training.
Skill upgradation/development programmes should be organized for those with experience which would enhance their value and scope for upward mobility.

A large number of returnees may be drop outs or with incomplete education. They may be encouraged to complete their education for which, if necessary, necessary changes in the education processes be made.

In addition, the returnees may be encouraged to undergo entrepreneurship courses and made to stand on their own feet. Those who have cultivable land at their village homes, should be encouraged to go back to agricultural farming or take up rural industries.

In course of time, when the situation normalizes, a large number of the returnees would like to go back to their old jobs. Those who want to go back should be encouraged to do so. With their value enhancement, they would be able to upgrade themselves in the vocations they choose.

Rehabilitation, Value enhancement and/or eventual return of the returnees to their original place of work would be an onerous task and would require a high level of coordination amongst various Government departments and agencies. The Government should form a dedicated empowered Task Force to deal with the situation in a well thought-out, planned and coordinated manner.

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