This global pandemic has affected all the states in India, and almost every business has suffered a lot. Manufacturing industries will be suffering too especially due to the reverse migration of labourers to their home state. Although, this migration is a boon as a bane for some other states.
The coronavirus-induced reverse migration of migrant workers in Bihar might have given rise to its first set of entrepreneurs. There are hundreds of stories across the rural parts of Bihar which are not just generating revenue for themselves, but also giving new hope to Bihar by generating employment in their state.
In the Tajpur block of Samastipur, some migrant labourers who came from Jaipur and were Jaipuri bangle artisans started making Jaipuri bangles with the help of small loans.
Similarly, the workers who returned to their native town in Bihar’s West Champaran district are hoping to use their bat-making skills, back home, to earn a livelihood. These migrant workers who moved to Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag, Awantipora and Qazigund were employed at bat-manufacturing units and have come back amid the easing of the travel restrictions which was imposed to contain COVID-19.
A group of migrant workers, who returned to Bihar from Jammu and Kashmir have set up a paver block manufacturing workshop at Madhopur-Bairiya village in Gaunaha block of West Champaran. Within one month of working together, as many as 14 workers, 12 of them from Srinagar, have churned out about 75,000 pebbles(12×12 with one-inch thickness), besides flower pots(about 60 pieces), cement bench(one piece), bed, tables and chairs
Another story comes from Singhwani Panchayat, Sitamarhi where the cottage industry of mask and phenyl production was set up by the village women. Both masks and phenyl are in immediate demand and will ensure fast, easy cash in the hands of women, which they can utilise to run the household as the men in the family are out of work.
Although these migrant labourers have skills and have invested a lot in setting up these small manufacturing units, they don’t have any idea about marketing, packaging and markets. Here, the Government needs to take immediate action to support them by engaging youths. It’s high time for Bihar to set up Incubation Centres at University level, Panchayat Level to encourage and support these migrants in terms of packaging, market linkage, digital awareness, funding and so on.
The Bihar government launched the Bihar Startup Policy 2017 with Rs. 500cr fund to make Bihar the most preferred destination for entrepreneurs and startups. With this Startup Policy, 15 Incubation centres emerged mostly located in Patna, out of these only a few incubation centres are running well. Its an irony that Bihar Startups Policy was launched in 2017 with the funding of Rs 500 cr, which was highest in the country for Startups, but still even after three years Startups Buzz didn’t enter in the other districts of Bihar, not even in college, even they are unable to use 20 per cent of the total fund. Now, It’s time to move these incubations to the rural parts of Bihar to support these reverse migrants who are going to be the first set of entrepreneurs.