A 17-year-old from Noida has developed an app, Bharat Shramik, to help connect unemployed migrant workers with employers who may be willing to hire them.
The mass migration following the lockdown in India brought on problems of its own - for one, the migrants may have made it back home, but they were still out of a job. That is where Akshat Mittal, a student from Noida, decided to step in.
He set up a wesbite called bharatshramik.in and even developed an app with the help of his father, Ashish Mittal. The idea was to connect the unemployed migrants looking for jobs with employers who were looking for people to hire. A win-win situation, if you think about it.
This is how the website works. Migrants would have to enter their details-- their pincode, where they're looking for work, their names and contact details. Mittal explained that since most of the workers lack access to smartphones or the internet, they have set up a helpline number. A service provider will set up their account after taking down requisite information.
These details would then be uploaded on to a national database where employers can scout for suitable candidates.
In March, during the initial phases of the coronavirus lockdown, India saw one of the biggest mass migration as millions of migrant workers who were stranded in away from home. According to a report by the World Bank, the fact that the lockdown came without a warning left thousands of migrant workers without a job or any source of income to feed their families and stuck in a city they couldn't call their home. Over 40 million migrants in India were affected by the lockdown and around 50,000 to 60,000 of them moved from urban to rural areas.
This is not the first time Mittal has used technology to help those in need. In 2016, when Delhi introduced the odd-even method to curb pollution, Mittal developed a carpooling app which could help commuters.
Mittal said that he realised how bad the migrant situation was after speaking to his 80-year-old grandfather. "Crores of migrants have been affected, but I became aware of how bad the situation was when I spoke to my grandfather. His driver, who has been working with the family for years, left work to return to his hometown. There are so many like him who lost their only sources of income. Many migrant workers were suddenly let go without prior notice. That's when I decided I had to do something," said Mittal.
According to him, the app has been received well and over 18,000 people have already registered for it. "With Unlock 2.0, there has been a complete displacement of skills, it has been reshuffled. There's a huge gap in the supply and demand of labour which we are trying to meet," he added.
Another factor that provoked Mittal to develop the app was the fact that most migrant workers do not want to leave their hometowns again. They would prefer to work in their own states. But reaching out to employers, who may be looking for their skill sets, can be challenging. That is why Bharat Shramik asks workers to enter their pincodes.
In June, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a Rs 50,000 crore mega job scheme for migrant workers who returned to their home states during the Covid-19 lockdown. But efforts like that of Akshat Mittal's can go a long way in relieving the unemployment problem hanging over our heads like a dagger during the coronavirus crisis.