Published: 21st June 2020
Student group launches helpline for workers who lost jobs during lockdown to find new work
The pilot project and the helpline number is an attempt by the student-led think-tank to help locals and migrant workers find employment
A group of students from IITs, IIMs and other reputed institutions on Sunday launched a pilot project and a helpline number to help workers, who lost their jobs during the coronavirus-necessitated lockdown, find work. The students, who have created Students For Involved Governance and Mutual Action (SIGMA), are being assisted by Deputy Commissioner, Delhi, Abhishek Singh and bureaucrat Durga Shakti Nagpal in their endeavour.
The helpline -- 8800883323 -- "ekatra" was conceptualized by the students to help the hiring of the unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled workers across Delhi-NCR, Singh said during the online launch of the pilot project and the helpline number. The helpline will be operational from 10 am to 7 pm everyday. Student volunteers will attend calls from potential employers and workers and take note of their requirements.
The lockdown has had a serious impact on the livelihoods of workers, many have been rendered jobless. The pilot project and the helpline number is an attempt by the student-led think-tank to help locals and migrant workers find employment, Nagpal, who is also part of the PMO's COVID-19 Response Task Force, said during the online launch. India witnessed a mass exodus of migrant workers from cities during the lockdown due to their sudden unemployment.
Since India's rural economy is not capable of this scale of labour absorption, millions of workers will have to move back to cities in search of livelihood, the think-tank said. There is a need to have a mechanism to help locals and migrant workers find work conveniently. It will also solve the problem of worker shortage in many industries, it said. SIGMA wanted to simplify the job search process for those working in the informal sector. The project aims to solve the labour demand-supply mismatch, Bharatendu Verma, a student of IIM Ahmedabad said.
"We reached out to a group of employers, primarily from the manufacturing and construction sector to gauge the labour demand and supply in their industries. These employers alone have more than 250 vacancies for labourers which we have documented and categorized based on skill requirements, industry and demand urgency," Verma said. "The helpline number will allow workers contractors and employers to reach out to us with their requirements. We will also create a database to help match appropriately skilled workers with employers in need," the think tank said.
The larger objective is to build a technology platform which can act as a matchmaker between these different stakeholders, it said. With factories, and businesses shutting down for around two months due to the lockdown, the country witnessed a historic exodus, with migrants leaving cities on foot, and whatever means of transport they could get. With the industries resuming operations, employers in large cities such as Delhi and Mumbai are now feeling the pinch due to lack of workers.