Raipur: Even as the entire nation is grappling with economic downturn and rising unemployment amid the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19, Chhattisgarh has already been bucking the trend and started showing the green shoots of recovery.
According to a survey conducted by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the state has registered the rate of unemployment sliding to a 12-month low of 3.4% in April 2020, which is far below the national rate of 23.5%. The slowing down of joblessness has been recorded over the period since September 2018 when the rate was 22.2%.
It is noteworthy that during the lockdown industrial activities in the country have been shut and economic condition of the country has been deeply affected. The nationwide unemployment rate is also increasing. But even in this crisis, Chhattisgarh has been showing positive signs. The unemployment rate of the state has reduced. The main reason for this is that the state government, under the leadership of Chief Minister Shri Bhupesh Baghel, has been working on a large scale to save the rural economy and preserve the livelihood of the villagers in the period of lockdown being implemented in the country.
Chhattisgarh is also currently leading in the country in terms of providing employment to villagers under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act as nearly 24 per cent of the labourers employed under MNREGA across the country are from Chhattisgarh.
The state has provided employment to 18 lakh 51 thousand 536 MNREGA workers while ensuring physical distancing, wearing masks and other measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus at MNREGA sites in 9883 gram panchayats.
At the same time, special attention is being given to agriculture and allied activities during the lockdown period. Under the crop insurance and Pradhan Mantri Kisan Yojana, an amount of Rs 900 crore has been transferred to their accounts so far during the lockdown period. During this period, the state government has also ensured the sale of their produce along with necessary discounts for farming. During this period, forest produce collectors have also been provided considerable relief. The support price of Mahua flower has been increased from Rs. 18 to Rs. 30. Chhattisgarh has also purchased the highest value of minor forest produce across the country in minimum support price.
Recently, Reserve Bank of India has also appreciated Chhattisgarh for registering a robust economic growth driven by uninterrupted agricultural and allied activities during lockdown. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das in his report had said Chhattisgarh is leading in sowing of kharif crops and other agricultural activities despite adverse conditions during the lockdown.
At the same time, relief is being provided to forest produce collectors in the state. 23 Minor forest produces are being purchased on support price. Employment opportunity is also being generated for the forest dwellers, as they are being engaged in collection of minor forest produce. Purchase of minor forest produce on support price and payment in cash, has provided great relief to forest dwellers and villagers in the state amid the nationwide lockdown period. According to the data released by the Tribal Co-operative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED), small forest produce of worth Rs 18 crore 63 lakh has been purchased from the forest dwellers and villagers, which is the highest among all the states.In only two states, Jharkhand and Odisha except Chhattisgarh, the work of purchase of small forest produce has been started. According to the figures released by TRIFED, so far small forest produce worth Rs 18 crore 67 lakh 26 thousand has been purchased. Out of which, Chhattisgarh alone, has made a purchase of small forest produce of worth Rs 18 crore 63 lakh 82 thousand.