NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan was not implemented in West Bengal as the state did not provide any data regarding migrant workers who returned to their native places during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on June 20 launched the employment scheme for migrant workers.
The minister replied after the issue related to migrant labourers in West Bengal was raised by Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury during the Zero Hour.
Sitharaman said that the 'Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyaan' was implemented on a mission mode for 125 days in 116 districts of six states -- Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Odisha -- that received at least 25,000 returning migrant workers by May 30.
"West Bengal government did not provide any data about migrant workers. Then how we can include West Bengal. We did not get information about whether over 25,000 migrant workers returned to any district," she said, adding that it also needed to be considered if the state allowed them to return.
She was apparently referring to the state government's initial opposition to trains carrying migrant workers to their homes.
After the launch of the scheme, some states like Tripura and Chhattisgarh had demanded the inclusion of new districts, but we "could not", she said.