Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has taken a big leap towards “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” by creating local employment for migrant workers through its flagship “Honey Mission” programme. Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Minister of State for MSME, distributed 700 bee boxes to 70 migrant workers of Saharanpur and Bulandshahr districts of Uttar Pradesh Tuesday and thus providing them with livelihood opportunity under the mission.
These migrant workers – 40 from Saharanpur and 30 from Bulandshahr – had returned to their hometown from Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, facing financial distress due to COVID-19 lockdown. Rising to the call for “Aatmanirbhar Bharat”, KVIC identified these workers, imparted them 5-days training on beekeeping and provided the necessary tool-kit and bee boxes to them to carry out beekeeping activities. The entire western Uttar Pradesh region, with abundance of flora that includes a variety of crops, is ideal for honey production. Bee boxes were distributed at KVIC’s training centre in Panjokera.
Speaking on the occasion, Sarangi lauded the initiative and said while roping in these workers with beekeeping will create local employment; it will also contribute to increasing India’s honey production which is the core objective of Honey Mission. “It is a great initiative. Creating employment to migrant workers at their doorsteps will make them self-reliant,” the minister said.
KVIC Chairman, Vinai Kumar Saxena who was also present on the occasion, said, roping in migrant workers with beekeeping is aligned with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for ‘self-reliance’ by promoting local industries. “Beekeeping will not only increase India’s honey production but it will also increase the income of the beekeepers. Further, products such as bee wax, pollen, propolis, royal jelly, and bee venom are also marketable and hence, a profitable proposition for the locals,” Saxena said.
The migrant workers, who were provided with bee boxes and the tool-kit, expressed happiness over the government support shared their experiences saying they would no longer need to leave their homes in search of jobs in other states. Ankit Kumar, who returned to Saharanpur from Karnataka, said, he was rendered jobless in the lockdown. However, with KVIC’s support, he was now self-employed again. Another migrant worker, Mohit, who worked in Maharashtra, said, he would not have to leave his family behind while searching for job in other cities and that by engaging with Honey Mission, he would be able to make a better livelihood.
Notably, KVIC had launched Honey Mission three years ago aiming at creating employment for farmers, adivasis, women and unemployed youth by roping them with beekeeping and increasing India’s honey production. So far, KVIC has distributed 1.35 lakh bee boxes in states like Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Tripura among others. This has benefited 13,500 people across the country while producing nearly 8500 MT honey.