New India Manifesto
“Anti-seasonal Employment” is a concept introduced in my book “New India Manifesto.”
Farming activity in rural regions has off seasons, and the farm labourers cannot find jobs during the off-season. Since farmers are cash-strapped during off-seasons, they refrain from employing farm labourers during this period.
The family budget of farmers and farm labourers is affected, and many costly items such as chicken and fish are not added to their food menu during this period.
During the off-season, labourers are not entirely out of jobs, and the number of days available is limited.
Since work will be available again once crop season starts, the farm labourers are not ready to travel long distances to find jobs during the off-season.
A solution is required to help rural regions to survive this off-season period. However, the off-season months differ in many places according to the types of crops cultivated. According to the requirement of different areas, a gig economy should be developed to support villagers during the off-season.
Anti-seasonal employment is a solution that aims to provide jobs during the off-season. The off-season period usually is 2-4 months a year.
The national government should fund a long-term project, such as a tourism project, during this off-season period.
These projects should not affect the daily commuting of the public. A standalone area should be used to develop such projects. This model excludes compulsory projects like drinking water, electricity, roads, bridges and other necessary undertakings.
Working Model of the Anti-seasonal Employment
A tourism spot will be identified in a secluded area in a rural region. A contractor will be hired for such a project.
However, there are some restrictions for the contractor. The contractor can only work on the projects in 5 stages over five years, and the project plan will be developed accordingly to accommodate this requirement. Payments will be provided according to work completed or by advancing the amount annually. The contractor can hire workers who are permanent residents within the 80km range of the project. The work activities can be carried out only during the off-season period of that region, ensuring that farm labourers can engage in construction jobs during this period.
So, when unemployment increases in the farming sector, the contractor’s work will commence, and when there is a lot of available work outside, the contractor’s work will be stopped. The work is allowed only for 2-4 months in a year. This model is called anti-seasonal employment, as it only employs farm labourers in the construction sector only during agricultural off-seasons.
Since the payment for the project is made in stages to the contractor instead of paying after the whole work, the contractor need not worry about money issues.
Sample Tourism Model that can be implemented in a rural region
Manufacture a tourist destination based on scenic beauty or topographical advantage or coastline.
In this method, the government will make initial investments, such as cable cars in high-end technologies and later transfer to private companies to run it. If private companies are available initially for the whole investment, it should be considered first.
The area surrounding it will also be developed. After considering various international tourist destinations, the government will create a body of architects that develops plans for such projects. A five year tourist project plan will be developed in that region.
Tree huts, food parks and many small businesses will be established surrounding that place and after five years they will be transferred to different people who will be allocated a loan amount with minimal interest rate. Generic graduates from different disciplines, culinary arts, and tourism industry professionals will be recruited initially. They will be trained in various mannerisms, cultures, and other ethics to be followed in dealing with tourists for free by professionals . If these structures, such as food parks, are built at high costs by the government, then they would be leased out to them, and the loan amount is allotted only for paying rent, interior works and running the businesses.
After completing the 5-year tourism construction project, the government will directly engage with bloggers, vloggers and social media influencers and provide them with free stay, ticket, and travel benefits during the launch of the tourist place. The government will bear the cost of the freebies distributed to the celebrities.
Everything will be unique in that place. For example, all the structures surrounding that manufactured tourist spot will have the same painting or coned top for structures.
Everything from parking spaces to fun zones established in such a region can fetch ticket prices and provide a livelihood.
The government can hold 25 per cent of the total planned area initially, and once the tourist destination is developed, it can build new structures, sell it to the public, and earn huge revenue. For example, in a 10-acre proposed tourist area, the government will hold 2.5 acres for future projects.
Seasonal unemployment is visible in many sectors, including IT sectors and even freelancers are affected by it. However, the greatest brunt of this seasonal unemployment is faced by villagers as they have limited alternatives. Schemes like MGNREGA in India are inefficient as works under it are not generating long-term value, and due to that, government funding is minimal to such schemes.
However, the tourism project started to help villagers to get anti-seasonal employment for five years has long-term value for the nation. Once completed, it will help many people to reskill and be employed. This also provides an opportunity to reallocate some per cent of the villagers from farming to non-farming sectors after five years by employing them at the tourist spot.
It is necessary to create job opportunities with a long-term vision, thereby advancing the nation’s economy.
Blessen T Sam is the author of the New India Manifesto. For research collaborations, connect with the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.