Ramachandra Guha on Sunday took to Twitter to attack the Central government over its handling of the exodus of the migrant workers - an attack that appears to have misfired.
Guha in his tweet wrote that PM Modi "alone", bears responsibility for the "enormous suffering" of migrant workers. As part of his broadside, Guha made to draw contrast with South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, calling him one "who thinks before he acts" and citing that he gave several days notice to allow migrants to return home before a lockdown took effect.
Guha was responding to a news article where Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan spoke about migrant issues. However, Prasanna Viswanathan who is the head of 'Swarajya' called him "Shameless sinister propagandist" for peddling South Africa as an example to shame India.
Shameless sinister propagandist peddling South Africa as an example to shame India. Reality - Here are visuals. Mikes and miles of hungry stranded starving people outside Pretoria in South Africa lining up for food aid. SA Population mere 6 crores https://t.co/7s6ENOckiB https://t.co/XRoA8ZixtN— Prasanna Viswanathan (@prasannavishy) May 18, 2020
South Africa had announced its lockdown almost simultaneously with India.
Vishwanathan, to emphasise his point, shared a video by US broadcaster ABC News which shows "thousands of people waiting in miles-long lines on the outskirts of Pretoria for food aid amid South Africa's lockdown." In another tweet, Vishwanathan said, "It is tragic few thousand poor migrants were left to fend for themselves by few state governments. But that does not mean millions were taken care of too. (sic)"
The government on Sunday announced an additional Rs 40,000 crore allocation for the rural employment guarantee scheme to help provide jobs to migrant workers returning home. Announcing fifth and final tranche of the economic stimulus package, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the allocation for MGNREGS is being increased by Rs 40,000 crore over and above the Rs 61,000 cr budgeted earlier.
To provide a fillip to employment, Government will now allocate an additional Rs 40,000 crore under MGNREGS; move will help generate nearly 300 crore person days in total #AatmaNirbharApnaBharat pic.twitter.com/W8boBVZaBy— PIB India #StayHome #StaySafe (@PIB_India) May 17, 2020
Additionally, the Railways has mounted its Shramik trains initiative at a war footing, returning lakhs of migrant workers to their home-states depending on request for trains by the states concerned. The Home Ministry has also ordered to block states from allowing migrant workers to travel back home on foot, as they have made to do since the start of the lockdown by undertaking arduous journeys.