The government does not have data regarding the number of migrants who died or were injured during migration to their native places due to the Coronavirus induced lockdown, the Centre told the Lok Sabha on Monday. "No such data is available," Union Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar said in a written reply.
The response was to BJD member Bhartruhari Mahtab's question on the "the number of such labourers died/ injured during migration to their native places due to such lockdown, State/ UT-wise". Mahtab also asked whether the government has taken adequate measures to safeguard social, economic, legal and health rights of migrant labourers before implementing lockdown in the country due to COVID-19.
"India, as a nation, has responded through the central government, state governments, local bodies, self-help groups, resident welfare associations, medical health professionals, sanitation workers as well as a large number of genuine and bonafide non-governmental organizations in the nation's fight against the unprecedented humanitarian crisis due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and country-wide lockdown," the minister said in his reply.
In order to mitigate the financial crisis of migrant workers and protect them against the economic disruptions due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the country-wide lockdown, the central government has taken numerous measures to provide them financial assistance, food packages and other benefits, the minister said.
According to a World Bank report in April this year, the nationwide lockdown, which started on March 25, has impacted the livelihood of nearly 40 million internal migrants. The lockdown was imposed to contain the spreading of COVID-19 infections. There was an exodus of a large number of migrant workers to their native places from different parts of the country during the lockdown. The lockdown restrictions were eased from late May.
"The Modi government does not know how many migrant labourers died and how many jobs were lost during the lockdown. If you haven't counted, have the deaths not taken place? It is sad that there has been no impact on the government. The world has seen their deaths but then there is a Modi government which has no information," Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted in Hindi on Tuesday morning.
मोदी सरकार नहीं जानती कि लॉकडाउन में कितने प्रवासी मज़दूर मरे और कितनी नौकरियाँ गयीं।— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) September 15, 2020
तुमने ना गिना तो क्या मौत ना हुई?
हाँ मगर दुख है सरकार पे असर ना हुई,
उनका मरना देखा ज़माने ने,
एक मोदी सरकार है जिसे ख़बर ना हुई।
(With agency inputs)