As several Lok Sabha MPs quiz Central Government on failure to assess problems of migrant plight workers, Labour Minister acknowledges it was “unprecedented human crisis”.
It’s PM Narendra Modi’s 71st birthday, from world leaders and celebrities to the general public everyone took to social media and wished him. But there is another section of society away from the celebration and still, wait for justice as the Minister of Labour and Employment Santosh Gangwar in Parliament said that the ministry did not have any data of migrant workers who lost their jobs and their lives during the COVID-19 lockdown. They also don’t have the data on the number of deaths of migrant workers.
The Minister told the House “no such data is maintained” when asked if the government had carried out an assessment of job losses of migrant workers as well as if it was aware of workers who died on their way back to their home States during the lockdown.
Replying to a question from BJP member Kaushal Kishore, the Minister said “forced retention during COVID-19 has not been reported” when asked for “details of reasons to withhold the migrant labourers in these States itself due to Corona and non-availability of the prompt facility of their shelter and food”.
Me. Kishore asked for the number and details of migrant workers, labourers and daily wagers “for whom the arrangement of the job has been made”. To this, the Minister replied, “No such data is maintained.”
In response to multiple questions, the Minister provided data on the number of migrant workers who returned to their home States during the lockdown imposed in March. A total of 1,04,66,152 workers had returned.
Also when asked by seven MPs if “thousands of migrant labourers have died during lockdown,” Gangwar gave the astonishing reply that “no such data is available”.
Several activists have been raising their concern over a lack of a database of migrant workers, which is supposed to be maintained under the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979.
However, he said the Centre issued “comprehensive advisory guidelines to the states and UTs” on July 27 for the welfare of the migrant workers returning to the destination states and they were asked to take adequate steps to streamline the migration of the workers to mitigate their hardships.
He also added that said states and UTs have also been advised to maintain updated data of migrant workers to facilitate the administration to extend benefits of the welfare schemes of the government
With the ease in lockdown and no satisfactory employment opportunities in the native place, migrant workers are moving back to cities now in the “hope” of finding work again.
Written By – Shilpa Dey
Image – Google