Lockdown displaces lakhs of migrants

Coronavirus | Centre’s extra ration promise yet to be kept at PDS shops

On an empty stomach: Beneficiaries waiting in a queue to collect rations at Shahpur Jat in New Delhi on Tuesday.

On an empty stomach: Beneficiaries waiting in a queue to collect rations at Shahpur Jat in New Delhi on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Orders issued to States only on Monday; States yet to lift the additional grain for the distribution of extra 5 kg rice or wheat

One week into the COVID-19 lockdown, and five days after the Centre’s welfare package was announced, there is no sign of the promised free grains and pulses at ration shops across the country.

Although the Finance Minister promised that the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana would come into effect immediately, the Food Department only issued orders to the States on Monday, and States are yet to lift the additional grain for the distribution of the extra 5 kg rice or wheat per beneficiary. For the promised 1 kg of free pulses, the need to process and transport procured dals, is causing even further delays.

Also read: Centre’s relief measures on statutory, regulatory compliance matters

Jaigunnissa, a 38-year old domestic worker and mother of three, is disgruntled by the delay. She has walked for more than half-an-hour from her home in Delhi’s Sarai Kale Khan area, in order to stand in the morning sun outside her ration shop in Bhogal, slowly moving from one chalk circle to the next, keeping the proper coronavirus-era distance from other shoppers.

“I heard that the Modi sarkar announced extra ration last week itself. But when I come here, I find that they are still giving only the 7.5 kg promised by Kejriwal,” she says, gesturing to the large poster of the Delhi Chief Minister hung at the entrance to the shop, promising an enhanced ration of 6 kg of wheat and 1.5 kg of rice, now provided free of cost to each beneficiary.

Lost livelihood

She and her husband, who has a cycle-rickshaw, have both lost their livelihood due to the lockdown. “The lady of the house where I work has said that since she is now doing all the cooking, cleaning, washing, she cannot pay me any salary. So I am dependent on ration only. My children will only get rotis and salt during this lockdown.,” she adds, using her dupatta as a makeshift mask.

“We have just issued the notice to States to lift the additional allocation,” Food Secretary Ravikant told The Hindu on Monday, four days after the initial announcement. “States now have to plan and organise transportation from the godowns [of the Food Corporation of India].”

Also read: Central government’s ₹ 1.7-lakh crore welfare package

Advice to States

The March 30 notice to States advises them to lift the additional allocation together with the regular monthly allocation under the National Food Security Act within the timelines prescribed for that. “However, for States/UTs which have already lifted the allocation under NFSA for April may lift this additional allocation for April till 30 April,” says the notice, seeming to indicate that many ration cardholders may not actually receive their extra free grains for some weeks to come.

The distribution of pulses may be more complicated as few States regularly incorporate them into their public distribution system so far. Senior officials under the Consumer Affairs Department say that the groundwork has just begun, with States having sent in their requisitions.

While a sufficient stock of 34.25 metric tonnes of pulses are available with NAFED, these are whole grams directly procured from farmers, and are yet to be milled and processed, for which the Centre will need to rope in private players. Also, unlike FCI, which has procurement and storage facilities for rice and wheat in every district, pulses are procured from eight or nine districts only, creating more transportation and logistical hurdles, said an official.

For 52-year-old Mohammad Akhtar, standing in queue outside the Bhogal PDS shop for the second consecutive day after surging crowds prevented distribution on Monday, that may be too little too late. The garment factory worker does not even have money to pound the ration wheat he gets, let alone buy vegetables, dal or oil.

“I have only ₹40 remaining in my pocket which I am saving up for emergencies,” he says, adding that his family of four children are now dependent on the food served at a local government school.

Running out of food

“At this point, ration shops have become more crucial than ever before for the 40% of the Delhi population who are NFSA beneficiaries, at a time when lakhs of people are running out of food and are on the brink of starvation due to the lockdown,” says Amrita Johri of the Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan (Right to Food Campaign), which has started monitoring shops across the city during the lockdown.

“Out of the 31 shops we have checked so far, four of them — over 10% — were closed, with grave consequences for those who depend on them for sustenance,” she said, noting that further inquiry may have uncovered a black market operation being run out of one of the closed shops.

A letter from the Editor


Dear reader,

We have been keeping you up-to-date with information on the developments in India and the world that have a bearing on our health and wellbeing, our lives and livelihoods, during these difficult times. To enable wide dissemination of news that is in public interest, we have increased the number of articles that can be read free, and extended free trial periods. However, we have a request for those who can afford to subscribe: please do. As we fight disinformation and misinformation, and keep apace with the happenings, we need to commit greater resources to news gathering operations. We promise to deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.

Support Quality Journalism
Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 30, 2020 4:15:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-centres-extra-ration-promise-yet-to-be-kept-at-pds-shops/article31221617.ece

In This Package
Belated, but welcome: On Supreme Court move on migrant workers
People with serious ailments, pregnant women must avoid travelling on Shramik Special trains: Piyush Goyal
A moment for civilisational introspection
Migrant workers | Reports of ‘lost’ trains fake, says Railways
Coronavirus lockdown | Jharkhand flies its migrant workers back from Leh
Coronavirus lockdown | Muzaffarpur rail station incident shocking: HC
NHRC issues notice to government on migrant worker deaths
Coronavirus lockdown | ‘Runaway’ trains haunt migrant workers
Coronavirus lockdown | Don’t charge migrant workers bus or train fare, says Supreme Court
Use Central forces to send migrants home safely, petition urges PM
Migrant workers | Video of baby with dead mother in Bihar railway station goes viral
Coronavirus lockdown | Migrant workers returning to Bihar jump off trains to flee isolation
Coronavirus lockdown | 5 persons on Shramik Special trains die in U.P.
The echo of migrant footfalls and the silence on policy
Supreme Court orders Centre and States to immediately provide transport, food and shelter free of cost to stranded migrant workers
Failing to perform as a constitutional court
The need for a million worksites now
Coronavirus lockdown | Railways to run 2,600 Shramik Specials over next 10 days
The eternal longing for the distant home
Flawed stimulus is justice denied
Migrants trigger spike in U.P. cases
Soren seeks permission to fly back workers
Desperate migrants keen to return home
Two held for ferrying migrant workers on forged pass
Bihar-bound Shramik Rail leaves Chittoor with 1,440 workers
A callous response
Workers returning to Bihar caught between poverty of their villages and starvation in cities
Migrant workers assaulted by brick kiln owner in Tiruvallur
Coronavirus lockdown | 9 migrant workers die in Bihar road accident
Coronavirus lockdown | U.P. government locks horns with Congress over buses for migrant workers
Coronavirus lockdown | State nod not necessary for Shramik trains
Our families need us in this tough time, migrant workers say as they struggle to go home
Coronavirus lockdown | Image of a weeping Rampukar Pandit becomes symbol of India’s migrant worker tragedy
Coronavirus lockdown | Truck ditches ill man on road, friend stays back till his death
Coronavirus package | Will migrant workers benefit from the Centre’s measures?
Coronavirus lockdown | Centre tells States to upload details of migrant workers online
Coronavirus lockdown | Rahul Gandhi interacts with home-bound migrant workers
Coronavirus lockdown | 8 lakh MT more grains allocated to States for migrant workers
Coronavirus lockdown | Madras High Court directs Centre to disclose number of migrant labourers who died on the way to their home States
Coronavirus lockdown | Eight migrant workers killed in Madhya Pradesh road accidents
Coronavirus lockdown | 25 migrant workers die in Uttar Pradesh road accident
Coronavirus lockdown | 19 migrant workers injured in accident in Telangana’s Adilabad district
Coronavirus lockdown | Police cane migrant workers near Vijayawada
Coronavirus lockdown | M.P. in the middle of a migrant rush
Coronavirus lockdown | Can’t stop migrants from walking home, says Supreme Court
Coronavirus lockdown | Rajasthan moves to deal with huge migrant influx
Coronavirus lockdown | U.P. police warning against helping migrants sparks row
Workers are seen working at Muda Kala village in Sitapur.
Migrant workers in U.P. find meagre solace in shovels
Are India’s labour laws too restrictive?
Stop the return to laissez-faire
Back home in U.P., job offer worries migrant workers
Coronavirus lockdown | 9 migrant workers killed, 50 injured in Madhya Pradesh highway accident
Six migrant workers run over by speeding bus in U.P.’s Muzaffarnagar
Coronavirus package | Migrant workers to get free foodgrains
Coronavirus lockdown | Returning workers fight for food at Bihar railway stations
Coronavirus lockdown | NHRC issues notices to States
Provide income support, restore jobs
Call to set up common data portal for migrant travel
The face of exploitation
Tragedy on the tracks: On the killing of 16 migrant workers
Truck carrying migrant workers overturns in Madhya Pradesh; 5 killed
Coronavirus lockdown | Car runs over migrant worker on his way home to Bihar by bicycle
Lockdown | Cabinet Secretary seeks cooperation of States for transportation of stranded migrants
Coronavirus lockdown | Weary migrant workers lug crashed hopes en route their homes
Coronavirus lockdown | Three migrant workers on way to Uttar Pradesh die on Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh border
16 migrant workers run over by goods train near Aurangabad in Maharashtra
Opposition slams Centre for Aurangabad migrant workers deaths
Coronavirus lockdown | With no work or food, workers brave the long march home from Uttar Pradesh
Railways ferried over 2.5 lakh people stranded during lockdown in special trains, says MHA
Migrant workers | Maharashtra train accident victims were battling hunger
Second train ferrying migrant workers leaves for Muzaffarpur
Contempt for labour: On dilution of labour laws
Karnataka to restart trains for migrants
4 CMs dial Yogi, want to retain labour from U.P.
Coronavirus lockdown | Back in U.P., migrants stare at an uncertain future
Coronavirus lockdown | Centre urges unions to convince labour to stay, return to work
Migrant workers | Row over sharing of train fares
Who will pay for migrants’ travel, asks HC
Supreme Court must help migrants, says Anand Sharma
Migrant labourers hunt for cycles to go home
100 migrant workers held near Silvassa town of Dadra and Nagar Haveli for rioting
Boost wages to stimulate India’s growth
No relief for the nowhere people
Shramik special trains | Migrant workers, other stranded people to pay ₹50 more to get home
Coronavirus lockdown | Despair packs migrant workers from U.P. into a concrete mixer truck
Coronavirus | Shramik Special train reaches Danapur with 1,174 migrants, students
Coronavirus | Migrant labourers take to the streets across Chennai
Firm up plan to employ 15-20 lakh people: Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath
Coronavirus lockdown | India’s first 'Shramik Special' train carrying 1, 200 migrants reaches Ranchi
It’s about food, nutrition and livelihood security
Coronavirus | Odisha to step up screening of those returning to State
Coronavirus lockdown | When a public toilet in Delhi serves as ‘home’
Seal inter-State borders, orders Chief Secretary
TISS team generates data on migrant workers
Coronavirus | U.P., Bihar migrants can now avail ration portability
Making the long journey a tad less painful
Vividly imagining the life of migrant workers
Safe return: On migrant worker distress
Coronavirus | Uttar Pradesh to bring back migrant workers in phases
How will India emerge out of the lockdown?
Locked out of cities, homes and livelihoods
Coronavirus lockdown | In Rajasthan, migrant workers repair and paint government school that sheltered them
Coronavirus lockdown | Plan ahead for transport of migrant workers, Maharashtra tells Railways
Coronavirus lockdown | Close to 6 lakh labourers from State stranded, says Jharkhand govt
Data | 96% migrant workers did not get rations from the government, 90% did not receive wages during lockdown: survey
Opinion | The ‘nowhere people’ of COVID-19 need better legal safeguards
Police intercept migrant workers leaving Delhi, lend help
Leaking pipeline valves, dried streams help migrant workers
Select passenger trains should be run to take migrant workers home, former Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi
1.31 lakh sugarcane workers in Maharashtra can now travel back home
Coronavirus lockdown | Stranded in various States, Odisha migrants call home for help
Coronavirus | Workers face heat, hunger as lockdown is extended
Coronavirus | Migrant workers protest outside Bandra railway station
Disingenuous and no antidote
Coronavirus lockdown | Odisha youth pedals 1,700 km from Maharashtra to reach home
Coronavirus lockdown | Flight of migrant labour a deep concern for post lockdown revival: Nitin Gadkari
Lockdown | Migrant workers in Surat come out on road demanding salaries
Coronavirus | Migrant workers slip out of Bihar quarantine centres at night, return by day
Coronavirus | Centre files report on migrant workers
Shelters see total occupancy of less than 12%
Google introduces new feature to locate food, night shelters
1.95 lakh migrant workers on govt. radar
Community kitchens reach out to needy during lockdown
Migrant workers in Haryana worry about rent and wages
42% of labourers don’t have even a day’s worth rations left: Survey
Stream of migrant workers leaving Telangana dries up
Govt. may have to present second Budget to deal with COVID-19 aftermath, says Jairam Ramesh
Chennai hotels cater to migrant workers and those in the front lines of the battle against novel Coronavirus
Goa starts counselling for migrant labourers
Coronavirus | Lockdown triggers belated march of migrants from hills in Arunachal
A gruelling journey from Maharashtra that ended on a sweet note
India coronavirus lockdown | Migrant workers and their long march to uncertainty
Coronavirus | U.P. villages tense as many skip quarantine
Coronavirus | Centre releases ₹11,092 crore under State Disaster Risk Management Fund
Quarantined migrants attack officials in Bihar villages; run away from centres
With no help from companies, migrant workers out in the cold
The long and gruelling road did not take them home
Inmates at Gurugram relief camp bored, homesick and restless
A tedious trek to reach home
Trapped migrants in Capital long to be back with their families
Coronavirus | Coimbatore Police intercept container trucks packed with migrants
Namakkal youth dies in Telangana
Coronavirus | Forced to stay back, these workers now battle hunger
You are reading
Coronavirus | Centre’s extra ration promise yet to be kept at PDS shops
Defiant migrants ready to confront anything that comes their way
Coronavirus | Treat migrants humanely, Supreme Court tells officials
Coronavirus lockdown | Centre again asks States to reach out to persons with disabilities
Coronavirus | At ‘Zero Point’ on Yamuna Expressway, flight from hunger beats fight against virus
Coronavirus | Similar stories, very personal tragedies
An unending journey for the migrants
Stranded non-Delhi residents struggle to return
Coronavirus | An unending journey to their homes
After UP, footage of travellers being ‘disinfected’ in Kerala surfaces; only ‘soap water’ sprayed, claims DGP
Beyond call of duty: police turn saviours for the hungry, homeless
Migrants want to return despite getting amenities at shelters
Ninety migrant labourers arrested in Surat after clashes with police
Coronavirus | With nil hopes at Zero Point, migrants face police batons
Coronavirus: In Bareilly, migrants returning home sprayed with 'disinfectant'
Community kitchens come to the aid of many
Migrant labourers sent back to Mumbai from Igatpuri
Migrants throng KMP Expressway looking for means to go home
Coronavirus | Lal Kuan is the new epicentre of migrant exodus from Delhi
Coronavirus lockdown | Migrant workers not welcome back home in Bihar
Coronavirus lockdown | After night-long ordeal, migrant workers in Rajasthan leaving by buses
Coronavirus lockdown | In Uttar Pradesh, workers made to go round in circles
Coronavirus | Migrant workers stage protest defying lockdown
Migrant labourers from Karnataka left to fend for themselves
Coronavirus | Exodus of migrant workers out of Delhi unabated but police block their entry into Anand Vihar ISBT
Coronavirus | Migrant workers returning to Balarampur village in West Bengal told to live in trees
Coronavirus lockdown | As inter-State buses dwindle, migrants are stuck on Yamuna Expressway with nowhere to go
2,500 workers make a bid to migrate
Coronavirus | Despite U.P. CM’s appeal, migrant workers throng Lucknow’s bus stands
Labourers in camps down to one meal a day as supplies deplete
Youth dies in Maharashtra's Melghat as doctors suspect COVID-19, shunt him from one hospital to another
Sea of humanity engulfs Kaushambi bus depot
Next Story