How will govt. help migrant workers when it doesn’t have basic data about them: Cong.

It drafted its relief policy based on 2011 census which itself is dated, it says

Updated - May 31, 2020 08:13 pm IST

Published - May 31, 2020 08:11 pm IST

Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Kapil Sibal. File

Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Kapil Sibal. File

How will the government help migrant workers when it doesn’t have basic data about them and the only numbers based on which it has drafted its relief policy is from the 2011 census.

Senior Congress leader and spokesperson Kapil Sibal said at a press conference through video link, “They make announcements but the fact of the matter is that this government does not even know the number of migrants.” He said the 2011 census said there are about six crore migrant workers, which itself is dated. The government, he said, doesn’t know how many of these have travelled outside the State for work and how many have travelled to the bigger cities.

Full coverage: Lockdown displaces lakhs of migrants

“The government has no data where they are, what work they do, where they work. So if they don’t have the data, how will they reach them and provide relief?”

According to the World Bank, Mr. Sibal said there are 40 million internal migrants impacted by the lockdown. The unemployment rate, as per the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), is 27.1% now and in March, 2020 it was 8.7%. “More than 12 crore persons have lost their jobs.”

He accused the government of spending the last six years on divisive issues like Article 370, National Register for Citizens, Citizenship Amendment Act and bringing law to criminalise triple talaq.

“I humbly request the Prime Minister and please do answer. How much have you paid to the migrants from the PM Cares fund?” Mr. Sibal asked. He said over 600 persons have died due to the extended lockdown and the National Disaster Management Act dictates that their families should get ex gratia.

Section 12 of the Act says the authority shall recommend the guidelines for minimum standard relief to be provided to persons, affected by disaster which shall include ex gratia on account of loss of lives as also assistance on account of damage and for restoration of means of livelihood, he said.

The party also criticised the government for what it called a lack of comprehensive exit strategy. Party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala in a tweet said, “Today, we witnessed the biggest ‘single day spike’ in COVID-19 infection. The 5th lockdown begins on Monday, what is the government strategy? Have the lockdowns failed? Is there a blueprint to fight corona? Any plan out of economic havoc?”

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