Wednesday, July 8, 2020
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Migrant worker crisis and lessons for future

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It is well known that Corona pandemic is something which the world has not seen in last 100 years. The transmission rate of the virus coupled with mismanagement by WHO on which the world is dependent, probably brought the biggest challenge to country like India which is yet to eradicate poverty. Indian Prime Minister Modi known for taking bold decisions on the back of huge popularity across India took the approach of Nationwide Lockdown. With lockdown came the plight of interstate migrants stranded away from home as trains across India completely stopped first time in history.

The home states did not want migrants to return initially as they were under prepared to tackle sudden spike corona cases, The states in which migrants worked did not want to take the responsibility of migrants.

Neither of the governments at state or center had any data about number of Migrants, their location or their earnings. Moreover, migrants did not know whom to contact. With all modes of communication stopped, these problems on ground level that forced migrants to move helplessly on foot. The images of which pained every Indian, but very few of them could come forward amidst lockdown to help migrants. Sonu Sood is one such personality who came forward and actively tracked migrants and sent them home.

From May onwards Railways started carrying migrants home. States are able to test Migrants as well as quarantine them as states have got time to prepare themselves in 2 months. By the end of May, Indian railways has carried more than 52 lakh migrants home and India is doing 1.5 Lakh tests per day, but in march the test number was few thousands per day. We can imagine what would have happened if corona cases had reached villages in March.

Thanks to Aadhaar and Jan dhan bank Accounts, 8 crore families or 40 crore people got free ration, LPG, and money in bank accounts per month since April. Government was able to directly reach the last man standing without bothering about middleman. Digital India and use of technology really came to rescue amidst pandemic which was unforeseen.

But migrants could not avail them away from native state. We need to think ‘how does govt reach the migrants directly’?

 

Solution.

  1. Register all interstate Migrant workers to know who they are, where they are, so that they can be contacted. This is must along with National Register of Citizens. People will question the move just like they did when 40 crore bank accounts were opened in 2014 whose impact is being understood now.
  2. One nation one ration card which is already being rolled out. So that a Native of Bihar can pick up his quota of Rice or Wheat or Dal in from a fair price shop in Maharashtra.

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