Union Home Ministry on Tuesday said that large-scale migration during Coronavirus-induced lockdown was triggered by panic created by fake news.
Minister of State Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai, was responding to a question by Trinamool Congress MP Mala Roy.
Roy had asked about the reasons behind large-scale migration days after nationwide lockdown was announced and what had prompted them to walk home post lockdown.
In response, the Centre said migration of large number of migrant workers was triggered by panic created by fake news regarding "duration of lockdown, and people, especially migrant labourers, were worried about adequate supply of basic necessities like food, drinking water, health services and shelter."
Nityanand Rai said the central government was "fully conscious" of this, and took all necessary measures to ensure that during the period of the inevitable lockdown, no citizen should be deprived of basic amenities of food, drinking water, medical facilities.
"Central Government allowed the State Governments to use the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) on 28th March itself for making provisions of temporary accommodation, Food, clothing, medical care, etc., to homeless people as well as migrant workers. To augment the funds with the States, Central Government released an advance Rs.11, 092 crores from the SDRF to the States on 3rd April, 2020," the government said in its response.
Earlier, the Central government informed that there is no data to determine how many migrant workers lost their lives because of the sudden nationwide lockdown that was enforced on March 25.
According to HT, around 10 million migrant workers left the cities and had to return to their villages and towns because of the nationwide lockdown.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment in its reply to a question, seeking details of the number of migrant workers’ deaths and the compensation offered to them said, “no such data is available”.
The labour ministry added that the question of compensation does not arise in the absence of data on the number of death due to the lockdown.
The government also said that it maintained no data on the job loss due to the pandemic.
Asked if the government had failed to assess the issues faced by these labourers, the Centre said: “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 large number of genuine and bonafide non-governmental organizations in the Nation’s fight against the unprecedented human crisis due to the outbreak of Covid -19 and country-wide lockdown, including Tamil Nadu.”
(With agency inputs)