Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday attacked the government for stating in Parliament on Monday — the first day of the 18-day uninterrupted monsoon session — that it did not know how many migrant workers had died during the coronavirus disease (Covid-19)-induced lockdown while returning to their native places.
“Modi government does not know how many migrant workers died or how many people lost their jobs during the lockdown,” he tweeted in Hindi.
“You didn’t count so what, nobody died? Yes, but it is unfortunate that there was no impact on the government. The world saw them dying but the Modi government remained clueless,” Gandhi added.
मोदी सरकार नहीं जानती कि लॉकडाउन में कितने प्रवासी मज़दूर मरे और कितनी नौकरियाँ गयीं।
तुमने ना गिना तो क्या मौत ना हुई?
हाँ मगर दुख है सरकार पे असर ना हुई,
उनका मरना देखा ज़माने ने,
एक मोदी सरकार है जिसे ख़बर ना हुई।
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) September 15, 2020
In reply to a written question in the Lok Sabha, minister of state (MoS) for labour and employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar had said on Monday that the government did not have any record of deaths of migrant workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. “No such data was maintained,” the minister had said in the written reply.
In reply to another question, Gangwar had said the government did not have any assessment of job losses of migrant labourers during the viral outbreak.
When asked “whether the government has provided any compensation/economic assistance to victims’ families,” the government had said, “the question does not arise”, since it had no records in the first place.
However, on the total number of migrants who had returned to their home states, the minister presented state-wise data and said, “More than 630,7000 migrants shifted to various destinations during the Covid-19 pandemic. While 4611 Shramik Special Trains were run to ferry the migrant returnees.”
According to an estimate, 122 million people have lost their jobs because of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country. Around 75% of these were small traders and daily-wage labourers.