The Union government informed the Parliament on the first day of monsoon session that no data was available on the deaths of the migrant workers caused to the lockdown induced by a deadly coronavirus.
Ministry of Labour and Employment, in a written response to a question on whether thousands of migrant labourers lost their lives during this period, said that “no such data is available”.
Further on the question of compensation, it said: “Question does not arise in view of the previous question.”
The government said that it had also not kept track of the job losses amid the pandemic. “No such data is maintained,” it told.
However, as per a report published by the World Bank in April this year, the nationwide lockdown has impacted the livelihood of nearly 40 million internal migrants.
On the question of whether the government has failed to assess the issues faced by these labourers, the government 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 a 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.”
More than 4,611 Shramik Special trains were run by the Indian Railways to help the labourers return home, the government told.
“More than 63.07 lakh migrant workers have been shifted to various destinations located in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and other States. Food and water were also provided free of cost to the workers during their journey,” it said.
The monsoon session of Parliament has been started on Monday with unprecedented precautions including staggered sittings of both houses and social distancing between the members.
Parliament has adopted strong measures including the seating arrangement in a staggered way in chambers of both Houses, as well as galleries to maintain physical distancing. Mobile app for registering of their attendance and seats separated with poly-carbon sheets in the House have also been introduced by the Parliament.