The Union Ministry of Labour and Employment on Monday, 14 September, told Parliament that it has no data available on the number of migrant workers who lost their lives during the nationwide lockdown, imposed in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The statement was made in response to a question raised in Lok Sabha, seeking information on how many migrant workers had lost their lives while trying to return to their native places, and if state-wise details of the toll were available, the Hindustan Times reported.
The ministry also added that since no such data was maintained, there was no question of giving compensation to the victims’ next of kin.
To another question on the government’s failure in the assessment of problems faced by migrant workers during the lockdown, Minister of State (MoS) with independent charge in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Santosh Kumar Gangwar said:
“India, as a nation, has responded through the Central and state governments, local bodies, self-help groups (SHGs), Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs), medical health professionals, sanitation workers as well as a large number of genuine and bonafide non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the nation’s fight against the unprecedented humanitarian crisis due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and country-wide lockdown.”