The Tragedy of Migrant Workers and Policy Measures to solve the problems!
“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone”. Isn’t this quote something each one of us can relate to? In these times of uncertainty where we have no clue how our lives will be post-pandemic, there are people out there who have suffered and went through hardships; we can’t begin to imagine. The underprivileged sector of our society has and is still suffering as we see on the news how the migrant labourer is walking miles to reach their hometowns, how they are dying due to starvation, heat, accidents, etc. It’s genuinely heartbreaking. We at Sakonsa sympathies with the migrant labourer and this one of a kind situation made us learn what could have been done. Who are we?
Here are some of the problems which the migrant labourers faced along with the possible solution.
Rs. 3000 for survival. Yes! You heard it right. During these lockdowns, many intermediaries did corruption by handling the technical procedure to be done before the transportation of labour back to his village. Since the majority of the labourers are illiterate, these middlemen took full advantage of the negligence of the administration (I’ll allow you to eat, but you have to harvest the food yourself). Yes, this was the condition when the government permitted migration of labourers back to their place.
“Migrant workers do not know procedures”, says the Stranded Workers Action Network But imagine if someone approaches them & illustrate them the easy procedure briefly in a group. (Yes, we have not forgotten about social distancing). It would have been a creamy process & would have helped many to save thousands which can be instead used for ration in the future.
Eighty suicides, 1500 deaths and the figures are exponentially increasing. Though the government passed a so-called fund of Rs.20 Lakh Crores in the name of COVID Relief the nation could see only deaths & suicides of mostly poor people, majorly the labours. Government asked to link Aadhaar & PAN cards to receive their share, but again, going through a technical process & the rude behaviour & reaction the poor class have to face at the government offices is unbearable. Also, lockdown led to a shutdown of local vendors, who in turn were also farmers or cattle bearers, who earned daily to make their ends meet & were dependent solely upon the public. They were left with no earning option but to travel back to their native place.
8% girls were taken from their families in exchange for a bare sum in lockdown scenario & already many families signed bonds against their children to be used as labourer post lockdown for just in exchange of meals.
20% of children dropped out from school post emergencies & this till date,90 days lockdown has left their family with no money, so children are the most comfortable & cheapest trade solution. Well, this might have hit you hard.
The workers say they and their families have been singled out, sneered at, and harassed by villagers. In some villages, they face ostracization even after completing the mandatory 14-day quarantine period. Lack of knowledge and facts about the disease led the people who returned to their communities to face stigma & biasness in their own house. The government is now pushing for an expansion of MNREGA to give employment to the returning migrants. This is a good step!
Now the government should announce a basic income for the bottom 60%. Far better would be a Quasi-universal transfer to all the usual residents of communities and returning migrants, along with increasing the taxes on luxury items. Providing everybody with modest cash resources will boast a demand for essential goods and services, which is the demand of the Indian economy.
SAKONSA has been working on more such policy measures to help the migrants. We have launched a campaign #FeedTheNeedy to feed the migrants. Every smile is worth a million dollar, and the best ones are those that we see on someone’s face because of our little contributions, that happiness and internal peace is nowhere to be found.
Our actions speak louder than our words, Let’s work together to tackle these rough COVID times, our little donation now might protect someone faith in humanity, so they could proudly smile and say Corona did try to drown us, but there were helping hands too…try to be that help by donating.
Rs 50/- daily meal
Rs 250/-dry ration kit for a week
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