Migrants don’t need to go home, it’ll defeat very objective of lockdown’: Centre to SC

Migrants don't need to go home, it'll defeat very objective of lockdown': Centre to SC

 The Centre on Sunday told the Supreme Court that the migrant workers don’t need to travel to their native places during the lockdown, as it would defeat the “very objective of the preventive measure taken by the government.”

Assuring that the government is taking care of their and their family members’ daily needs wherever they are, the Centre warned that allowing migrants’ movement would lead to a surge in number of coronavirus cases in the country.

“In view of the steps taken by the government, it is submitted that there is no necessity for migration of workers to shift from places of their occupation to the place of their residence and rush back to their villages. Their daily needs are being taken care of wherever they are working and the daily needs of their family members were being taken care of at their respective villages,” the government told the apex court, as reported by news agency PTI.  

The government, which filed a second status report in the apex court in response to a plea by advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, said that to obviate the difficulties faced by low wage-earners in the organised sector, cash transfer under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana has been made.

The migrant workers are allowed to withdraw EPFO money advance, said the government while adding that it is taking care of psycho-social issues in shelter homes where migrant workers are staying and experts and counsellors from Central mental health institutes are visiting there.

“As per the latest statistics furnished by the state governments and Union territories, 37,978 relief camps have already been set up by state governments and Union Territories and genuine NGOs. Nearly 14.3 lakh persons have been housed in these camps. In addition to the above, 26,225 food camps have also been opened giving food to nearly 1.34 crore persons,” the government said.

The Centre said that directions have been issued to district administration and superintendent of police to ensure migrant workers and other poor people who are living in rented accommodation are not compelled to pay rent by their landlords.

“If any landlord flouts this direction, they shall be liable for action under the Disaster Management Act,” it said.

It said that as per the order of apex court passed on March 31, a fact-check unit has been set up under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to check fake news.

The affidavit said, “In view of the on-going efforts by the central government, presently the spread of COVID-19 in India is much slower than as has seen observed in several other countries.”

The prompt measures particularly social distancing and lockdown have halted the spread of disease in the country so far, it added.

On March 31, the apex court had asked the Centre to prevent migration of people due to coronavirus and set up within 24 hours a portal for disseminating real time information on the pandemic to counter the panic being spread through fake news.