In the first session since the national lockdown, the Union labor ministry of India was questioned regarding the data on migrant workers who returned to their states.
The ministry was also asked if the government was aware of the number of migrants who lost their lives while returning home. Additionally, a question regarding compensation or economic assistance to be paid to such families was put forward.
Union labor minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar produced a written response against the aforementioned questions and said, “No such data is maintained. The question does not arise in view of the above”. Whereas, the ministry had earlier admitted that more than 1 crore migrants had made their way back to their home states during the national lockdown.
The answer given by the ministry triggered outrage from the opposition on the first day of the monsoon session of the parliament. “The Modi government does not know how many migrant laborers died and how many jobs were lost during the lockdown. If you haven’t counted, have the deaths not taken place? It is sad that there has been no impact on the government. The world has seen their deaths. There is a Modi government which has no information,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.
Following PM Modi’s countrywide lockdown in March, lakhs of migrant workers with no jobs or shelters to support them had started for their hometowns on foot or on bicycles. However, several hundred of them died before they could reach home.