Fake news led to exodus of migrants during lockdown says Home Ministry
New Delhi, Sep 16: The exodus of migrant workers from cities to the countryside in their homes was triggered by fake news, the Union Home Ministry told the Lok Sabha. Several migrants had left for their home in the wake of the pandemic and the lockdown announced by the Centre.
The migrant workers were concerned about the availability of basic needs such as food, drinking water, access to health services and shelter during the lockdown announced in March.
Minister of State for Home, Nityanand Rai said that the centre had been fully conscious of the converts of migrant workers and had taken measures to ensure that during the lockdown that followed, no citizen is deprived of basic amenities, food, drinking water and medical facilities.
Speculation, including in the media on how long the lockdown would last and the loss of livelihoods after the closure of factories and business establishments to curb the spread of COVID-19 contributed to reverse migration of workers to their home states.
The government informed the Parliament that 10.4 million migrants travelled back to their homes during the lockdown. The government, however, added that it had no data on job losses among the migrant workers since the outbreak.
To mitigate the problems faced by migrant workers, the Centre set up control rooms in the home ministry under the supervision of senior officers of the level of joint secretary and comprising representatives of key central ministries, the MHA said.
"These control rooms, inter alia, attended to the grievances of stranded persons including migrant workers and promptly resolved these grievances relating to food, transport, shelter, etc. States and Union Territories were also advised to set up control rooms with helplines and to appoint nodal officers," Rai also said.
"To augment the funds with the states, Central government released an advance Rs 11, 092 crores from the SDRF to the states on April 3, 2020," Rai added.
"Covid-19 is a highly infectious disease. Any mass movement of people would have spread the disease very fast amongst people in all parts of the country. By imposing the countrywide lockdown, India successfully blunted the aggressive spread of Covid-19," Rai also said.