Migrants of the Begusarai district of Bihar raised their voice that despite their hardships during the five months of lockdown, they still wanted to vote for the Modi Government. Modi had come up with many initiatives to improve their livelihood. But their anger is for the state government, as they are deprived of those benefits.
Migrants Arduous Journey to Reach Back Home in Bihar
Migrants admit their arduous trek from Gurgaon, Haryana to their native villages of Hussaina in Bihar, Begusarai district. In May, 14 people including families, had to traverse a distance of 1400 kilometers on two rickshaw carts, under the scorching sun and with bouts of hunger without any support from the state government. They expressed their anger against the state government. They also added that for the five months of lockdown their families had to face multiple hardships to survive, still, their vote goes to the Narendra Modi Government. Modi has launched many measures like providing gas, toilet, money, and other benefits for the poor, but still, they are deprived of all these benefits as the state government is not providing these benefits to them, some of the migrants said.
Lockdown Impact on Migrant Laborers
Indian migrant workers had to face many hardships since March, as the Indian Government imposed a national lockdown. The shutdown of factories and workplaces led to severe shortages of money, lack of food, and amenities for the migrants. Thousands of them began walking back home with no transport facilities. More than 300 migrants died due to starvation, suicides, rail and road accidents, and police brutality. The Government then made some measures to help them by providing transport, special trains for them and their families to come back home for free. The Central Government also gave free rations for the poor migrants.
Measure Taken by the Central Government for the Poor
During the nationwide lockdown, the workers with their families had to return to their villages due to the loss of jobs and wages. The Modi government has come up with some initiatives to boost the livelihood of such migrants by providing them employment. The Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan was implemented on a mission mode in 125 days in 116 districts of six states- Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, and Odisha. This work is related to public infrastructure and the augmentation of livelihood opportunities. On 29th March, the central government issued sweeping orders directing that the landlord should not demand rent, and should pay full wages without any deduction.
The Policy Times Suggestions
- A welfare fund should be set up for migrant workers. Each of the workers should be automatically enrolled in this fund set up. This fund might operate on contributions from the central administration, the home state governments, and the destination state governments.
- Every daily wager or migrant laborer should be automatically enrolled for the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY), also known as ‘Ayushman Bharat’, which is a flagship health insurance scheme implemented by the Government of India. This will enable them to access cashless medical facilities at their workplaces.
- If a separate version of the Ayushman Bharat scheme is implemented by any of the state governments, the migrant laborers should have access to those schemes too.