A sobbing child migrant worker stranded in Delhi without shelter, job and a way back home — is only one among lakhs of his peers
- A video of a crying child migrant worker shows him stuck in the city under threat of being beaten up by the police if he doesn’t go home — without any way to get there.
- Hundreds of thousands of
migrant workersall over the country are stranded in urban India with no way of getting back to their villages.
- The sudden announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to implement a 21-day lock down has restricted public transportation and sealed off borders.
- Follow the comprehensive coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact, and other useful resources that can help you in the fight on Business Insider India.
The worst affected are migrant workers who are stranded, homeless, and hungry — who do not fear
आनंद विहार बस अड्डे से बड़ी संख्या में मजदूर तपके के लोग पैदल जा रहे हैं,दिल्ली से वापस अपने घर जाना चाहते हैं,ले… https://t.co/DoP0BVGKZS— Mukesh singh sengar मुकेश सिंह सेंगर (@mukeshmukeshs) 1585045107000
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He’s only one among hundreds of thousands of workers in the unorganised sector that travel to urban cities looking for work. Over 90% of India’s unorganised sector are migrant workers where no health nor social benefits exist. The wages are low and many don’t have savings to fall back on. As public transportation is closed, going back home is not an option either.
Some workers choose to walk home
In a travesty similar to Biblical lore, some labourers decided to go back home, on foot. In Gujarat, over 2,000 daily wage workers chose to walk all the way home to Rajasthan — many without food or water, according to the Indian Express. It took the group of men, women and children 14 hours to reach Dungarpur Village, the nearest border.
On being stopped by the border authorities, some were loaded onto trucks and others had to walk another two hours to the bus station in hopes that one will take them home.
In Northern India, migrant workers from Nepal are stranded at the border as per Aljazeera.
Help for the poor
In Delhi, homeless shelters are overrun and migrant workers have no choice but to stay within the city with borders sealed. Most of these workers are from remote villages, many all the way in Bihar over 1,000 kilometers away, where walking home isn’t an option.
States like Uttar Pradesh and Kerala announced small amounts of monetary assistance to help the vulnerable sections of society tide through the lockdown.
However, India’s welfare programmes are far from adequate. The added stress of the lockdown is only compounded by the limited resources. Even though the fiscal situation is tight, experts like Raghuram Rajan and P Chidambaram recommend putting cash in the hands of those who need it most after addressing healthcare concerns.
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