‘India has seen migrants’ pain but BJP has not’: Sonia Gandhi

‘India has seen migrants’ pain but BJP has not’: Sonia Gandhi

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday spotlighted how the country is witnessing a “dard ka manzar (immense pain)” as migrant workers are trudging the highways, many among them bare foot, to get home amid the Covid-19 lockdown.

This is the fourth phase of lockdown, which is set to end on May 31.

“Unka darr, unki siski, unki peeda desh main sabne suni, par shayad sarkar ne nahi (Everyone saw their pain, heard their cries, but may be the government has still not seen it),” said Sonia Gandhi in a video message to migrants.

The video is part of the party’s ‘SpeakUp’ campaign to help raise the voice of the poor, migrants, small businesses and the middle class people before the central government.

The Congress president urged the Central government to provide every poor family Rs 7,500 for the next six months to tide over the difficulties. She also said they should be given Rs 10,000 immediately.

A free and safe ride home, said Gandhi, must be ensured for the thousands of migrants, who are suddenly out of jobs because of nationwide lockdown.

To make sure migrants returning home have gainful employment, Sonia Gandhi requested the government to hike the working mandays in NREGA to 200.

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while laying out the final tranche of the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package, had said the government will now allocate an additional Rs 40,000 crore to MGNREGA to provide employment boost. This amount is in addition to a little over Rs 61,000 crore budgeted for 2020-21.

On Tuesday, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court issued notices to the Centre and states, saying there have been “inadequacies and certain lapses” on their part in dealing with the migrant workers’ situation. The court ordered the Centre and the states to immediately provide transport, food and shelter free of cost to the stranded workers.