The Home Ministry said at a press conference on Saturday that effective steps have been taken since the beginning of the lockdown for migrant laborers in the country. Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs Punla Salila Srivastava, said that the Ministry of Home Affairs issued advisory on 27 March, advising the States to take steps with speed and sensitivity and to take care of the living and food for the needs of the laborers.
After this, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued another order on March 28, approving the States and Union Territories to use the labor fund for their living and eating arrangements. Till April 3, the Government of India allocated an amount of Rs 11 thousand 92 crore to the states and union territories.
The Ministry of Home Affairs established a 24-hour control room for migrant workers and also advised all states and union territories to establish control rooms and appoint nodal officers. On 30 March, a new advisory was issued asking the states to stop workers from traveling illegally by trucks and other vehicles and take action against those who do so. All the District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police were given the responsibility of ensuring compliance of all the instructions of the Ministry.
To provide employment to the workers, the Ministry issued an order on 19 April allowing movement within the state. After this, inter-state movement was also approved, so that workers could easily move from one state to another for employment. The Secretary informed that labor special trains were run to take the migrant workers to their homes and the number of trains has been increased to over 200 per day at present. We have also urged the states to actively run more buses and take workers to their homes, whereas instructions have also been given to enlist the help of NGOs.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has directed to pay special attention to the needs of women, children and senior citizens. So far, more than 2600 labor special trains have been run and 36 lakh migrant workers have traveled through them. Apart from this, over 40 lakh workers have also traveled by interstate buses.