New Delhi: With migrant exodus continuing unabated in the country, and with politics on the same not ending as well, the government on Sunday stressed that it was working with all states on the issue, with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman even ‘appealing’ to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, with ‘folded hands,’ to speak about migrant workers ‘more responsibly.’ Also Read - Nirmala Sitharaman Day 5 Announcements: Focus on Resumption of Businesses Once Lockdown Gets Lifted | 7 Steps
The development took place during the final stages of the Finance Minister’s fifth and final press conference on the government’s Rs 20 lakh crore ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ economic relief package. Also Read - Flight Time Will Become Shorter Within Two Months: Nirmala Sitharaman Explains How
FM Sitharaman said, “I want to tell the 0pposition party that on the issue to migrants we all must work together. We are working with all states on this issue.” Also Read - Curb on Weapon Import, Corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Boards | Nirmala's Big Announcement For Defence
The ‘opposition party’ phrase was with reference to the Congress.’
“With folded hands, I ask Sonia Gandhi ji that we must speak and deal with our migrants more responsibly,” she added.
Notably, the BJP-led Centre has been facing severe criticism from the opposition, mainly the Congress, over the ongoing migrant crisis in the country, which was largely attributed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sudden announcement of the nationwide lockdown at 8 PM on March 24, which led to migrant workers being stuck in various states, far from home, without any work, money or food.
In their desperation to reach home, migrants have been walking on foot or hitchhiking in trucks, autos, tempos etc. Some have also been trying to reach their homes on cycles.
In recent days, there have been a number of accidents in which migrant workers have lost their lives. This is despite special buses and trains being run to ferry them home.
The government was also recently accused by the Congress of charging migrants for their journey back home on trains; the party also directed all its state units to pay for migrants’ fare.
This prompted a rebuttal by the Indian Railways, which said that while its has subsidised 85% of the fare, it is charging only the remaining 15% from the state governments.