Coronavirus: Centre Preps Exercise To Blunt Criticism Over Migrants

The booklet containing what the centre has done for people, especially migrants, will be widely circulated, the source said, adding the massive publicity campaign will be the main thrust of the entire exercise.

The government is making efforts to persuade migrants to stay put to ensure social distancing.

New Delhi:

The centre will launch an exercise to counter what is seen as not doing enough to help stranded and hungry migrant workers amid the lockdown necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic, sources have said.

The centre is likely to launch the exercise in celebration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi completing a year since his party, the BJP, won the general elections for a second five-year term in 2019.

"The government is compiling the various sectoral achievements... A booklet will be distributed to publicise the achievements. The achievements of all ministries should particularly highlight efforts to benefit the poor, women, farmers and the youth," said the government source who asked not to be named.

The booklet containing what the centre has done for people, especially migrants, will be widely circulated, the source said, adding the massive publicity campaign will be the main thrust of the entire exercise.

The Modi government has increasingly come under attack from the opposition after stranded migrants started walking on their own hundreds of kilometres amid the lockdown, as transport is banned. Many have died en route to their villages. Until recently the government had been strict and making efforts to persuade migrants to stay put to ensure social distancing and contain the spread of coronavirus; however, now the centre is running "Shramik" special trains in agreement with the states to take back stranded migrants home.

Migrant workers say they have run out of essentials and being at home at this time of crisis gives them a sense of security.