The second tranche of Centre's Rs 20 lakh crore fiscal stimulus, which will be unveiled by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman this evening, is likely to focus on the migrant issue and the rural economy, sources said. The situation of farmers will also be addressed, they told NDTV.
The Centre has been at the receiving end of opposition criticism since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the economic package and the lockdown extension on Tuesday.
The Congress repeatedly pointed out that there was no mention of the migrants, who have suffered the most since the imposition of the lockdown in March.
Yesterday, after Ms Sitharaman's announcement of the first tranche of measures, most opposition parties -- including the Congress the Left, the DMK and the Trinamool Congress -- ripped into the Centre, questioning why the migrants are being repeatedly ignored.
"There is nothing in what the Finance Minister said, for lakhs of poor, hungry migrant workers who have been walking to their homes. This is a cruel blow to those who toil every day," said P Chidambaram of Congress, which, while in power, had laid special emphasis on welfare measures.
Senior CPM leader Sitaram Yechury tweeted:
The so-called 'package' by Modi govt is a farce. Those who urgently and immediately need help are walking hungry on the roads or looking for a meal from somewhere. This is completely insensitive to the existential crisis being faced by crores.— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) May 13, 2020
The plight of the migrant labourers who have been desperate to go home as their income dried up overnight and they found themselves running out of food and shelter. The visuals of long line of migrants trudging on highways, carrying small children and meagre belongings, were some of the most moving images of the lockdown.
Even after the Centre started running special trains their situation did not improve much. Many took trucks, tempos and even three wheelers to embark on a journey of hundreds of kilometers. Some never made it home.
In his address, PM Modi had assured that the package will be all-inclusive and cater to all sections of the society.
"The package will focus on land, labour, liquidity and law; it will help small businesses, labourers, farmers, the middle class and cottage industries. It will focus on the well-being of migrant workers too," the Prime Minister had said.