- The government's response triggered anger, criticism from opposition
- Over 1 crore migrants travelled back to home states, government said
- A countrywide coronavirus lockdown was announced in March
Here are 10 developments in this big story:
In the session - the first since the countrywide lockdown was imposed to fight the coronavirus pandemic -- the ministry was asked whether the government has any data on migrant workers who returned to their states.
The ministry was also asked whether the government was aware that a number of migrant workers lost their lives during return to the hometown and the details if any. The government was also asked about the economic assistance or compensation given to such families. In his written response, Union Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said, "No such data is maintained. Question does not arise in view of the above".
The ministry admitted that more than 1 crore migrants made their way back to their home states from various corners of the country.
"The Modi government does not know how many migrant labourers died and how many jobs were lost during the lockdown. If you haven't counted, have the deaths not taken place? It is sad that there has been no impact on the government. The world has seen their deaths. There is a Modi government which has no information," Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted in Hindi this morning. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her son are missing the first part of the 18-day monsoon session of the parliament. They left to go abroad for the Congress president's health check-up last week.
Terming it "utter callousness", Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac tweeted, "Centre doesn't care about deaths of migrant workers they caused by pushing them in to trains, makeshift carts and on foot to the distant homes. At least acknowledge tentative and incomplete data of rail Sharmik Trains and road accidents.
Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a countrywide lockdown in March, lakhs of migrant workers, desperate without jobs or shelter - many were evicted from their homes - started for their hometowns on foot or whatever vehicle they could manage.
With their sources of income drying up overnight, the labourers walked for days, tired, hungry and ailing; many died before they could reach home -reports of which from across the country made it to headlines. Several states had arranged for special transport services amid lockdown.
The 18-day monsoon session of parliament began on Monday amid unprecedented precautions against the coronavirus, including staggered sittings of both houses and social distancing between MPs.
Instead of the Question Hour, only written questions and answers will be allowed, which has hugely upset the opposition.
"There are so many ways to question the government, government isn't running away from discussion," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said in Lok Sabha on Monday after a resolution for no Question Hour was passed.
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