Why in news?

A response filed to a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) status report in the Supreme Court accused the Centre of being slow to absorb the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on the poor.

Why was such an accusation made?

  • Kerala and Maharashtra have 72% of the total number of relief camps in the country.
  • Kerala alone has nearly 60% of the camps, though the tiny State accounts for 2.6% of India’s population.
  • States such as Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, which have seen the lion’s share of the migrant exodus, have only 12% of relief camps and shelters.
  • Haryana and Delhi account for 51% of the food distribution. 

Issues faced by Migrant Workers

  • Other than food, migrant workers need to be provided money for addressing their other basic needs like healthcare, education of their children, rent and sustenance of their families.
  • Minimum wages are fixed by governments taking into account the cost of living in each State. The government should provide them minimum wages.
  • The financial package under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana is inadequate to deal with the scale of the current crisis and many components of the scheme will not benefit migrant workers.

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana

  • Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 2016 (PMGKY) is an amnesty scheme launched by the Narendra Modi led Government of India in December 2016 on the lines of the Income declaration scheme, 2016 (IDS) launched earlier – Under this scheme, the government gives people an opportunity to pay interest along with their undisclosed income penalty.
  • Due to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in India, Finance Minister announced a ₹1.70 Lakh Crore($24 billion) relief package under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana for the poor.
  • Currently 80 crore individuals, i.e., roughly two-thirds of India’s population would be covered under this scheme.
  • Some of the Provisions of the scheme are:
    • 1 kg of Pulses per family, would be provided according to regional preferences, for next three months.
    • A total of 20.40 crores PMJDY women account-holders would be given an ex-gratia of Rs 500 per month for next three months.
    • The first instalment of Rs 2,000 due in 2020-21 will be front-loaded and paid in April 2020 itself under the PM KISAN Yojana.
    • Gas cylinders, free of cost, would be provided to 8 crore poor families for the next three months.
    • Under this scheme  approximately 22 lakh health workers would be provided insurance.
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