INDIA GOVT SUPPORT ONLY TO THE AFFLUENT?

Being one of the first countries to bring back Indians stranded abroad free of cost, India has shocked the WHO as well with its unplanned lockdown and zero attention given to migrant laborers.

India has been in a nation-wide lockdown for over a month in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though this situation has hit every sector of the economy, the daily wage and migrant workers are the worst affected. With the closing down of all construction works and other places that employed contractual laborers, the migrant workers have been stranded across the country with no savings, no earnings, no place to stay and no means to return home. Though the governments had announced relief packages, it has done but little good. India, After surviving and adapting to extreme measures that led to a few deaths, the governments had announced inter-state bus and train services to transport migrant laborers.

It was a welcome move and when the migrant workers headed to the stations, their hope crumbled with the news of having to pay for railway tickets. The India government had started ‘Shramik Special’ trains to transport these workers but they were required to pay the full fare for a sleeper class ticket and 50 INR extra.

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India, Under such situations, workers were forced to borrow and scramble for cash or use their meager savings in the hope of reaching home. Laborers who were jobless for more than a month and who couldn’t pay up were denied travel.

India, This attitude of the governments and the railways has raised several questions. Firstly, why can’t the country that can evacuate Indians from abroad for free and in special planes, pay for the tickets of penniless laborers? Secondly, do workers not deserve the ‘support’ that paved the way to the PM Cares Fund? Thirdly, how can the railways expect jobless laborers to pay hiked prices? India, Fourthly, where are the COVID-19 relief funds allocated? And lastly, is a shower of blossoms on ‘Corona warriors’ the best use of the funds?

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After social media outrage and the Congress announcing their funding for the tickets, the Union government has declared that it will pay 85% of the ticket price and the respective state will pay the rest. With this move being welcomed, the question still persists- why are Indians discriminated on grounds of economic status when it comes to receiving facilities? Isn’t the government elected to serve the Indians? If yes, are migrant laborers not Indians?

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