After Backlash, Government's Clarification On Migrant Deaths

After Backlash, Government's Clarification On Migrant Deaths

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Facing opposition attacks for saying there is "no data" on migrant deaths in the coronavirus lockdown, the government today sought to clarify that there was "no mechanism" to collect such data in districts.

Officials said birth and death-related data is maintained at the municipal level according to parameters developed over several decades.

"No mechanism exists at the municipal level to collect data on the death of migrant workers in a given district. It is immature to raise questions on the stand taken by the Labour Ministry on this issue," sources said.

There has been a huge backlash over Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar's response to a question on migrant deaths and whether families had been compensated.

"No such data is maintained. Question does not arise in view of the above," the Minister told Lok Sabha in a written reply, provoking anger and opposition criticism of a "callous" government.

"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," tweeted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

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