The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday issued an advisory to all States and Union Territories (UTs) to ensure adequate arrangements are made for all migrant workers and students from outside the States.
In a letter to all States and UTs, the Union Home Secretary has asked for immediate steps to be taken to mitigate the situation faced by migrant workers, primarily in the unorganized sector. Governments have been urged to provide them with adequate food, shelter and other requisite support during the nationwide lockdown. In furtherance of the same, it has been suggested that the administration may consider exploring various measures such as involving certain agencies and NGOs to provide basic amenities like clean drinking water and sanitation.
Additionally, it has been advised that appropriate steps are to be taken to secure that students, working women, etc. from other States will continue to stay in their existing accommodation. This would entail action to ensure that hotels, rented accommodations, hostels etc., continue to remain functional and that the delivery of essential commodities is streamlined. According to the advisory, this would enable students and working women hostel inmates from other States to "continue in existing facilities, while observing precautions."
Soon after the Prime Minister announced on the night of March 24 that a nationwide lockdown would be enforced from midnight of March 25, reports of panic purchases and overcrowding of general stores to procure essentials poured in. In an attempt to address and douse these concerns, and consequently prevent avoidable movement, State governments have been advised to make "vulnerable groups aware of the measures taken by the Government, including provision of free food grains and other essential items through PDS, and streamline the distribution system."
The MHA advisory concludes with a reminder that while ensuring the supply of essential goods and services to its people, it is imperative to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Keeping this in mind, States and UTs have again been directed to ensure the strict enforcement of the lockdown wherein action must be taken against violators in accordance with the law.