Why do Indian migrant workers need help at this time?
On March 24, 2020, India’s Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi announced the world’s largest lockdown, asking 1.3 billion Indians to stay home for 21 days to slow the spread of COVID-19 #lockdown21. While it was a necessary step to combat the spread of the virus, the lockdown has already proved catastrophic for India’s millions of migrant and daily wage workers, who earn their salary hundreds or sometimes thousands of miles away from home and live a hand-to-mouth existence. With no way to earn money and feed their families for at least three weeks, millions have decided to head back to their villages in order to survive. The Guardian, a reputed British daily newspaper, reports that since trains and most buses were suspended and taxis were unaffordable, walking was the only option for many, and the sides of the highways were lined with people, bags slung over their shoulders, many with nothing but flip-flops on their feet. The newspaper states that it is the biggest exodus in India, since the partition of India in 1947. By one estimate, more migrant workers will die from other causes like starvation, violence, accidents and diseases, than from COVID-19.