Over 26 lakh migrant labourers are stranded across 33 states during the Covid-19 outbreak with barely 10% lodged in government-run relief and shelter camps.

A preliminary enumeration of stranded migrant labourers conducted by the Chief Labour Commissioner under ministry of labour and employment has revealed that over 26 lakh labourers are lodged in relief camps, workplaces managed by employers and other migrant clusters.

A majority of the migrant labourers – 46% — are in different migrant clusters. About 43% are in workplaces managed by employers and 10% are at shelters and relief camps.

The data has been released after a strongly-worded directive from Central Information Commission (CIC) following a complaint by Right to Information (RTI) activist Venkatesh Nayak.

The preliminary data reveals most number of migrants 10.58 lakh are in Chhattisgarh followed by Kerala 2.87 lakh, Maharashtra 2.01 lakh, Tamil Nadu 1.93 lakh, Telangana 1.84 lakh and Andhra Pradesh 1 lakh. The statistics, however, do not reveal how many migrant labourers belong to which state.

The chief labour commissioner had initiated this enumeration exercise during Lockdown 1.0 with lakhs of labourers trying to get back to their native villages.

On April 8, Chief Labour Commissioner Rajan Verma had written a letter to regional centres, “Number of migrant workers are stranded and placed in various temporary shelters/ relief camps arranged by state government authorities, employers at work place itself and also there are some localities where migrant workers are generally clustered. In view of this a comprehensive data in respect of the migrant workers are urgently required within three days.”

Nayak had filed an RTI application to get the number of migrant workers stranded, district-wise numbers of male and female migrant workers, sector-wise breakup of migrant workers and the states to which they belonged.

While he did not get any data from Chief Labour Commissioner, a complaint was filed before CIC, which took a grim view and directed commissioner to reveal data in whatever form was available.

The preliminary enumeration shows that six states – Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Sikkim do not have a single migrant labourer in relief camp or shelter homes largely managed by the state governments.

The Centre has been asked to update this data periodically as this would help the state governments in understanding the problem at hand.

Chhattisgarh 10.86 lakh
Kerala 2.87 lakh
Maharashtra 2.01 lakh
Tamil Nadu1.93 lakh
Telangana1.84 lakh
Andhra Pradesh1 lakh
Haryana 48,195
Gujarat 47,566
Uttar Pradesh 36,421
Assam 25,926
Delhi 20,783
Jharkhand 16,616
Uttarakhand 9650
Madhya Pradesh 9621
Nagaland 7762
Himachal Pradesh 5541
Arunachal Pradesh3057
Andaman and Nicobar Islands2472
West Bengal1867

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