21:00 GMT29 November 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a three-week lockdown in the country earlier this week in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The federal government has also rolled out a $22.36 billion economic relief package for the poorer sections of the population.

    On Saturday, India's federal government issued advisories to states instructing them to take immediate steps to provide food and shelter to migrant workers – who began walking for hundreds of kilometres from cities like Delhi and Mumbai to their hometowns in states such as Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat. 

    The federal Ministry of Home Affairs asked state governments to ensure medical care as well as clothing for workers stranded away from home amid the lockdown under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).

    Hundreds of migrant workers from big cities lost their daily earnings following the lockdown and didn't have enough money to pay off their rents, so they took to the road on foot, which netizens have called the “longest march in India”.

    ​After several heart-wrenching media reports, the Uttar Pradesh government began deploying buses to help these migrant workers get back to their hometowns from cities including Noida, Ghaziabad, and Delhi – which are part of the National Capital Region (NCR) in India.

    ​Transportation services, including private carriers like SpiceJet and GoAir along with the Indian Railways, have extended proposals to drop workers off closer to their hometowns and provide food.

    ​The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) have opened up their kitchens to provide bulk cooked food with paper plates at locations where they have base kitchens.

    According to the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the country has recorded 873 active cases of coronavirus, including 47 foreign nationals and 19 deaths due to the infection.

    Related:

    ‘All Talk, No Help’: Labourers Say No Faith in Modi’s $22.36 Billion Aid Package
    Have No Money to Send Back Home: Migrant Labourers Without Income During COVID19 Lockdown in India
    Tags:
    Narendra Modi, lockdown, coronavirus, COVID-19, India
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