Coronavirus in India: Lockdown Critically Hit Daily Wage Workers

During the lockdown in India, the daily wage workers and the migrant laborers are affected the worst due to the lockdown. The most-likely scenario is that they will be malnourished at best while in the worst-case scenario, they will die of hunger. They have no means of income or anything to get bread and water to feed their families. The daily wage workers in India are the below lower class people who are extremely poor.

The lockdown has left them helpless in severe starvation as they have no way to make a living. Most of them are falling back to their hometowns that are far away from the cities where they presently work. Due to the shutdown of public transports, including inter-state buses and trains, they are forced to walk the whole way to hometown.  

According to a recent report from India Today, Munna, one of the daily wage workers says, he has not eaten for hours, and he doesn’t even have 5 rupees to buy a cup of tea when asked by the news reporter. He then started weeping and said that his whole family, including children and wife are hungry too. While India battles Coronavirus, many poor people have another war, the one for survival. Munna belongs from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, who is under pressure to get food to feed his family.

For millions of daily wage workers, the lockdown means famine or lack of income to buy food. Many migrant laborers are leaving cities and heading to their hometown, which is approximately about 500 kilometers. With transportation terminated in India, a family decided to walk to their home, which is about 400 km away from their work. They said here they would die due to lack of food, and if they manage to reach their home, there is a hope for survival.

Another daily wage worker Mehto has a cycle rickshaw, so along with his family, he is leaving for his home too. He lives in Delhi for work, and his hometown is located about 1050 kilometers away from work. He has decided to reach home with the help of cycle rickshaws as soon as possible with his family. Mehto also stated that he had not been to work for the last 4-5 days, and now his tiny savings have ended as well. His job in Delhi is to drive the cycle rickshaws to transport small goods from one to another place on behalf of daily wage.

Just think how much helpless they have become in India while the lockdown is going on. We can hardly even imagine such the worst condition of daily wage workers in India who are barefoot walking home without any meal or water.

The lockdown due to Covid-19 might be a wise step to prevent the spread of the epidemic, but simultaneously, it has also put the millions of life in extreme danger. One another man Rajkumar, a cycle rickshaw puller, said he doesn’t even have money to return his home in Raebareli, Uttarpradesh. He continued that he has children in the home waiting for him to have a meal, but he doesn’t even have complete 10 rupees in the pocket to feed them.

The central and state government of India is allowing essential food items for the people in the country, but many have no means to pay house rents, bills, and even to buy food. Millions of lives are in danger during the ongoing pandemic, but if the situations remain the same, then starvation would undoubtedly kill millions of daily wage workers. The transfer services are suspended too, and many have lost hope even to reach their home, let alone getting food. As per an official record, there are about 420 million people in India who work in the unorganised sector. We appreciate all of you to pray for them and their families as much as you can and, if possible, make donations or feed them.