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Coronavirus Lockdown Relaxation: Labourers allowed to return to work; local authorities to help find jobs

Manoj Sharma     April 20, 2020

The government has said migrant labourers can return to their jobs if their place of work is in the same state where they are stranded. The government has also listed a safety protocol for the workers who want to start working again.

"(If)...migrants wish to return to their place of work, within the state where they are presently located, they would be screened and those asymptomatic would be transported to their respective places of work," the Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines said.

Those who are looking for jobs will be registered with local authorities who will carry out their "skill-mapping" to make it easy to find suitable work. Notably, the government had issued guidelines on the relaxation of the lockdown norms from April 20, keeping in mind the problems faced by poor, migrants, labourers and those living in rural areas.

About 10 lakh workers are living across 26,476 various relief camps in India. The Labour Ministry data suggests around 6 lakh walked home after the lockdown announcement, while the rest stayed back in relief camps. The government, however, has clarified there will be no movement of labour outside states where they are currently located.

The government guidelines come after industries flagged the shortage of labour as one of the big concerns amid the lockdown. To make labour available to industries, the government has allowed movement of migrants to their places of work. "The local authorities shall also provide for food and water for the duration of their journey," the ministry guidelines said.

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  • The migrant labourers currently residing in relief/shelter camps should be registered with the concerned local authority
  • Their skill mapping be carried out to find out suitability for various kinds of works.
  • A group of migrants wish to return to places of work within the state, where they are presently located, will be screened and those who are asymptomatic will be transported to respective places of work.
  • There will be no movement of labour outside the state/UT where they are currently located.
  • Safe social distancing norms should be followed and buses used for transport should be senitised.
  • Local authorities will also provide for food and water etc., for the duration of their journey.
Certain government and private industrial establishments will start opening from today. Industries operating from rural areas, i.e. outside the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities; and industrial units in special economic zones and export-oriented units, industrial estates and townships will resume work.

However, they will have to ensure workers stay in premises or adjacent buildings. The companies will also be responsible for the transportation of workers to the campuses while ensuring all social distancing norms are followed.


India reported 36 more COVID-19 deaths in past 24 hours taking the toll to 543 while, the total number of confirmed cases have crossed the 17,000 mark. According to latest data by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, there are 17,265 confirmed coronavirus cases in India currently including 14,175 active cases, while 2,546 have been cured and discharged and 1 migrated.

Also Read: Coronavirus Lockdown Relaxation Live Updates: MHA warns states against curfew violations; cases tally-17,265

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