As told to Parliament (September 14, 2020): Some 10.4 million jobless migrant workers returned home post-lockdown

All that was discussed in the House through the day


A total of 10.4 million migrant workers returned to their home states due to loss of jobs after complete lockdown in the country in the wake of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to the data presented by Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Santosh Kumar Gangwar, said in the Lok Sabha.

Nearly 71 per cent of these belonged to four states, namely Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Rajasthan.

The Union government had issued comprehensive Advisory Guidelines on July 27, 2020, to all the states and union territories for the welfare of the returning migrant workers in the backdrop of COVID-19, Gangwar said.

The Union government had announced a Rs 1.70 lakh crore relief package under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) for the poor to help them fight the battle against the coronavirus.

Indian economy

The real gross domestic product (GDP) in India contracted by 23.9 per cent during the first quarter of 2020-21 (as against a 5.2 per cent growth in Q1 of 2019-20) according to the Estimates of Gross Domestic Product for the first quarter of 2020-21 released by the National Statistical Office on August 32, 2020.

On the demand side, private consumption spending fell by 26.7 per cent and investment demand also declined by 47.1 per cent, Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs in the Lok Sabha, Anurag Thakur, said.

Tourism sector 

The tourism sector has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Union Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge) Prahlad Singh Patel stated in the Lok Sabha.

No formal study had been instituted for assessing the impact on the tourism sector and job losses. However, several rounds of discussions and brainstorming sessions with industry stakeholders indicated massive loss of revenue, foreign exchange and jobs.

In view of the highly unorganised nature of the sector, the impact in numerical terms could only be ascertained in due course, Patel said.

EBP procurement

The procurement of ethanol under the ethanol-blended petrol (EBP) programme increased almost five times to 1.89 billion litres during ethanol supply year (ESY) 2018-19, from 0.38 billion litres during ESY 2013-14, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, said in the Lok Sabha.

Several important measures had been taken to increase the production of ethanol for blending. These included reduction in Goods & Service Tax on ethanol meant for EBP Programme to five per cent from 18 per cent and the extension of EBP Programme to the whole of India except the Union Territories of Andaman and Nicobar as well as Lakshadweep, with effect from April 1, 2019.

Agriculture bills

The Union Ministry for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare introduced three bills on the farm sector — The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotionand Facilitation) Bill, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill — in the Lok Sabha on September 14, 2020.

These were introduced to replace ordinances promulgated on June 5, 2020.

These bills are aimed to transform agriculture in India and raise farmers’ income, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Narendra Singh Tomar, said.