Centre asks states to use disaster funds to give food, shelter to migrant workers | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Centre asks states to use disaster funds to give food, shelter to migrant workers

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByNeeraj Chauhan
Mar 28, 2020 10:25 PM IST

The directive on Saturday came a day after the ministry asked the states and Union territories to make arrangements for food and other basic amenities for the migrant labourers.

The Centre on Saturday directed all states and Union territories to use their State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to provide temporary accommodation, food, clothing and medical care to migrant labourers amid the three-week countrywide lockdown imposed to halt the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Migrant worker have borne the brunt of the lockdown as they try to reach their homes. A worker with his child stranded at IFFCO chowk, Gurugram.(Yogendra Kumar/Hindustan Times)
Migrant worker have borne the brunt of the lockdown as they try to reach their homes. A worker with his child stranded at IFFCO chowk, Gurugram.(Yogendra Kumar/Hindustan Times)

Migrant workers have been among the hardest hit because of the lockdown and many of them have been prompted to undertake long journeys to their homes on foot in absence of public transport, work and means to sustain themselves.

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The directive on Saturday came a day after the ministry asked the states and Union territories to make arrangements for food and other basic amenities for the migrant labourers.

The SDRF was constituted under the National Disaster Management Act (NDMA) in 2005 and is the primary fund available with state governments for disasters likes cyclones, droughts, earthquakes, fires, floods, hailstorm etc. The Centre contributes 75% to the SDRF for general category states and Union territories and 90% for those under special category--the North Eastern states, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir. The annual central contribution is released in two equal instalments.

In its directive, the Centre has said the SDRF can be used as per section 3 (a) related to relief measures listed under it and the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF). The section provides for relief in case of a calamity for 30 days. In case of continuation of a calamity, this period may be extended first up to 60, and later to 90 days. Subsequently, medical care can be provided from the National Rural Health Mission funds, the Centre said.

For 2019-20, the Centre has released around Rs 10,343 crore to 29 states as SDRF, according to official data . Around Rs 14,108 crore has been given to eight states, including Rajasthan, Odisha, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, under the NDRF.

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