Has the promise of the government in the initial stage of the lockdown about allocating food to migrants who don’t have ration quota in their native place not implemented on the ground? If you go by some newspaper headlines, that is what you would be led to think. A recent report in The Indian Express says, only 33% of food grains allocated for migrants distributed. Back in July 2020, The Hindu reported that “Migrant foodgrain scheme reached less than 15% of 8 crore target”. But the recent press statement of Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution says that 95% of migrants have got the food grains supply.
Ration to Migrants – The Facts
So, what are the facts here? Does a large portion of migrants not get the ration announced for them?
The confusion is created because some reports have not considered the recent figures about the estimation of migrant labourers. They all are giving you the percentages based on the number Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman quoted while announcing this particular initiative for migrants. At that time, it was estimated that there may be 8 crore migrant labourers affected. But there was no official data from the states, but a rough figure was arrived at to allocate the food grains accordingly. Sticking to the figure of 8 crore possible beneficiaries a total of about 6.38 LMT foodgrains was lifted by States/UTs based on their own initial estimates of migrant population.
However, after assessment, the requirement was found to be about 2.8 LMT to serve approximately 2.8 crore beneficiaries per month.
A total quantity of about 2.65 LMT food grains has been successfully distributed under the scheme up to August 31, 2020 by all States/UTs combined, covering 2.35 crore persons in May 2020, over 2.48 crore persons in June 2020, about 31.43 Lakh persons in July 2020 and nearly 16 Lakh migrant persons in August 2020.
This means on an average about 2.65 crore persons benefitted for the months of May and June. Thus, the scheme is successful in serving about 95% of the total 2.8 crore migrants/stranded migrants’ population estimated by the States/UTs.
So, most of the reports that are reporting or framing their headlines to indicate that a major chunk of migrants have been left out from the food grain distribution are basing their numbers on the initial estimation of 8 crore migrants and the food grains allocated accordingly. However, the fact is that the number of migrants was later discovered to be not exceeding 3 crore. Some reports chose to mention that in the end while many try to indicate that food grains have not reached the migrants as planned, which is incorrect.
You may also want to check out our earlier coverage on this issue: