Urge all to stand with employees and not deduct salaries, says Rai

Minister for Employment, Development and Labour, Gopal Rai in an exclusive interview with Aaisha Sabir of Millennium Post, spoke about the plight of migrant workers and the impact COVID-19 has had on the economy of the national Capital.


Migrant labourers were found taking refuge near Yamuna river, what measures have you taken for them?

As soon as the incident of migrant labourers taking refuge near Yamuna river came to the notice of our government, we immediately took action and brought all those labourers to the nearest Shelter Homes where proper food and lodging arrangements were made for them.

Is the Delhi government arranging trains or buses for the migrant labourers that can take them to their native place?

As we all know that no vaccine has been created so far to check the Coronavirus, the only way to stop this infection from spreading, as of now, is by following the guidelines of the lockdown. Under the circumstances, by sending any migrant labourer out of the city to their respective states would be inviting the spread of Coronavirus. We are realising that in this difficult times everyone wants to be with their family but following the lockdown norms is more important than that because they are safe and their family is safe too. So I urge all migrant brothers and sisters that they must comply with all the rules of lockdown and remain in their own homes or shelter homes.

In future, industries may not fully come back to normalcy, there will be a shortage of jobs. What are your plans, in this regard, as a Labour Minister and what would you suggest to the central government?

First of all, I would like to request all the employers that they should stand with their employees in this difficult time. The salary of any employee should not be deducted at all. We are going through a difficult phase which we will overcome soon. I would like to tell you that immediately after the lockdown, the Delhi Government, keeping in mind the livelihood of the labourers, transferred Rs 5,000 to the accounts of all the registered construction workers so that they do not come under economic pressure and make proper arrangements for their catering. Besides, the government has also decided to give Rs 5,000 to auto and rural service drivers. The government and the Labour Ministry are taking every effort to not cause any economic loss to any labourers due to the Coronavirus. It is our suggestion to the central government that they should formulate practical economic policies keeping in mind the conditions of workers, farmers and the youth in India.

According to you, which are the most affected areas in terms of employment?

In the coming days due to the havoc Coronavirus has created, there can be a lot of problems in employment. The biggest threat is for the self-employed, contract workers, and daily wage workers. It is also certain that after emerging from this pandemic, the real challenge will be to bring the economy back on track. We will go far behind on the economic front. COVID-19 will not have an impact only on anyone area but on everything from technology to tourism to the hotel industry. The technology sector may suffer more because it's dependence is directly linked to the US and China. The rest of the cottage industries and small scale industries will be badly affected as well. The industries have not yet fully recovered from demonetisation, in such a situation, a pandemic of this magnitude, has made the economic scenario worse and it is quite worrisome for everyone.

People are complaining that Indians trapped abroad are being called back and special arrangements are being made for them, but nothing is being done for our own labourers, what is your opinion?

The Delhi government has already made proper arrangements for their food and housing, and we are taking special care of the workers. The government is taking special care so that no migrant labourer has any problem in living and eating during this period. Under the leadership of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, all the ministers and MLAs of the Delhi government are working diligently and looking into the problems of the migrant labourers in their respective areas and ensuring that they do not face any further trouble.

How many people is the Delhi government feeding daily?

We feed 10 lakh people daily and have given free ration to 75 lakh people. Shelters has been arranged for thousands of homeless people.

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