To battle the pandemic in a nation of over a billion people, the Indian government has imposed a 21-day lockdown. During this period, only essential services such as grocery shops, banks, and hospitals are to function.
All of India’s 28 states have sealed their borders and are taking immediate steps to encourage physical distancing. The three-week lockdown, however, is proving to be particularly crippling to India’s lower-income groups.
Metropolitan cities like New Delhi and Mumbai are host to millions of migrant workers. Since the lockdown started, their livelihood in the cities has taken a hit. As businesses in the cities are struggling to operate, some of them are sending daily wage workers on unpaid leaves.
Out of jobs and worried about their health, Indian workers are swarming bus stations and highways to find a way to get back to their homes.
Since most state borders are shut and public transport services suspended, thousands of men, women, and children are stranded on the borders of big cities.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Indian government is providing them with food, makeshift shelters and free public transport. India’s main opposition party, the Indian National Congress has attacked the government over its poor planning of the lockdown.