She stood outside a school building in Nilothi at 4pm local time, an hour before long queues started forming - a common sight these days in big cities across India - for a meal of rice and legumes that evening. In Kapasheda, 14 miles from Nilothi, Seema Sardar and Kanika Vishvas, both domestic workers, said their employers had turned them away without any pay to live on during the lockdown. Seema Sardar, right, and Kanika Vishvas who work as domestic workers in Kapasheda in southwest Delhi said their employers had turned them out without any money to survive on in the lockdown [Anumeha Yadav/Al Jazeera] On March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced one of strictest lockdowns in the world, shutting down public transport, but he did not say how the state would support the poor through it. Tens of thousands of migrant workers fled the city, many of them walking hundreds of kilometres, to reach their homes as factories and businesses were shut as part of government's measures to fight the virus, which has killed more than 150,000 people worldwide. Dipa Sinha, a development economist at Ambedkar University, pointed out that the central government provision applies to the existing beneficiaries of the PDS under the National Food Security Act, 2013. At a construction site at Anand Niketan in Chanakyapuri, where several government offices and international embassies are located, Rajkumar Oraon a worker from a central Indian Indigenous community, said 30 migrants, including women and children, had been stranded without food for three days following the lockdown. Munni Chauhan, a widow in her 60s, who worked as a thread cutter for a daily wage in garment export firms, walked over a kilometre (about one mile) to the southwest Delhi district commissioner's office, defying the lockdown. She added that though she had enrolled in the Aadhaar, India's biometric ID database which is mandatory to receive any social security benefits, she was not able to get a ration card to access subsidised grains. "Economists, including Nobel laureates Esther Duflo and Abhijit Bannerjee, are advising urgent measures at this time, and states should avoid trying being 'clever', setting up complex systems of targeting," said Johri.
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