TISS team generates data on migrant workers

To sync their urgent needs with relief measures extended by the govt. and NGOs

Updated - May 02, 2020 11:05 am IST

Published - May 01, 2020 10:25 pm IST - HYDERABAD

Faculty of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad Campus, conducting the survey in Rachakonda Commissionerate limits.

Faculty of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad Campus, conducting the survey in Rachakonda Commissionerate limits.

The faculty of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Hyderabad, which has done a survey to find the needs of migrant workers who were thrown off guard by the imposition of lockdown has identified that an authentic database on migrant workers remained a critical gap in matching the immediate needs of the workers with the relief measures extended by the government and civil society organisations.

The mapping exercise on ‘Socio-economic vulnerabilities and rapid assessment of needs of migrant workers in Hyderabad’, conceived and conducted by the TISS team in collaboration with Rachakonda Police Commissionerate has indicated that an authentic database order will go a long way in matching pressing needs of the migrant workers with the relief measures, and put in place more coordinated and focused short-term and long-term policy interventions.

Even now, after almost a month of lockdown, a number of key concerns such as food, livelihoods, shelter and transport remain to be addressed at the policy and intervention levels while visuals of lengthy lines of hungry and tired migrant workers on a long march home have become enduring images of the crisis fuelled by COVID-19.

The objectives of the survey are to capture the migrant workers’ socio-demographic profile, economic and current health status, perceived most important needs and immediate assistance needed from the government.

The TISS faculty team developed a brief 35-item schedule as a Google form that could be accessed on a smartphone for the data collection, said U. Vindhya, deputy director, TISS-Hyderabad Campus.

Helping the TISS team in data collection are a set of volunteers from Citizens’ Council called Rachakonda Security Council under the aegis of Rachakonda Police Commissionerate. They also helped in mobilising identified migrant workers from the jurisdiction of each police station, she said.

In the exercise that began on April 15, so far 8,235 individuals have been interviewed across nine police station limits. “The data generated will enable a rapid assessment of migrant workers’ needs so that more coordinated, focused and organised relief measures can be initiated to mitigate their suffering,” Prof Vindhya said.

For instance, in the early days of lockdown, many organisations started distributing food packets. Talking to migrants from northern States revealed that they would be happy to get dry rations and rather cook themselves. Accordingly, Rachakonda Police officials coordinated the relief by talking to donor agencies. The data can also be used by the administration to plan and coordinate transportation of the migrant workers to their home states.

The long term outcome is the use of data for advocacy and further research as the database has details such as migrant workers’ current location in the city, occupation and contact number, details of home State, district and panchayat they come from, socio-economic details like living arrangements, family members, remittance pattern, support received from government and NGOs during lockdown et al.

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