Pandemic will deepen job and livelihood crisis of migrants: Study

A medic checks the temperature of a migrant worker at Hiremagalur near Chikkamagaluru. the study states that when migrants flee from a city, they not only lose their livelihood but possibly carry the infections to their native places.   | Photo Credit: -

Migrant workers, who constitute about 50% of the urban population and many of whom are engaged in what are called “3D jobs” (dirty, dangerous and demeaning) are likely to face job and livelihood crisis owing to COVID-19 pandemic, according to findings of a research done by the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai.

Lockdown has left about 42% with no ration and 33% were stuck in cities with no access to food, water, and money. As many as 94% of them did not have worker’s identity card, said IIPS researchers R.B. Bhagat, Reshmi R.S., Harihar Sahoo, Archana K. Roy, and Dipti Govil in their paper titled “The COVID-19, Migration and Livelihood in India”.

When migrants flee from the city, they not only lose their livelihood but possibly carry the infections to their native places, noted the study. “India is likely to face job crisis because of COVID-19. Migrant workers and workers in the informal sector are likely to be badly hit,” the paper said.

Researchers studied migrant population of eight metro cities of Delhi, Greater Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Greater Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, and Pune and said these cities recorded 38% (2,587) of the total 6,761 cases of the country as on April 13. About 47% of the population in these cities are migrants, while 21.6% of them are inter-State migrants.

Noting that the pandemic saw “one of the biggest streams of mass return migration in the country”, the paper said in-migration rates were higher in high-income States such as Delhi, Goa, Haryana, Punjab, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Karnataka, whereas low-income States such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, and Odisha reported relatively higher rates of out-migration. About one-fifth of the migrants are inter-State.

In urban areas, average wage earnings per day by casual labour engaged in works other than public works ranged from ₹314 to ₹335 among men and ₹186 to ₹201 among women in 2017-18. A large number of migrant workers and workers in the informal sector just have been surviving on subsistence wages. “The coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown is going to affect them badly leading to their further impoverishment due to loss of livelihood. It may also affect hugely their food and nutritional intake, access to healthcare and education of children,” they said.

Following lack of their inclusion in urban society, workers were grossly denied access to social security schemes, healthcare and other entitlements. Many schemes meant for the poor do not reach them due to lack of identity and residential proofs.

Though the Working Group on Migration (2017) set up by the Union Ministry of Urban Housing and Poverty alleviation has examined the plight of the migrant workers and submitted its report to Union government in 2017, no action had been taken on the report, the research revealed.

Noting that migrants were not considered as part of the urban community by the urban development and planning, the paper said: “Given its size and spread, management of migrants under lockdown represents a massive logistic challenge.”

Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 5:30:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/pandemic-will-deepen-job-and-livelihood-crisis-of-migrants-study/article31439073.ece

Next Story