Tuesday, May 24, 2022
Outlook.com
Migrant Workers

Covid Migrants Stranded At The Crossroads

Legislating social security for migrant labourers is essential, but for these to be helpful, State and society need to develop a migrant-friendly attitude

Covid Migrants Stranded At The Crossroads
Despair Migrants awaiting an uncertain fate as India went into Covid lockdown in 2020 Photographs: Apoorva Salkade

Suresh, a 45-year-old migrant, worked in a small unit in Mumbai, manufacturing electronic met­ers. The catastrophic effect of Covid had shut down the unit, which resulted in his losing the job. Since the first wave of the pandemic, Sur­esh has been at his native village near Jaunpur in Uttar Pra­desh, where he returned during the lockdown in May 2020, after he lost his job in Mumbai, his address for a decade. He was jobless for almost a year but was hopeful life would get back on track after the government revoked the lockdown. Instead, the Covid second wave amplified the catastrophes, leaving Suresh with no option but to look out for alternative opportunities. With the help of his family members and friends, he started a book and stationery shop at his village.

Suresh is not alone. According to the recent report of Action-Aid India, 54 per cent of those who had returned to their native villages during the first lockdown want to remain in these areas. The miseries of migrant labourers were not a new phenomenon, but the Covid pandemic exposed them severely.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement