The Covid-induced nationwide lockdowns in 2020 made India sit up and take notice of its domestic migrants as they started walking back home in what was possibly the greatest displacement of Indians since the Partition. As Covid cases abate and vaccines are rolled out, the focus now shifts to how India can find policy solutions to the plight of its migrant workers. But this is also an opportunity for India to seriously evaluate its approach towards internal migration. Do we know enough about it? Is India geared to leverage its diverse population through migration to boost economic growth? Catch a new series of webinars, where the leading thinkers, academics and policymakers come together to find innovative solutions to India’s migration puzzle.
Every year, 400 million domestic migrants leave their homes. It took a pandemic for India to appreciate the quiet grit and contribution of the migrant worker in building the country. The inaugural edition highlighted the nature and scope of the issue and underscored why India must pay attention to its migrant workforce.
"Workers migrated using unorganised channels and landed in different cities and states, now they migrate using organised channels and they are exploited. The government has an important role to play in this.”Hemant SorenHon’ble Chief Minister of Jharkhand
"We do not really track migrants. Without credible data, all of our policies lack any link to any evidence and, therefore, are prone to failure. With the enormous presence of IT systems across the country, I don’t think it is very difficult to put an institutionalised mechanism system and collect data of every labourer.”Alex Paul MenonLabour Commissioner & Secretary Food and Civil Supplies Chhattisgarh Government
"You’re always talking about migration as some type of liability. What is the migrants’ contribution to the income of their states of destination. How much do they contribute to Mumbai’s city income, for instance? They are migrants, but they are Indians. They are invisible now, but we have to make them visible.”S. Irudaya RajanProfessor Centre for Development Studies, Kerala
"Migrant workers today do the irtiest, most dangerous and difficult work in any industry. Do we look at them only as a cheap source of labour or as a productive asset in our society?”Ravi S. SrivastavaDirector, Centre of Employment Studies, Institute for Human Development and former Professor, JNU
"If we first correct the fundamentals, provide better accommodation, sanitation, and food, it will elevate and improve the situation of our workforce in India.”Rahul KatyalManaging Director Capacit’e Infraprojects Ltd
"We could either choose to focus on going back to the way things were or use this as an opportunity to make significant strides.”Shilpa KumarPartner Omidyar Network India