Post-Covid challenge for rural India: 12 crore migrants face ‘bleak’ future in cities


The SARS-CoV-2 virus has infected more than 5.1 million people out of which more than 330 thousand people died. Most of the countries are either under nation-wide or localised lockdown with more than half of the global population confined within their homes. Rest of the countries are also following many restrictive measures to avoid spreading of the virus.

It is impossible to predict, at this point in time, when we can again go back to the normal Pre-Covid life. Even if we develop immunity against the virus or develop vaccine to prevent or medicine to cure, it seems that the world is not going to be the same any more. Our work pattern, travel, and lifestyle - everything will probably undergo many changes.

Around 12 crore people throughout the country migrate to cities and towns from villages in search of labour work. They mostly work in construction sectors or as security guard, domestic help, rickshaw puller or other so called ‘unskilled’ jobs to get at most 10,000- 15,000 rupees a month. When the Government of India called for a nation-wide lockdown for 21 days it became one of the most tragic periods for the daily wage earners, especially migrant labourers.

A lot of rumours, misinformation created panic among them and the administration could not do much due to unpreparedness to handle such situations. When the lockdown began, the migrant labourers started attempting to go back to their villages in fear of having no shelter and food.

Both State and Central governments tried to take up measures like providing temporary shelters, food, etc. but those were not adequate. From different parts of the country we heard incidents of migrant labourers walking hundreds of kilometres with children and elderly.

Source: Counterview