It’s quite an eerie feeling to ponder about the marginalized section of the society – the migrants, who are poverty-stricken, exploited and forced to dwell under impoverished living conditions. Migrants majorly comprise of the daily wage labourers who work in the manufacturing and small scale industries. These workers are denied of proper nutrition, housing and sanitation. They have less or no access to public health care facilities. The migrants are often the worst affected community. Considering the present scenario, ever since, the imposition of the nation wide lock down to curb the spread of the deadly virus, migrants across the country have faced multiple hardships. Millions of migrant workers had to deal with the loss of income, food shortages and uncertainty about their future. Following this, many of them and their families starved for days and succumbed to death. Thousands of workers walked barefoot to their respective homes in the wake of the ongoing pandemic. Research show that majority of the migrants move in to big cities in search of a better living. This is because of unavailability of work in their respective states. Women Migrants are the most vulnerable. When we look at the state of the women who still have no access to education, the reports are not encouraging. The rural women tend to engage themselves more in household chores rather than in attending school. One reason possibly could be – lack of resources. Children (girls specifically) in the rural areas either have to cycle or walk bare foot to reach school. They have no access to public transport. And once, the girl child hits puberty, parents force her to get married and have children. As a result of which, they move out from their villages to big cities not to make a better life for themselves but to survive. This shows how precarious the lives of these migrants are and that the big cities are not actually “home. “ In addition to the lack of job opportunities, unemployment is on the rise. A study of people with a high risk of unemployment found that they decreased their consumption of fruit and vegetables. Such a diet change affects the workers’ as well as their children’s health in the long run. Inadequate nutrition of children, a particular risk in low-income families, can hinder their physical and mental development.
Migrant labourers, who are mostly from rural areas but live most of the year in cities for work, are the victims of development. With the advent of technology, manual labor has reduced. The technological change has reduced the need for routine manual labor. As a result of which, daily wage labourers are not hired anymore. This is a long-standing problem, and has been into existence since ages. In this scenario, how well the migrants are faring? Do they have much to relish? Do they have a roof to rest? Do they have job security? Their future seems bleak.
India is a developing economy. One of the striking facts about India’s development model has been uneven development of rural and urban India. The rural regions of India need immediate and undivided attention.
• Areas with high incidence of poverty should be given equal and undivided attention. The Government should undertake Poverty Alleviation Programmes to eradicate poverty from the grass root level.
• The MGNREGA scheme came into force in 2006 yet in many parts of the country, the poor dies out of hunger. This is because, the Government doesn’t keep an eye whether the schemes launched are implemented. Implementation and execution should be made necessary.
• The migrants should be given jobs in their respective states with due respect. This is because, migrants, very often, get an undeserved bad name in the market.
• Development should be made in the field of agriculture. The Government should look after providing necessary equipments for a healthy yield, protecting them from weeds and weather conditions.
This will help the farmers rely on their own crops rather than depending on the landlords for money.
Migration is neither unique nor new to India. It has existed since mankind. Not everyone wants to leave home, of course, many see migration as one future pathway, whether permanently or temporarily with the hopes to one day return home.