Indian migrants caught in the lockdown: How many will return? Where will they come from? Where will they return to?Wednesday 22 Apr 2020
Release from lockdown in India could bring about significant movement of migrants returning home from urban/manufacturing clusters were COVID-19 is prevalent, to poor remote areas where capacity for healthcare and quarantine is low, according to new research from Clement Imbert.
Since March 24th when the lockdown of India was announced, many migrant workers have been without work, and were prevented from going home. Without support from their family and networks back home, they have to rely on government assistance for food and shelter. The plight of migrants gathered in camps, protesting at train stations, or walking hundreds of kilometres, has moved the nation and the world. After May 3rd, once restrictions on mobility are lifted, they are expected to return home. This return migration poses the risk of carrying the virus to rural areas with poor public health provision. In the sectors where they would have been working, labour shortages are feared.
This policy briefing answers three key questions for anticipating the scale of the problem:1. How many migrants will return? 2. Which districts will returning migrants come from? 3. Which districts will returning migrants go to?