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03 Sep

Impact of COVID-19 on Employment in India

More than 15 million individuals have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and more than 600,000 died in the six months since the coronavirus began its global spread. Lockdowns and company closures have been implemented by governments all over the world. Travel, hospitality, and entertainment in the official sector, as well as daily wage workers and street and market vendors in the informal sector, have all been destroyed. Hundreds of millions of people have lost their jobs around the world. Internal migration being a serious issue in India affected both rural and urban areas. Jobs and business—predominantly among men—education, and family, which determine the movement of women the most, are the key causes. Internal migrants in India are expected to exceed 600 million by 2020, further exceeding in 2021 if the pandemic is not contained in the time, according to migration experts. Around 200 million are inter-district and inter-state migrants, with another 140 million were classified as "extremely vulnerable." They had no choice but to return to their native cities and try to make a fresh start because they are unable to find any solid source of income or work in their own places. Despite field surveys conducted during the lockdown revealing that thousands of migrant workers in cities did not receive their wages or the government-promised relief of free food and supplies, this is the case. These are well-known facts.

The Challenge

Millions of people are fleeing the COVID-19 disaster. De-urbanization has arisen as a severe concern in the developing world as economies collapse and lockdowns proliferate. Millions of migratory workers, daily wage workers, and others in the formal and informal economy are returning to their communities and family homes, putting strain on scarce land resources and amplifying the potential of conflicts. Health-care systems in both developed and developing countries were under severe strain. Frontline healthcare personnel shouldered the brunt of the responsibility for limiting the spread of the new coronavirus. In order to do so, they put their lives on the line.

Below are the major challenges associated with migration, displacement, de-urbanization, and containment caused by COVID-19:

In general, there are two types of sustainability in business:

  • Bad data: We still have very little information on people of which sector are is relocating the most and where they are headed. Is the majority of migration internal? What is the exact number of individuals departing? How long do they plan on staying or have they migrated forever? Planning policy responses becomes difficult without knowing the answers to these questions.

  • Increased pressure on rural housing and land resources: Many rural towns have adapted to low population density after decades of rapid urbanization. This is manifested in a lack of social services, such as schools, jobs, and healthcare, as well as a lack of homes and land. Conflicts over few resources are occurring as rural administrations try to allot land and dwellings to a reverse movement of population. In particular, common resources such as pastures, forests, and communal agricultural land are coming under stress. Not just this, the sense of shared community living has also vanished from within the individual. It is not a hidden fact that today we all stand divided; between class, caste, religion and much more than a human mind can actually comprehend.

  • Population movement makes it difficult to distribute aid: Governments are having a difficult time assessing and distributing relief because of millions of people are on the move. Government assistance programs and local relief efforts, in particular, overlook foreign migrant workers, many of whom are not recognized as workers in their host country. Migrants are the ones who suffer the most from displacement. "For the time being, none of the government-administered remedies do anything to alleviate their issues. These are mostly precautionary measures. Migrants do not have access to cash for consumption "Prof. S. Irudaya Rajan, a migration specialist at Thiruvananthapuram's Centre for Development Studies, agrees.

  • Lack of remittances means less money for property upkeep: Remittances from cities have long been relied upon by rural communities to make long-term expenditures such as land purchases and property maintenance. Remittances, for example, provide stability and level out seasonal land-related revenues in India. This source of rural money has been exhausted as urban employees lose their employment and move to the countryside.

  • Properties left behind in cities are increasingly vulnerable: Workers who left cities for the countryside often leave behind dwellings for which they have no formal documentation. Squatters may take up residence in these abandoned buildings, or they may be demolished and renovated. This latter worry is especially prominent in rapidly increasing cities' informal communities.

  • Prioritize health screenings for frontline health care workers: In this pandemic, health-care workers (HCWs) are just as crucial as hospitals, equipment, and personal protective equipment (PPEs). Many healthcare employees have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because they don't have enough time to protect themselves and their families. If any employees become infected, they should be confined, which will result in a staff shortage, and healthy employees will be overworked, with little sleep and anxiety. Testing kits must be prioritized for frontline health workers, as well as for vulnerable communities (older citizens) who are more susceptible to the virus and those with several pre-existing conditions.

Early Responses and Key Considerations

Early indications suggest that a mix of strong local institutions and powerful non-governmental networks is helping to mitigate the disruptive consequences of mass migration and de-urbanization, which is unsurprising. Here are some preliminary suggestions for dealing with these issues:

  • Gather improved data on key population movement metrics: Smartphones' widespread use has enabled governments and non-governmental organizations to track large-scale population migrations. This technology has been successfully utilized in the aftermath of earthquakes and natural catastrophes to target relief, and limited mobile phone tracking has been implemented post-COVID-19 to aid with contact tracing and lockdown enforcement. Governments and NGOs should apply this methodology towards understanding where populations are moving, and whether they are remaining at their destinations or moving on to new locations.

  • Improve dispute resolution mechanisms: Cities can start preparing now by beefing up existing dispute resolution systems, whether that means enlisting the help of local civil society organizations, employing more judges, attorneys, and mediators, or just implementing an intake procedure to keep property conflicts out of the courts. National governments should provide explicit funding to local governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to develop dispute settlement capabilities.

  • Allocate land to returnees: Local governments should review their land use plans and land banks (if any) to give land to newcomers in a proactive manner (some of whom may even contribute to local revitalization by bringing new knowledge and experience from cities). Land allocation methods in many towns are restrictive and too bureaucratic; in these circumstances, the systems should be made more flexible to handle rapid influxes. In order to avoid grievances from existing community members, municipalities should be honest and consistent about the criteria they use to assign land, and they should ensure that women are not excluded from land allocation.

  • Protect supply chains by moving to process closer to production: Food shortages and price increases are possible as a result of supply chain disruptions. Food processing might be moved closer to the production areas, according to proponents.

  • Greater focus on safety nets for migrants: Undocumented migrants are excluded from social safety nets, stimulus payments, and unemployment benefits in many nations, including those in the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development). However, this restriction is short-sighted: the consequent monetary shortage forces migrants to return to their homelands, putting additional strain on precious resources. Governments should include migrants and undocumented workers in vouchers, cash, and stimulus payments.

  • Training, knowledge, and protocols to follow are all used: In a pandemic, the comfort and willingness to work for a health system that has a good strategy multiply many times. Protocols in local languages for easier understanding, as well as educational materials based on scientific research, have proved beneficial. Offering free transportation between work and home, childcare assistance, and meal coupons can help to alleviate domestic stress and allow for a more focused effort on health care.

Due to excellent village-level administration, a thriving civil society, and women's active participation in government in Kerala, the state has emerged as the leader in controlling COVID in India. The Kudumbashree initiative in Kerala encourages rural women to form self-help groups, and their federations serve as a civil society counterpoint to village panchayats. Kudumbashree members make up nearly 65% of all women elected to panchayats. Kerala was the first state to implement pro-women land reforms, which is no coincidence. These measures are the result of effective state policies that stress female parity and empowerment, rather than being put in place to combat the coronavirus.


  • Kevin martin, EggheadFoundation


    March 20, 2024 at 2:37 pm


    This blog really hit home for me.

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