ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Critique of Policies

COVID-19-led Migrant Crisis

The genesis and evolution of the COVID-19-led migrant crisis in India, along with the institutional responses, is discussed. The focus is on the shortcomings of the response, especially taking into consideration the curtailment of human mobility, which pushed migrants into enormous physical, psychological, and economic vulnerability, and the short-, medium-, and long-term measures provided by the government in order to alleviate them. Alternate policy measures to ensure migrant welfare in the immediate future are suggested.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thr­own a spotlight on the conditions of internal migrant workers throughout India. The Census of India defines a migrant by place of birth—as a person who is enumerated in a place (village or town), which is different from their place of birth. However, mig­rants by place of last residence provide a better account of the extent of internal migration. The 2011 Indian Census estimated 454 million internal migrants in India, adding an absolute number of 140 million more migrants during 2001–11. In fact, the increase of internal migrants during 1991–2001 was just 82 million, their number rose to 232 million in 1991, and to 314 million in 2001. Return migration, as part of interstate migration has been an increasing phenomenon.

For 2011–20, the central government had introduced several programmes to enhance the urbanisation-led economic growth. One such programme was the 100 smart cities mission laun­ched by the Prime Minister on 25 June 2015. About `98,000 crore were app­roved by the cabinet for the development of 100 smart cities and the rejuvenation of 500 other cities under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). At least 40% of urban growth will be due to migration and the remaining due to natural increase.

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Updated On : 24th Dec, 2020

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