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

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Adequacy of Social Assistance Schemes during the COVID-19 Lockdown

Multiple social assistance schemes were launched during the first lockdown to help the poor in India, but not all eligible households took advantage of them. Studying slum households in Delhi to evaluate the efficacy of nine central and state government schemes show that the average gain was only `992 per household for a month. If all eligible households had received benefits, this figure would have been `1,956 per household, making the distribution much fairer. The schemes decreased the indebtedness of households by an average of 12.24%, but this would have been 24% if all eligible households had been covered.

Acquiring Land in India

The Political Economy of Land Acquisition in India: How a Village Stops Being One by Dhanmanjiri Sathe, Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan (Imprint by Springer Nature), 2017; pp xvi + 204, price not indicated.

Economic Impact of COVID-19-induced Lockdown on Rural Households

Through a series of data visualisations, the article attempts to illustrate the economic repercussions of the COVID-19-induced lockdown of 2020 on rural households. It focuses on how consumption, labour and income, healthcare, access to relief programmes and migration were effected by the lockdown in six major states.

Agrarian Structure of Punjab in the Post-green Revolution Era

While Punjab is endowed with population bonus from a macro perspective, the dividend viewed at a household level has placed Punjab farmers in two major difficulties: the shrinkage of farm size and the underutilisation of the dividend. Due to a dearth of decent non-farm job opportunities, Punjab farmers have struggled to pursue distress-coping strategies. This paper focuses on three primary strategies for survival: land leases, overseas migration, and obtaining informal domestic jobs outside the agricultural sector, based on our unique data of 956 landholders and 254 landless households across Punjab.

Labour ‘Invisibility’ during COVID-19 Times

As the migrant labour exodus unfolded with unrelenting grimness through the summer of 2020, there was frequent mention of how the COVID-19 pandemic had exposed the “invisibility” of migrant labour to Indian planners and policymakers.

The COVID-19 Pandemic and Livelihood Loss

Significant variations in the rise in the unemployment rate across regions after the nationwide lockdown was enforced without any discrimination are noted. The reasons for such disparities are explored and migration is noted as an important factor. States with higher rates of migration and urbanisation, greater dependency on casual wage employment and non-agricultural employment witnessed hunger and an adverse impact on livelihood.

The Fundamental Freedom to Migrate within India

The debate over migrant workers in recent times and their invisibility in government data and in policy discourse has led to a series of responses from state and central governments. While the number of returning migrants is lower in the second wave of Covid-19, nothing much has changed for the migrants on the ground. This past year has seen state governments, such as Haryana and Karnataka, move to give preference to “local” persons over migrants, even as a draft national migrant policy is under consideration. Is there a constitutional right to migrate within India? What, if any, are the duties cast upon governments and employers? These questions must be considered if the current migrant crisis is not to result in deprivation of the fundamental right to internal migration.

Great Exoduses

Migration has helped India weather many a crisis and also ushered in new challenges.

Gendered Migration

Migration, Gender and Care Economy edited by S Irudaya Rajan and N Neetha , Oxon and New York: Routledge, 2019; pp ix + 205, ₹ 995.

The Return of Historical Demography

A Population History of India: From the First Modern People to the Present Day by Tim Dyson, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2018; pp 310, £36.99.

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