COVID-19: Challenges faced by Migrant Workers

  • IASbaba
  • March 31, 2020
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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Topic: General Studies 1 & 2:

  • Urbanization, their problems and their remedies. 
  • Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections. 

COVID-19: Challenges faced by Migrant Workers

In the crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic, some of the worse challenges are faced by the inter-state migrant workers. 

Do You Know?

  • The cost of the lockdown is pegged at around $120 billion (nearly ₹9 lakh crore) or 4% of the GDP.
  • The lockdown will effectively put over 45 million migrants, working on daily basis, out of work.

Problems of Inter-State migrant worker 

  • Sudden announcement of lockdown left them unprepared for it.
  • Contrary and uncoordinated government orders caused confusion (Ex: Delhi migrants)
  • Dire situation with no work, money or food
  • Harassment at the hands of house owners
  • Lack of political voice due to their migrant status
  • Anxiety about the survival of their families back home
  • Physical distancing for the unorganised sector is difficult in India given the realities of high density human settlements (Ex: slums)
  • All the above factors lead to their mass exodus from urban areas to their homes often by foot due to suspension of Transport facilities.


  • Making arrangements for travel to their home towns is not advisable as there is a danger of spread of virus to rural areas where health infrastructure is meagre.
  • People will stay where they are, only if real support is provided.
  • School buildings, community halls and stadiums can serve as temporary shelters for migrants (Karnataka model)
  • Food grains from excessive buffer stocks to be supplied to these centres.
  • Self-managed community kitchens to be set up
  • Adequate safety training and safety gear needs to be provided to those housed in temporary shelters


Thus, there needs to be a plan of action based on compassion and understanding of conditions on the ground. 

Connecting the dots:

  • Other vulnerable sections of society & problems faced due to lockdown
  • Migrants causing the demand for reservation of jobs for local people – legislations passed by State governments like AP, Maharashtra – Critically Analyze

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