COVID-19, a pandemic as declared by WHO is defined as spreading a new disease
worldwide. Many of the diseases spreads at a rapid rate in a very short period
of time which may be days, weeks or months. India has imposed a national
lockdown to cease the spread of disease. The pandemic is anticipating to abolish
6.7 percent working hours throughout the world in second half of year 2020 which
is equal to 195 million workers of full time.
Huge decrement can be predicted
in Arab states where 8.1 percent workers which are equal to 5 million full time
workers, and in Europe it is expected to be 7.8 percent workers which are equal
to 12 million full-time workers. In Asia and Pacific this prediction is 7.2
percent workers which is equal to 125 million full-time workers. This may
exceeds the effects of earlier crisis of 2008-09.
This decision of imposing lockdown ends up in affecting jobs, manufacturing,
construction and the informal migrants labour class who assists in these
sectors. This situation should have handled gently. Some sectors which are
at huge risk are shelter, food, retail, business and administrative activities.
Some of the major problems that has been suffered by migrants labours are
How is lockdown going to affect them?
India is facing one more problem during this pandemic which is Migrant Labour
crisis. After the announcement of lockdown which sets off a massive evacuation
of migrant labour from the industrial places. Migrants who are deprived of
their jobs and livelihoods as well has begun their onerous journey towards their
home on either foot or bicycles. Itís been 55 days and still the migrants are on
the road somewhere.
Their health and safety are at question. Across the
business sectors, from retail to manufacturing are cladding some grave or
debilitate labour shortage, it has put another question on India that how supply
chain will hold up in country. Workers who have returned home are not showing up
for work because of no proper facility of transport and police violence. In
ecommerce firms, this has led to labour shortage at the rate of 80-90 percent.
Retailers have been hit hard in mandis and other places like these.
Manufacturing units are also cladding some issues of contract or agreement,
labour penetrating to get back to their villages. The lockdown has been like a
death sentence for the underprivileged
are the lines of workers suffering from
poverty and inequality during this pandemic.
Psychological issues faced by Migrants during COVID-19
India has lost its soul and moral compass during the pandemic crisis. Migrants
are not familiar in their new environment where they are living on a temporary
basis. They are susceptible to various psychological, emotional and social
anguishes in such situations, running from the fear of being neglected by local
community and concerns about well being and their family safety who has been
waiting at their native places.
Rights of Migrant labourers amid COVID 19
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused serious threat in the society as all the health
systems of affected countries have been collapsed. This is in transgression of
the basic right to health to the citizens. Further, the vaccine has not
developed yet and a large number of people are dying. The government has had no
solution till now except imposing lockdown rules for the citizens and
encouraging them for social distancing to curb the spread of disease.
vulnerable groups in the society are mostly affected due to this pandemic in the
society especially migrant labourers. The rights of these migrant labourers are
also affecting and there are various cases of gross human rights violations
across the world.
Various human rights activists and associations working for the welfare of
migrant workers have warned about the impact of the pandemic on the migrant
workers as they are more vulnerable, due to lockdown and containment conditions,
inadequate facilities, lack of sanitization and limited health care services.
The government and Judiciary failed to protect the rights of the migrant workers
amid COVID-19. There are a lot of difficulties facing migrant workers due to
the lack of support from the government in the presence of Indian Judiciary.
There are certain rights available to migrant workers which are grossly violated
during the pandemic because of the lack of policies of the government.
judiciary must have taken suo moto cognizance of the issue and win over the
hearts of the people by taking proactive measures and effective decisions to
provide relief majors to the migrant labourers.Human rights of the migrant
workers are violated due to the poor administrative system. These rights include
the right to proper health mechanisms, safe working conditions, less
restrictions on movement from one place to another and other basic amenities of
life. But these rights of the migrant workers are grossly violated and the
government is not taking enough care of stranded migrant workers.
There are various labour laws which direct the state and central government to
provide adequate facilities to the migrant workers at the time of crisis. Social
Security and Welfare in society specifically of unorganized workers is taken
care by The Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008. This Act specifically
formulated to provide adequate reliefs and needs of the unorganised sector
This act mandates the state government to provide:
- life and disability cover
- health and maternity benefits
- protection of old age
- and other benefits provided by the central government
The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and conditions of
service) Act, 1979 was formulated to protect the human rights of the migrant
workers at the time of crisis. But in the pandemic, the state as well as central
government failed to provide adequate relief to the stranded migrant workers and
grossly violated their basic human rights enshrined under the Constitution of
India. The priority of the government should be that to provide basic health and
sanitation facilities to the migrant workers during the pandemic and they should
be received back home in a safe and dignified manner.
Threats to Migrant workers amid COVID-19
The lack of administrative support from the Government of different states leads
to difficulties for the migrant workers amid COVID-19. The government has a
different view to the situation and causes a lot of harshness amongst the life
of migrant labourers. Increase in the violence towards the migrant labourers has
caused serious trouble for them to reach their homes. There are various cases of
police repressions towards them in the cities they work within.
The conditions of migrant workers are miserable during the pandemic as they are
unable to reach their homes due to the lack of responsiveness from the
authorities. The serious threat to the migrant workers is lack of basic health
facilities, lack of sanitization, lack of resources etc. during the pandemic
which worsen the situation in the present scenario. Further, due to lack of
financial and administrative support they are unable to reach their homes
safely. Thus, this creates a serious threat to the present conditions of migrant
labourers during the pandemic which should be protected by the government and
The challenges faced by the migrant workers are miserable as they are surviving
in poor living conditions during the pandemic. There is a lot of risk present in
their source and destination areas. The contribution made by migrant workers is
enormous in building the economy of a nation but in return, they are receiving
lack of well-being and social security from the authorities. There is a need for
immediate solutions to prevent and protect the rights of migrant workers during
the pandemic. The Government should make necessary arrangements to provide a
safe journey to reach their homes. The authorities should work for the
well-being and social security of migrant workers.
The government must formulate effective policies which cater the needs of
migrant workers in the pandemic. The policies of the government can play a vital
role in ensuring safe and dignified migration to the workers. There should be
decent living conditions provided to the migrant workers in the pandemic. It is
the duty of the state to protect the rights of migrant workers during the
pandemic and uphold the sovereignty and integrity of the Constitution of India.
Award Winning Article is Written By:†Ms.Shraddha Sharma
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