The International Growth Centre (IGC), in collaboration with I4I, organised a Webinar on 'The impact of Covid-19 on informal and migrant workers in India', with Jean Drèze (Ranchi University), Farzana Afridi (Indian Statistical Institute), Purnima Menon (IFPRI), and Shahid Vaziralli (IGC), on 13 May 2020.
India’s nationwide lockdown amidst the Covid-19 pandemic has critically dislocated its migrant population. Lacking jobs and money, and with public transportation shut down, hundreds of thousands of migrants were forced to walk hundreds of miles back to their home villages – with some dying during the journey.
The central government imposed the lockdown and closed businesses when India reached around 500 cases of Covid-19. Local authorities followed with measures such as creating strict containment zones to close off hotspots, which left millions of migrant workers stranded. The country’s rapid response slowed down the spread of the disease, but also raised concerns about exacerbating existing inequalities and vulnerabilities.
As India has started to relax some lockdown restrictions, speakers discuss the impact of the Covid-19 virus and containment measures on the most vulnerable groups in India, and explore the social policy measures and employment opportunities that can protect informal and migrant workers from hunger and extreme poverty.