Prepared for: Rotary Club Delhi South Metropolitan
COVID and the subsequent lockdown has brought about an anomalous situation in our public life. The lockdown was a completely alien element to our collective memory. It created a strange crises’ situation for which the planers and the administrators never had a prior escape plan to deal with. Long-standing moratorium on public gathering and productive activities sent shock waves through the economic structure of the country. Economic activities came to a dead stop. And remained so for a period of four months. The GDP growth rate of the quarter April to June of 2020 was 24% less than that of the same quarter of the previous year. The migrant labourers faced the worst part of this jolt. This research is a case study on the impact of COVID and the subsequent lockdown on the lives and the livelihoods of the migrant labourers. Not only the economic aspects but other social cultural dimensions were also incorporated in this study in order to capture a 360-degree view of the topic. That is why, without constricting to the economic indicators, this study has attempted to envisage a broader framework that incorporates different social and livelihood yardsticks. Under its Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self-Reliant India Mission), government has taken several initiatives boosting scope of private participation in many sectors. Some of the initiatives that would benefit migrants in urban areas include, but are not limited to, extension of an employment guarantee scheme in the urban areas that was done only in rural areas so far, converting government funded housing in the cities into Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) and incentivizing manufacturing units, industries, institutions, associations to build those houses, providing loan for small businesses, credit facilities for street vendors. Making all these initiatives successful requires concerted efforts in ensuring that it reaches to the people it is meant for.