Sunday, August 1, 2021
HomeEditorialThe migrant issue is an elephant inside the room

The migrant issue is an elephant inside the room

Migrant Labours, Migrants, Migrants Workers, Maharashtra, Migrants on the Road, Daily Wagers, Lockdown, COVID-19, Coronavirus
Photo: Akshay Redij / Afternoon Voice

It seems that the Maharashtra Government is not realizing it. Thousands of migrants have taken to the streets across Mumbai. Economically and the commercially developed state has many challenges ahead. What we are not realizing today is all this growth of Mumbai is because of the efforts made by migrant workers. From taking part in construction work to selling vegetables and riding cars and autos is largely done by them. These are the same migrants today on the streets of the city majority who contribute to this development. Be it agriculture, factories, production units, logistics, constructions you will realize that this was the lot seen everywhere. It is the credit to their skills and hard work that these people are required in every state. Be it Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Assam, or any state. You will find these laborers everywhere. Now since they have gone back in masses and the general sentiment amongst them is that they might not earn well, but they would like to stay at their homes despite difficulties. What next when we are out of this Pandemic situation? How are we going to fill this gap? No thoughts on this so far.

Also forget the daily wage laborers, there is panic everywhere. Most of the service class working in different corporates and SMEs are migrants who have either majorly lost their jobs or are facing salary cuts. How they are going to recover and become the contributors in the tax system again of the states? Banks are calling such classes whomsoever is a consumer for either car loan or personal loan to do the profiling and check whether these credits will be recovered or not. Panic everywhere, in each sector, in every industry. At this moment government needs to look into the survival mode of people, two long months they are at home and struggling to earn one time meal, many have lost their jobs, small business is shut, beauty parlors, saloons to cooking classes like a small business but big contributors in the economy are totally collapsed. There are EMI’s, installments, rent, and school fees to many other expenses waiting to be paid. The middle class is at stake, with no help from the state government or Centre.

The lockdown has already disproportionately hurt marginalized communities due to loss of livelihood and lack of food, shelter, health, and other basic needs. The government does have a responsibility to protect the health and wellbeing of the population, but some of these steps have left tens of thousands of out-of-work migrant workers stranded, with rail and bus services shut down. The blanket closing of state borders has caused disruption in the supply of essential goods, leading to inflation and fear of shortages. Thousands of homeless people are in need of protection. Police actions to punish those violating orders have reportedly resulted in abuses against people in need. The government is facing an extraordinary challenge to protect over a billion densely packed people, but ramped-up efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in India need to include rights protections. Many police personals and doctors and hospital staff succumbed to COVID19. These front-line workers are not provided with basic safety measures, some doctors who made noise are either got arrested or admitted to the mental asylum. The government should ensure that those at heightened risk, including sanitation workers, community health staff, early childhood caregivers (Anganwadi workers), and people such as midday meal workers – often poorly paid public service officials – who are at the front lines during this crisis, should have been provided protective equipment, medical benefits, and timely wages. Government has no time to look at all these measures; they are busy with social media wars and credit scores.

Above all the lockdown period has caused about two-thirds of production loss — has wiped out around Rs 8 lakh crore. And if the curbs are stretched for 10 weeks, the economy might collapse. The states together could take a hit of Rs 2 lakh crore in the current financial year, while about 10 crore workers in the mining, construction, manufacturing, and services sectors could be rendered jobless. Taking into account the contribution of deferent sectors of the economy and the extent of the lockdown indicates that about 60-70% of the goods and services produced in the country or the GDP is getting lost. Roughly 8-9% of the GDP gets produced in a month on an average. Wholesale and retail trade, hotels, mining, construction sectors will be the worst hit. Agriculture, banking, finance, and power sectors will not be as acted. Farm businesses, essential goods, and services exempted from lockdown have soured less disruption and economic loss. Additionally, e-commerce, except those, which could not transition to work-from-home, and pharmaceutical businesses have also not soured much. These

Businesses are expected to bounce back fully are the lockdown has lied.

Sectors like construction, mining and small businesses dependent on migrant workers will face a supply crunch. The workers who have left cities will take time to come back, or they might not even return. There will be a problem of wages, which might move northward, migration has a completely different behavior. Lockdown continued for about 10 weeks; India’s economy would be completely ruined. Hence, those with the least risk should be allowed to function as soon as possible. The state governments’ revenues have soured massively. The Centre should release the held-up amount of approximately Rs 30,000 crore of GST compensation. Right now, I don’t see any ray of hope, but eventually, things should become breathable or else this would be never-ending loss to mankind and by all means.


(Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on feedback@afternoonvoice.com)

Dr Vaidehi Tamanhttp://www.vaidehisachin.com
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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