As per Census 2011, India has 454 million migrants - this accounts for 37% of the country’s population. However, according to Mukta Naik, an architect and urban planner at the Centre for Policy Research, only 12% move interstate while the majority move within states. She says that about 54 districts in India account for 50% of the interstate out-migration.
Mukta Naik focuses her work on understanding the links between Internal Migration and Urbanization in the Indian context and is also currently a PhD candidate at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Erasmus University, Rotterdam.
In this interview she says that the COVID-19 crisis revealed the problems of the working classes overall. Migrants became visible because they started walking, violated the lockdown and upset the system. To help the migrant workers, Delhi set up temporary ration coupons, she says. Applicants had to register online and then were told where and when to collect their rations - 3.8 million households benefited from this scheme. Haryana also started an emergency ration system and conducted localised surveys in places where migrants are concentrated.
Watch the full interview with Mukta Naik as she discusses the migrant worker issues in India as well as makes policy and governance recommendations:
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