The Impact of COVID-19 on Migrant Workers & Environment Change in India

Dr. Aradhana Kumari
13 min readJun 30, 2020



The unfolding coronavirus pandemic is a very much global issue, with nearly every country within the globe affected. But, the effect is affecting individual countries in different ways. April 2020 India has reported the large number of respondents who stated that sales decrease would be critically 70%. That is seriously affecting the garment, footwear, construction, and agriculture sectors. The problem of migrant people may not be completely unique to India, but the sheer scale — there are more than 40 million migrant laborers throughout the country. — makes it tough to offer relief to everyone Must move from villages to paintings inside the towns as domestic helpers, drivers and gardeners, or as daily-wagers on production sites, building department shops, flyovers and homes, or as street vendors. Because of the precarious nature of labor jobs in India, many daily laborers, who are often migrants, lost their livelihood due to lockdown. This has created problems which include starvation, separation from the relatives, and no alternative kinds of employment (Al Jazeera 2020). The inter-country migrant workforce represents the bottom paying and most insecure jobs, in key sectors along with production, hospitality, textiles, production, transportation, offerings, and home paintings (BBC 2020). Nowadays, the important issue is how to save the human rights & dignity of migrant workers, The issues of migrant workers have to end up very essential in lots of developing countries in the world. The countrywide commission on Rural Labour in India (NCRL,1991) estimates greater than 10 million circular migrants in the rural areas alone. Those encompass an expected 4.5 million interstate migrants and 6 million inter-state migrants in India. One of the reasons behind the Human Rights Violation of state Migrants people in India are political and monetary.

Human Rights Violation


Covid-19 pandemic has broken the health, social and financial structure of the entire world. Covid-19 pandemic is one of the worst going on inside the records of mankind. Authorities of every country, Looking to control the pandemic by implementing numerous measures, along with lockdown and subject of social distancing. In India, due to the population, exclusive profits businesses, and the social behavior of human beings, the extended lockdown has made an extreme impact on the way of life. Every day wage earners, migrant workers are the severe sufferers. Extended lockdowns exhaust their handful savings forcing them to begin their journey to the homeland. Suffering for day by day bread and butter, the unavailability of shipping centers worsens their adventure. This assessment highlights the issues associated with health, monetary, and social challenges faced by migrant employees for the duration of the extended lockdown, strategies adopted by using principal and country Governments. The mass exodus of migrants from our towns has raised issues over a coming near monetary disaster: what will manifest to industries that might be dependent on them for exertions? Even as this articulation may be leveraged to bring interest to the plight of migrant workers, who have to date been rendered invisible in our country, such financial attention should eclipse the wishes of inclined organizations who aren’t ‘economically productive’. Children of migrant families are one such vulnerable group.

Long-lasting affected :

Indian migrant employees for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic have faced hardships. With factories and places of work shut down due to the lockdown imposed in the country. A huge majority of migrant family’s hail from arid reasons of the country, in which agriculture is unviable, particularly in the summertime. Below such occasions, nutritional insecurity is probably to be the on the spot danger within the villages for migrants and their families. Nutritional insecurity is known to motivate bad fitness influences inside the short as well as long term. The Anganwadi centers in villages need to expand their offerings to all households, even the ones who have no longer registered because they migrated. Further, states should ensure the continuance of other health services such as immunization and maternal healthcare desires to all families. The COVID-19 pandemic is an extraordinary emergency, which calls for tremendous measures to safeguard the interests of children.


Many migrants also died because of the lockdown, with reasons ranging from hunger, suicides, exhaustion, road and rail injuries, police brutality, and denial of timely medical care. Maximum migrants within the country originate from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, observed by means of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The towns of Mumbai and Delhi attract the highest number of migrants. While most men migrate for work, ladies migrate due to marriage Migrant people majorly incorporate daily-salary workers operating inside the manufacturing and creation industries. They may be regularly denied good enough healthcare, nutrients, housing, and sanitation in view of a lot of the work in the casual quarter. They’re by and large from rural areas but stay in towns for work for most of the year. Many have no savings and lived in factory dormitories, which had been closed because of the lockdown. Moreover, there has been no vital registry of migrant people, notwithstanding the existence of the Inter-state Migrant Workmen Act, 1979. Maharashtra has the largest number of migrants, The State authorities imposed a lockdown on 20 March in Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, the Mumbai Metropolitan place, and Nagpur, leaving the migrant employees with no work. Thousands gathered on the train termini and bus stations, they searched for transport to reach their hometowns. With the nationwide lockdown, all transport facilities had been closed suddenly.

Shortage of Food:

According to Indian authorities reports, there was sufficient meals grain stocked up within the FCI godowns to feed the poor for at least a year-and-a-half of. While the scheme allowed migrant employees to retrieve food grains for free anywhere across the country, only a few had been aware of the scheme of ONE NATION ONE RATION CARD System. In addition to this, the scheme also required biometric authentication, which became discontinued because of fears of spreading the virus through fingerprint sensors. Telangana, many couldn’t avail of the ration because of a lack of Aadhaar cards. As such many were lacking food and money during the lockdown.

Moving one place to another:

Without a work and no money, and lockdown regulations placing a prevent to the public moving, lots of migrant people have been visible strolling or bicycling hundreds of kilometers (or even greater than 1000 kilometers) to head again to their villages, some with their families. In that case, social distancing becomes no longer possible for these migrants given that they traveled collectively in groups. Many were arrested for violating the lockdown, after being stuck at inter-state borders, forests among states, and even on boats to pass rivers. Some of the migrants died of exhaustion. Others died in injuries on the roads after walking or hiding in vehicles. Later in May, in spite of the launching of special trains and buses via the government, the migrant people were selected to either travel together in a large number of groups inside the shipment cubicles of trucks and boxes, or travel by way of foot. They did not now wait or their flip to board the government-organized transport, in particular, because of starvation and at last they felt to go back to their hometown and start FARMING or small JOB under MGNREGA.

Migrant Moving

Indian Government Initiatives

Arrangement of Transport:

As of 28 May, ninety-one lakh migrants had traveled back domestic in government-organized transport centers. But, according to the Stranded worker action network (SWAN), migrants have been burdened about the exact processes to sign up themselves for journey. Additionally, many nation registration portals have been both in English or the neighborhood language of the states they lived in, which very few migrants could understand. Similarly, the general loss of statistics from the authorities to the migrants had resulted in them paying big money to check-in themselves.

Special Train:

On 1st May the central Government authorized the Indian Railways to release “Shramik special” trains for the migrant employees and others stranded. On 3rd May additionally, the Ministry of Home Affairs mildly reprimanded the national governments for hurriedly inquiring for trains to transport migrants, pointing out that the trains were commonly specially meant for individuals who had been stranded due to the unexpected lockdown, and now not the migrants. Additionally, this provider became not unfastened, with additional prices over the normal fares. The critical government then faced complaints from the opposition, with the Indian national Congress promising to sponsor the tickets of the migrants on 4th May additionally. The government then introduced that the Railways might offer an 85% subsidy on the train fares, with the country government investment the last 15%. However, the migrants had been nevertheless pressured to pay an undisclosed amount in some instances. The critical government first of all declined to share the information regarding this with the ideally suited supreme court but later showed that it turned into no longer purchasing all of anyone’s fare. Additionally, the central government’s directives concerning which states need to pay for the migrants’ travel resulted in disagreement among Maharashtra and different states. Similarly, migrants faced many problems while traveling from trains, Many mentioned having no meals and water organized for them while they traveled. 50% of the coaches transformed into COVID-19 care facilities were used for these trains. As in keeping with a document given with the Indian Railways on 23rd May, migrant workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh comprised 80% of the train travelers. Additionally, it predicted that 36 lakh migrants might be traveling inside the 10 days after the document. 4,277 Shramik unique trains had transported about 60 lakh people, as of 12 June.

Quarantine facility:

Many states said excessive numbers of positive cases of COVID-19 among the migrants returning home as lockdown restrictions eased. State governments opened heaps of quarantine centers to residence them, with a few states enforcing mandatory institutional quarantine. States also imposed strict measures for migrants to comply with, both at the same time as leaving or after getting into national borders.

Death :

Because of the lockdown, more than 300 hundred deaths had been reported until 5th May, with reasons ranging from hunger, suicides, exhaustion, street and rail accidents, police brutality, and denial of well-timed hospital treatment. The various reported deaths, maximum, have been among the marginalized migrants and people. 80 died while visiting domestic on the special trains, within the one month on account of their launch. Considerably, on 8th May additionally, a freight train killed 16 migrants who had stopped to rest on railway tracks close to Aurangabad in Maharashtra. On 14 might also, 8 migrant employees were killed and almost 55 injured whilst the truck they were in collided with a bus near Guna, Madhya Pradesh. On sixteen may 24 migrant people had been killed and lots of extra were injured whilst a trailer carrying migrants (along with sacks of lime) rammed right into a stationary truck, also sporting migrants, in Auraiya district of Uttar Pradesh. Consistent with facts accumulated via SaveLIFE Foundation, an NGO working in Road Safety, 198 migrant workers were killed in road accidents, as of 2nd June.

COVID-19 and Indian Environment

The global disruption as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to several consequences on the surroundings and the weather. The considerable decline in deliberate journey has brought on many areas to revel in a big drop in air pollutants. The arena has seen that wealthy economies that are behind schedule in accepting the problems, failed miserably. On the other hand, countries locations that had been least suffering from COVID-19, proactively usual trouble and followed this method. Based on this method, are we able to in India clear up one of the country’s critical problems, environmental pollution?

The primary question is, have we accepted the problem?

Every year, 10 million people die of air, water, or land pollutants. Every year, nearly 1.2 million humans die due to air pollutants alone. In Delhi and the national capital area (NCR) itself, millions are affected. It’s also well-established that air pollution is a silent killer that affects our lungs and causes serious fitness issues, particularly, within the elderly and kids. Nonetheless, we haven’t regularly encountered the problem. You will imagine the enormity and horror of the situation given the fact that 15 out of the world 20 top most polluted cities are placed in India and there are a massive number of Indian cities that do not meet the arena health company air satisfactory requirements. Don’t forget, pollution goes to come back in a mile’s worse shape if we ignore the investment required for cleansing our air, water, and land. After COVID-19, we want to remember that a growing economic system desires to admire the sporting potential of nature. By ignoring that, we have already made our cities unliveable with excessive pollutants and population, which make us in addition vulnerable at some point in COVID-19-like pandemics. We’re status on the threshold of numerous environmental problems.

Lack of environmental plans in increasing our economy is already killing millions and it is going to come back with much worse form unless its seriousness is regularly occurring and communicated.


It’s assumed that due to the lockdown, the drainage of business waste into the river water has stopped and brought a great trade inside the water first-rate. The supply in addition delivered that “more remedy is required at the economic source factor and municipalities want to work in action.” With hope in our hearts to surpass the tough instances, we shall move to a destiny of delicate life-style alternatives to maintain mom Nature and hope to be working cumulatively to repair our planet earth from the destruction that has been caused over the numerous years.

Important Note:

The tangible enhancements in nature have made us trust that the Earth may be saved. It has made us see that our actions can thoroughly affect the Earth’s sustainability. So, try to save our earth and planet to breathe the quality of air with quality of lifestyle.

India Gate Delhi


Lots of migrants have when you consider protests across the country, or motives starting from demanding transport back home, first-class food served, now not being allowed to cross the border, and against authorities’ directives preventing them to stroll home. A number of the protests grew to become violent. In response, the ILO expressed a “deep challenge” to PM Modi and requested him to coach the relevant and country governments to uphold commitments (closer to exertion laws) made by using India. Some politicians criticized the crucial government for no longer focusing sufficiently on migrant workers.

Finally, and this is applicable to migrants everywhere in the international, migrants are regularly issued to discrimination in many components of the arena, even in regular circumstances. With the contemporary worry of contagion, societies aren’t very welcoming of strangers, migrants and foreigners. The ones transferring from one town to another are held in worry that they are probably come with the virus. Whatever the motive or foundation, the incidence of COVID-19 has emphasized to im-prove the together-affective connection between human beings and nature. At this point in time, it’s imperative to govern the source of the ailment, reduce the transmission path, and use the present pills & way to govern the progress of the disorder proactively. Like all of the preceding disasters on this planet, allow all to be optimistic enough that humans will simply win over the pandemic in due course of time, but they must recognize the limits to which they can thrust nature, earlier than it is too late.


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Dr. Aradhana Kumari