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The Migrant Crisis: Ideas for their Future


This is my 3rd blog relating to Migrants. The first was: Who is in charge of Migrants? The simple answer, sadly, “No one”.

My second blog was focused on “A Way Forward to 100 million jobs” because millions of Migrants having gone home, need a “living” for themselves and their families.

This Blog is trying to think through HOW to go forward.

First, there seems to be no accurate data on the number of Migrant Workers, just counting all those who have gone, or going home to their villages.

Second, the States also do not have a count of the number of Migrant Workers who have returned to their States. But, the data will be easier to collect if we approach the task bottom-up. Go District by District and compute the numbers.

Third, the occupation, experience, skill, non-skill profile is also not known at this stage. Again, with a bottom-up approach, District-wise information will evolve.

Fourth, who will put all this data together? Ideally, NGOs working with the District Collectors. And, this data is important because we have to address a medium to long term challenge. This is not only a short-term relief agenda.

Fifth, this is a major opportunity to alter the Indian development and growth process by creating a decentralized model, developing villages and small towns and relieving the pressure on, and congestion in, urban slums. If this approach works, urban slums will be “history”.

Sixth, some States have much larger numbers of returned Migrants than others. These will need greater attention by NGOs and volunteers to address the suffering and pain of Migrants and their families. There are enough able and willing NGOs to do the work.

Seventh, the self-employment generation model, covered in my second blog, can start soon. It gives dignity and self-esteem to people, as also income and jobs.

Eighth, in each District, the social infrastructure of primary education needs to be strengthened. PRATHAM is doing outstanding work in Primary Education in 11000 villages and urban slums. PRATHAM must be supported to extend their reach.

Ninth, as far as I know, there is no equivalent of Pratham in health but there are Telemedicine programs existing in the country. These need to be expanded rapidly so that healthcare of some quality is available in the rural areas.

Tenth, Technology will play a crucial role in ensuring Decentralised Development and true Rural Development. Telecom in particular. And, the Internet, with enhanced bandwidth so that villages are fully covered. And, with these, basic laptops , tablets or I-pads to flood the rural areas with low prices. A great opportunity for Made in India.

These are some preliminary thoughts. In the ideal situation, Work from Home (WFH) will also exist soon in the Rural areas of India. It will not only be the preserve of the rich and comfortable.

The Migrants crisis today can be making of a truly New India tomorrow.

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©2020 by Tarun Das and Ishan Roy.