The challenges of rural-urban migration
Rural-urban migration can be defined as the process of movement of people from rural areas to cities. Migration indeed is a challenging process and therefore there have to be more or less major reasons behind migration that makes people leave their respective places and move into an all-new place. These reasons could be mainly economic, political, social and environmental. Out of these, the economic reason is the most prevailing because of the financial grievances they face in their respective rural areas. This makes them migrate to cities to find work or improve their career.
Second of all is social migration which happens when people move to cities for a better quality of life and healthy surrounding. The third major reason behind urban migration is- the environment which includes natural disasters such as flooding, drought etc. The urban migration pulls a number of people for employment, sanity, better healthcare and education, protection, technological and various other facilities and better opportunities for people. Thus, it explains that a large number of people move to urban areas for a reasonable number of pros mentioned above.
Talking about the impact of covid 19 on migration, it goes without saying that they were among those people who suffered the most. Immigrants are potentially in a more vulnerable position in the labour market due to their generally less stable employment conditions and lower seniority on the job. Indian migrant workers during the COVID-19 pandemic have faced multiple hardships. With factories and workplaces shut down due to the lockdown imposed in the country, millions of migrant workers had to deal with the loss of income, food shortages and uncertainty about their future. A number of migrants started moving to their respective home without any means of transport due to lockdown. The distance learning measures put children of immigrants at a disadvantage. Such children are also less likely than students with native-born parents to have access to a computer and an internet connection at home.
In response, the Central and State Governments took various measures to help them and later arranged transport for them. More than 300 migrant workers died due to the lockdown, with reasons ranging from starvation, suicides and exhaustion.
The Covid 19 also majorly affected the socio-economic structure of India. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth had been estimated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) at 6.2% in 2019–20. The International Monetary Fund, however, lowered India’s growth forecast by 1.3% points to 4.8% for 2019–20 and stated that India’s growth had slowed sharply. It is self-evident, therefore, that an economy already affected by slow growth in the previous fiscal year would be severely affected by the lockdown as a result of the pandemic. The Small and Medium Enterprises market ratings project that the nationwide lockdown is expected to incur losses of over $4.5 billion (₹ 35,000 crores) every day during the lockdown. The healthcare sector, the fourth-largest employer in the country, and specifically the private sector which provides nearly 80% of out-patient care and about 60% of in-patient care is currently facing 90% losses due to decreases in out-patient attendance, elective surgeries and international patients.
During the current pandemic, the economic downturn has greatly affected people from the lower socio-economic stratum (SES). The distressing media visuals of migrant labourers going to their native places from the cities on foot during the lockdown has been critically debated. Remittance of money to the home country, which many migrant Indian workers popularly do, is another way of poverty reduction, economic development and increase in GDP.
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