Amid absence of skilled employment in villages, migrant workers who had left for home during coronavirus lockdown are returning to cities, a survey said. Nearly two-third of migrant workers have either returned to cities or wish to do so, said the survey of 4,835 households across 11 states in 48 districts in Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Rajasthan and Tripura. The study was conducted in the period of June 24 to July 8.
According to the survey, while 29 per cent of migrants, who had left for villages during coronavirus lockdown, are now back in cities, 45 per cent want to do the same. The survey is a collaborative study by the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India), Action for Social Advancement, Grameen Sahara, i-Saksham, PRADAN, SAATHI-UP, SeSTA, Seva Mandir and Transform Rural India Foundation. "Absence of skilled employment in villages is reflected in the fact that nearly 2/3rd of returned migrants have either migrated again or wish to do so," it added.
"More than one-fourth of the migrant workers are still searching for work in villages," the study added. It also found that one in 4 households is thinking of taking their child out of school (24 per cent). "Though distress is still considerable, structural changes are not yet visible and the health risk of COVID-19 in rural India is rising," the study warned.
The survey also showed that 43 per cent of households still reported reduction in meals, while 55 per cent said they have reduced the meal items. The study found that about 6 per cent of households have mortgaged household items, while 15 per cent sold their livestock to tackle the financial distress.(With agency inputs)