A large number of migrant workers who had moved back to their native states during the coronavirus-induced lockdown are now set to return to the cities looking for livelihood opportunities as their income has declined, according to a survey.
The Mint reported on the study conducted by a team of retired statistics, economic service officers and academicians which pointed out that the income of the reverse migrants witnessed a staggering drop of 85%. In certain states including Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh (UP), it dropped as low as 94%.
It further added that at least 70% of the reverse migrants are ready to move back to cities for work; and in UP, Jharkhand this percentage stands above 90%.
The survey on the impact of the pandemic on reverse migrants takes into account data from six states including UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh which showed that salaried/regular wage migrants were the worst sufferers, while casual labourers in the non-agricultural sector were the least affected.
Lack of income opportunities in villages, job offers from past employers with same or with an increase in wages (33%) and hope of getting a job (41%) have been cited as some of the primary reasons behind the willingness of these migrant labourers to relocate to cities despite the on-going virus outbreak.
It stated that the migrants witnessed 85% decline in income at their native places when compared with their previous workplace. Meanwhile, the salaried earners saw a bigger setback, with income falling by over 90%. In Odisha, it declined by 93%, while in UP it dropped down to an astounding 100%.
Highlighting about the willingness of migrants to return to urban areas, the survey said, while nearly 68% are ready to return cumulatively, it's the UP (89.31%) and Jharkhand (92.31%) migrants who are willing to return most. West Bengal (35%) and Odisha (59%) migrants are most hesitant to come back.
According to the Labour Ministry, more than 10.4 million migrants had returned to their home states after the nationwide lockdown was imposed to keep a check on the COVID-19 outbreak. The highest number of returnees headed home to Uttar Pradesh (3.24 million) followed by Bihar (1.5 million) and Rajasthan (1.3 million).