Crisis within a Crisis: Domestic Migration in India: Recording of a Webinar

In this Webinar recording listen to Prof. Chinmay Tumbe tell us about the Hot spots of Migration in India. As an Economic Historian Chinmay is working on the Pandemic of 1918 and others. Listen to him tell us about the 1918 flu, its impact on the population in India and whether there are any similarities with the current pandemic in 2020.

India and most countries in the world are reeling under the impact of the corona virus, COVID19. According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), an estimated 122 million people lost their jobs in April alone in India and three-quarters of these were small traders and wage labourers, working mainly in the informal sector. A large proportion of these workers were perhaps migrants, migrating either within or across states of India. We always knew that there are a large number of migrants in our cities. In Gujarat, Surat in particular is seen as a city of migrants. However, this became apparent when the media started to report large scale migration of workers from the cities to their homes. There are permanent migrants who have lived in the city for long periods and are unlikely to leave the city. But our concern here in this time of crisis is with circular migration.

Circular migration is temporary and repeated and is generally for employment. It follows a similar pattern year after year, within the state and across states. Inter-state migration in India was estimated at 9 million (Economic Survey of India, 2017). This is most likely to be of the temporary variety. The Census of India 2011 estimated internal migration within the country at a total of 139 million. Of the total migrants, inter-state migration consisted of about 56 million in 2011, which is the focus of the media today. Obviously the number would be larger a decade later in 2020.

In 1918 there was a crisis situation due to the first world war. There were people returning from the war and travelling to their home towns. Today we are facing a crisis situation as the economy is already in a slowdown and the total lockdown forced thousands of migrants to lose their jobs and travel home. How is this crisis different from the earlier one? On the policies adopted, how did India contain the flu in 1918, and how are we doing it differently this time? Finally, listen to Chinmay on his views on the handling of the ‘Crisis within a Crisis’ in the current pandemic.

Enjoy the discussions at the Webinar here


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