₹ 10,000 monthly income likely to reduce out-migration from Odisha


By GV News Desk

14 May 2020

A new study on post-lockdown coping strategies of migrant workers from Odisha. With a poverty ratio of 32.6%, migration for work has been a key survival strategy for millions of poor from rural Odisha. 

Gram Vikas and Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development spoke to 392 migrant workers from Odisha stranded in different states of South India. The study shows that significant external interventions are needed to ensure that migration-dependent households in rural Odisha do not experience a deepening of misery. 

The report shows that 93% of the migrants are men, and more than 50% are from the Scheduled Tribes, and nearly 20% are from the Scheduled Castes. About 20% of the migrant households did not have a ration card and slightly more than 10% were ultra poor. 

While most of the workers continue to be at their usual workplaces with access to food and shelter, 77% of the workers want to return to the places they are from. Seven weeks of lockdown has made them financially and psychologically drained. Nearly a quarter of the labourers shared that they did not have any money at all left with them. The median amount at disposal was ₹1900 only.  

Almost 75% of the labourers planned to return to their native places once the lockdown is over. Only about 20% of those who planned to come back are able to manage their expenses on their own once they return. 

Many of them will stay back in the villages if they can earn anywhere between ₹ 5000 to 10,000 a month. The migrants shared different coping strategies like banking on their own savings (22%), needing government support (12%), or depending on agriculture or finding work in the villages (11%). However, 17% said that they are uncertain about how they will survive. 

The study states that unless immediate measures are taken to support cash flow and livelihood security, migrant workers will be forced to liquidate their minimal assets or borrow from moneylenders. Such experience is likely to accentuate distress migration in the post-lockdown scenario. 

Although most of the labourers plan to return to their workplaces within three months from their arrival, their return depends on how COVID-19 unfolds in rural Odisha as well as in the destination states. 

Read a photo story on the report findings here: https://spark.adobe.com/page/R483KxXYwKUpd/

The full report here: https://bit.ly/3btVP8w

Migrant workers, from Kalahandi district in Odisha, at a construction site in Kerala.

Photograph from Gram Vikas archives.


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