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Study highlights the devastation wrought by the pandemic on migrant workers from Odisha


By GV News Desk

13 April 2020

On 24 March 2020, Government of India announced a nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease. It restricted the movement of a billion people and shut down the economy. The lockdown left millions of migrant labourers stranded, without jobs and unprepared to cope with the fallouts.

Gram Vikas and the Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development conducted a rapid assessment to understand the initial impact of the lockdown on migrant labourers from Kalahandi, Odisha, whose remittances play a pivotal role in the local economy. The study finds that closure of businesses due to the pandemic has left many of the migrant men without work.  

All the workers stranded at various destinations had places to stay, and 91% of those at their workplaces got two meals a day. But they worried about the dwindling cash, food stock and the duration of the lockdown. While their families, wives or aged parents, back in the village worried about their husbands or sons, and the absence of remittances that sustained the households and helped repay the loans.

Most of the workers were anxious about being infected, fearful that they would die and desperate to get back home with their loved ones.

The report states that alleviating acute poverty, indebtedness, malnutrition and starvation deaths among the migrant workers and their families need immediate, simultaneous measures to be taken.

The study recommends urgent actions to make sure that migrant workers have access to screening and healthcare services, nutritious food, and that the migrant workers re-enter work at the earliest.

Read a photostory on the report findings here: https://spark.adobe.com/page/gJvz5R45PecKi/

Read the full report here: https://bit.ly/2Z4y58u

Judhishtir Patel who returned from Kerala at a quarantine facility in his village in Kalahandi district in Odisha.

Photograph by Aravind A.R.


Gram Vikas began its COVID-19 response on 15 March 2020 along with the communities in our partner villages in Odisha and Jharkhand. While immediate relief activities continued, we expanded our efforts, early on, to plan for livelihood recovery factoring in the economic fall out of the pandemic on the rural poor communities.  LIVELIHOODS RECOVERY Many […]

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 […]

Gram Vikas' COVID-19 pandemic response work reached vulnerable rural poor with health awareness and screening, survival kits for families of daily wage workers, support for livelihood security and local government actions; and ensuring the wellbeing of stranded migrant workers from Odisha.