With states beginning phased relaxations in lockdown restrictions and industrial and construction activity getting priority, there is dismal realisation of a migrant labour shortage. Following last year’s nationwide lockdown, factory owners and labour contractors faced a lot of trouble wooing workers back. The situation is now replaying.
With no social security or access to public distribution system — the One Nation One Card scheme is still at an incipient stage — it has been hard for employers to retain migrant workers. Because they are not part of votebanks, migrants are not a priority in the pandemic relief measures of state governments either.
Now with work available again, migrant labour will start returning back to cities. Here, emphasis must be laid on ensuring they get vaccinated. With lockdowns lifting, Covid cases are likely to start rising as people start working and travelling in close proximity. This was the situation even last year when the national lockdown was lifted. Currently, the vaccination strategy hasn’t factored in migrant workers. In the interest of safe reopening and preventing a third wave, the free vaccination schemes of the Centre and states mustn’t lose sight of the workers helming the restart of out-of-home economic activities.
Read also: Full list – Unlocking begins in some states, Covid curbs to remain in many others
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