Lockdown, job loss impacted 40 mn migrant workers in India: World Bank

Topics Coronavirus | World Bank  | Lockdown

World Bank said that the coronavirus crisis has affected both international and internal migration in the South Asia region
The nationwide lockdown in India which started on March 24 to curb the spread of coronavirus has impacted nearly 40 million internal migrants, according to World Bank.

The lockdown in India has impacted the livelihoods of a large proportion of the country's nearly 40 million internal migrants. Around 5,000,060,000 moved from urban centers to rural areas of origin in the span of a few days, the bank said in a report released on Wednesday.

According to the report titled 'Covid-19 Crisis Through a Migration Lens' -- the magnitude of internal migration is about two-and-a-half times that of international migration.

Lockdowns, loss of employment, and social distancing prompted a chaotic and painful process of mass return for internal migrants in India and many countries in Latin America. Thus, the Covid-19 containment measures might have contributed to spreading the epidemic, the report said.

Governments need to address the challenges facing internal migrants by including them in health services and cash transfer and other social programmes, and protecting them from discrimination, it said.

World Bank said that the coronavirus crisis has affected both international and internal migration in the South Asia region.

As the early phases of the crisis unfolded, many international migrants, especially from the Gulf countries, returned to countries such as India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh until travel restrictions halted these flows.

Some migrants had to be evacuated by governments, such as those of China and Iran, it said. Before the coronavirus crisis, migrant outflows from the region were robust, the report said.

According to the bank, migration flows are likely to fall, but the stock of international migrants may not decrease immediately since migrants cannot return to their countries due to travel bans and disruption to transportation services.

World Bank remittance

Due to the global recession caused by Covid-19, remittances to India are likely to drop by 23 per cent from $83 billion last year to $64 billion this year.

"In India, remittances are projected to fall by about 23 per cent in 2020, to $64 billion a striking contrast with the growth of 5.5 percent and receipts of $83 billion seen in 2019, the World Bank said in a report on impact of Covid-19 on migration and remittances released on Wednesday.

Globally remittances are projected to decline sharply by about 20 per cent this year due to the economic crisis induced by the Covid-19 pandemic and shutdown.
The projected fall, which would be the sharpest decline in recent history, is largely due to a fall in the wages and employment of migrant workers, who tend to be more vulnerable to loss of employment and wages during an economic crisis in a host country, the bank said.

Remittance flows are expected to fall across all World Bank Group regions, most notably in Europe and Central Asia (27.5 per cent), followed by Sub-Saharan Africa (23.1 per cent), South Asia (22.1 per cent), the Middle East and North Africa (19.6 per cent), Latin America and the Caribbean (19.3 per cent), and East Asia and the Pacific (13 per cent).

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel