Labour out-migration and Covid-19 Pandemic in India: A case study of Murshidabad district of West Bengal
Keywords:migration, COVID-19, state boundary, economic motive, social network, distress
This article outlines the patterns of internal migration from Murshidabad district of West Bengal during the Covid-19 Pandemic. We found that seasonal/temporary male migration from the study area has been evolving continuously over time. More than half of the total migrants move within the state boundaries. The inter-state migrants are often destined to economically better off states than the study area. We have shown that landlessness, lack of jobs, low wages, decaying of traditional craftsmanship and household pressure are among the factors leading young males to migrate. These moves are motivated by jobs and income, and movers often shift from agricultural work to building and construction and petty businesses. Migrants and their families are almost exclusively dependent on domestic remittances to meet the household expenditures, repay loans and meet children’s educational expenses. Social networks, especially friends and relatives, are crucial in facilitating the migration process. Covid-19 Pandemic raised essential questions about the future of these vulnerable sections of the population as migration became difficult and remittances dropped significantly.
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