Condition of Migrant Labourers during COVID-19
A Webinar on the topic‘Condition of Migrant Labourers during COVID-19’ was conducted by the Maharishi Law School (MLS), Maharishi University of Information Technology, Noida on 10th October, 2020. The Chief speaker on the topic was Prof. (Dr.) S.C. Srivastava. Prof. Srivastava is a member of the Labour Law Committee of the Government of India. He is also the General Secretary of the National Labour Law Association and formerly, he has graced the post of Chairman and Dean of the Department of Law, Kurukshetra University, Haryana. The Webinar was moderated by Prof. (Dr.) K. B. Asthana of the Maharishi Law School, Maharishi University of Information Technology, Noida.
The Webinar got a resounding response by over one hundred and eighty participants registering for the same including academicians, advocates, law students and corporate executives among others.
Dean Academics of the University, Prof. Ajay Kumar too addressed the virtual gathering with his insights. The webinar also had a presentation on the topic by Mr. Padmesh Kataria, Assistant Professor at Maharishi Law School.
The speakers gave in depth insight of the situation and explained how the migrants began fleeing the cities out of fear of COVID-19 infection after the government announcement of lockdown. They left on foot due to transport lockdown. As the period of lockdown kept increasing, migrants preferred to leave for rural homes because they lacked the economic means to support themselves and self-isolate in urban areas. The initial government response to prevent migrant movement towards their homes was informed by the fear that they would carry the contagious coronavirus to their hometowns and villages leading to community transmission of the COVID-19. Thus, migrants were not allowed to leave the city.
When some of the migrants managed to reach their villages/hometowns in extreme harsh conditions, walking for hundreds of kilometers, they were placed under home quarantine or put in quarantine centers under deplorable conditions.
The speakers talked about the conditions that followed and compared it with the international situation as well. Professor Srivastava elaborated upon the Indian Laws related to the migrant labourers and explained their applicability in the present situation..
The speakers presented the reports and data published by International Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations including data on the prevailing situation leading to unemployment in the country.
The speakers stressed upon the issue that has brought the society to a situationthat underscore not just shortcomings of emergency measures and unpreparedness of local administration but also the challenges of providing relief to millions of unprotected informal workers with no means of subsistence, no homes to practise distancing and receiving confusing information and communication about the ongoing situation, as the COVID-19 lockdown was extended with no end date in sight.
The session ended with a vote of thanks by Professor (Dr.) K.B. Asthana.
All participants were given e-certificates.