#Lockdown: 42% Migrant Construction Workers Have No Ration Left; 83% Not Sure Of Getting Work

#Lockdown: 42% Migrant Construction Workers Have No Ration Left For The Day; 83% Not Sure Of Getting Work In Future [Survey]
Lockdown: 42% Migrant Construction Workers Have No Ration Left For The Day; 83% Not Sure Of Getting Work In Future [Survey]

The deadly Covid-19 has not only brought an immediate shutdown throughout the nation but also heavy lay-offs and major unemployment, especially for the daily wage earners.

A survey of 3,196 migrant construction workers whose livelihood has been disrupted after the announcement of the 21-day lockdown paints a dismal picture of migrant lives.

According to the survey, 92.5% of labourers have already lost work ranging from one week to three weeks.

Major Highlights of the Survey

The non-governmental organisation Jan Sahas has some important conclusions from its telephonic survey of workers from North and Central India.

  • 42% of the workers mentioned that they had no ration left even for the day, let alone for the duration of the lockdown.
  • The survey also found that if the lockdown continued beyond 21 days, 66% labourers mentioned that they will not be able to manage their household expenses beyond a week.
  • 1/3 respondents said that they were still stuck in destination cities due to the lockdown with little or no access to food, water and money.
  • 31% workers admitted to have loans and shall find it difficult to repay it without employment.

 The highest proportions of the loans were from money-lenders, nearly three times more than who have taken loans from banks. 

More than 79% of those who have loans fear not being able to pay them back in the near future.

 Detailed Highlights from the Survey

On March 24, 2020, the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment issued a directive advising state governments and Union Territories to transfer funds to the accounts of construction labourers.

The Survey found that 94% of these workers do not have the Building and Construction Workers identity card, which rules out the possibility of availing any of the benefits that the State has declared from its Rs 32,000 crore BOCW fund.

  • About 83% migrant workers are worried of not being able to find work after the shutdown.
  • 55% of the workers earned between Rs 200-400 per day to support an average family size of four persons, while another 39 per cent earned between Rs 400-600 per day. 
  • This means that a majority of these labourers are underpaid as the minimum wages act, where the prescribed minimum wages for Delhi are Rs 692, Rs 629 and Rs 571 for skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers, respectively.
  • The construction sector contributes to around 9% of the country’s GDP and employs the highest number of migrant workers across India with 55 million daily-wagers.
  • Each year, an estimated nine million workers move from rural areas to urban cities in search of work within construction sites and factories.

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