Future Generali

Will the migrated labour get back to urban India post COVID-19?

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Rakesh Wadhwa:

Well there is a labor exodus which we have seen, like never before happening, due to this pandemic. One of the perspective is that it's going to be a reverse labour train, which basically means it's good for the rural economy and for agriculture because labor is moving there and hopefully they'll stay there and find ways to, stay afloat and add to the economy. And the other perspective is it's just a matter of time where you have, all of them move back to the towns and the cities. What's your perspective of what's happening in this situation and how do you see this going for the rural India?

 

Bindu Ananth:

There is certainly not enough opportunity, employment or entrepreneurship, to accommodate all of the exodus. It's a matter of time before there is, movement back. because at the end of the day, urbanization migration has a very economic response. In the last four months, how people are completely willing to throw you under the bus, but at the end of the day, to make that journey because it's your ticket to a better life for yourself and your family. There is a certain economic pragmatism, that underpins the decision to migrate, which is, I think is worth appreciating because it's a hard life. People won't do it. if they had an option to have a good life in the village. Having said that, villages are not dead economic zones. We find in our own work because we are focused with a financial services provider, that there are plenty of options, high return opportunities, for example, in non-farm sector. Agriculture of course continues to be dominant. but there is a fair bit of diversity into processing and services.

We find that a lot of the additional wealth that gets created for our customers, because at least one member of the household, makes it transition to non-farm work. Either Job or self employed. But at the end of the day, I don't think, that can absorb all of the labor that's returned. There will be a reverse movement and it's not the worst thing because also the links is important to appreciate. For example, Many many households deliberately have one member who's a migrant, and that's also way of managing risk.

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