21 Days and Counting: COVID-19 Lockdown, Migrant Workers, and the Inadequacy of Welfare Measures in India

This is an action research report by the Stranded Workers Action Network (a group of volunteers), who run a helpline and have been involved in delivering cash and food relief to stranded migrants since 27th March 2020. SWAN has now grown to 73 volunteers who have interacted with 640 groups of stranded workers adding up to a total of 11,159.


- 50% of workers had rations left for less than 1 day - 96% had not received rations from the government and 70% had not received any cooked food. - 78% of people have less than Rs 300 left with them - 89% have not been paid by their employers at all during the lockdown - 44% of the calls received were “SOS” with no money or rations left or had skipped previous meal Recommendations include: - Double the PDS ration for 3 months (April, May, June) and provide it free in advance through doorstep delivery along with cooking oil, pulses, salt, masala, sanitary pads and soap to be distributed in advance to all - Home delivery of rations and other basic necessities including medicines, as well as cooked food packets by volunteers who could be paid minimum wages for the period - Government should ensure a minimum of two cooked meals at conveniently located sites at a minimum density of 70 feeding centres open 12 hours a day (to include Aanganwadis, government schools, government colleges, army areas and community halls) per 1 lakh people - Emergency cash relief of Rs 7,000 per month for 2 months to be given as cash (without biometric authentication) to each poor household/migrant worker - Minimum wages for 25 days per month to be released into Jan Dhan accounts of all urban residents for the period of the lockdown and 2 months following the end of the lockdown - Ensure immediate clearance of all pending liabilities of wages and materials under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)
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  • Pan-India


  • Research report


  • Migration
  • Social Protection