To Leave or Not to Leave? Lockdown, Migrant Workers, and Their Journey Home

The Stranded Workers Action Network (SWAN) has published a third report, highlighting policy responses to migrant workers during the lockdown, factors behind reverse migration, and accounts of hardships faced during reverse migration.


- Following up on data collected in the previous SWAN reports, 76% of people who called the SWAN helpline since May 15th had less than Rs. 300 left. 57% of people sent in an SOS call, with no food or rations left. - 67% of migrants were still stuck at their place of work, with only 33% having left - Lack of cash, food, and income makes migrants want to leave immediately. - 44% of those who left took buses, 39% Shramik trains, 11% took trucks, lorries and other modes of transports, and 6% made the journey on foot - 85% had to pay for their transport home. Combined with previous data about limited fund availability, it is likely that migrants borrowed money to finance their journey, without future income on the horizon - Difficulties using state organized transport (e.g. lack of clarity round train departure times, inoperative government portals - Hardships faced during the journey home include paying to fill travel forms, no prior information abour trains, issues around travel registration and shelter for migrants, poor facilities on trains especially access to food and water, no trains to smaller towns and certain locations, dynamic pricing of IRCTC tickets and no availability of Shramik train tickets, bribes paid for travel, unhelpful police, quarantine at end of journey
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