Rural migrant labourers and their livelihood during COVID-19 in India


  • Dinesh Rajak School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.



COVID-19, livelihood, migrant labourer, rural citizens, stigma


The global crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to severe economic, social, and cultural impacts. In India, it has uncovered the harsh reality of the rural migrant labourers, by exposing the risks of their working and living conditions and the chronic homelessness they face in the city. The sudden enforcement of the lockdowns during the pandemic intensified the pre-existing vulnerabilities of the rural migrant labourer force living in the cities. Homeless and forced to return to their villages, the rural migrant workers and their families faced yet another form of marginalisation in their native hometowns as ‘vectors’ of the disease. 
In light of this context, this paper attempts to explore and understand the experience of migrant labourers during COVID-19 towards issues concerning their livelihood, health, social security, and their experiences of stigma. Furthermore, it also delves into finding the kinds of alternative strategies adopted by the State to resolve and care for these communities. This study critically looks into these aspects through primary empirically collected data, in Muda, a small remote village in Damoh district in the northern part of Madhya Pradesh, a socio-economically backward region of India, with the help of existing secondary information about the region and communities. The study identified that migrants faced significant food, shelter and security challenges at both their place of employment in the city as well as their hometown in the remote village of Muda.


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How to Cite

“Rural migrant labourers and their livelihood during COVID-19 in India” (2024) New Angle: Nepal journal of social science and public policy, 8(1), pp. 8–25. doi:10.53037/kdn57115.