Migrants are not beggars but skilled, trained and experienced workers.
They work on machines in small/ micro one-man enterprises and businesses.
They have suffered due to lack of honest implementation of labour laws.
Indian politicians, economists, communists, socialists and all other political parties still pride in using the term “majdoor” (derogatively just as Chaiwala/doodhwala/policewala), instead of calling addressing them by their profession e.g. electricians, plumbers, mechanics, packers, transporters, shop executives ( they need to learn from foreign operators in Indian markets who treat their staff with some respect e.g. “delivery executive” rather than “ladka” or any “wala”- a variant of the Varna Vyavastha).
They were forced to migrate by incompetent governments in the states, who failed to use their services for economic development. Such states benefited from the money sent home by these workers.
When COVID-19 forced them to return home, those states turned cold as their money alone was welcome, not they.
Had they the right vision, they would have utilized the services of these skilled/trained and experienced workers by developing MSME industries, providing necessary facilities to start those businesses.
Instead, politicians only played dirty politics on the misery of the returning migrants.
It is some of these very majdoors who have made India proud by producing required number of face masks/PPE kits making India self-reliant largely.
Politicians quote figures of lost employment/jobs in tens of Crores.
The plight of migrant workers is a result of “under-payment”. Had they been paid the prescribed wages for their labour, their financial condition would have been better to survive temporary job loss.
They generally work 12 hours a day without a break. Indian economists consider it cheap labour even though it is crass exploitation. So, they are called just “majdoor”!
People in India don’t realize the value of work and workers contribution without which neither machines can run nor businesses nor even households in metros. The city folks, eating out in restaurants/hotels are so inconvenienced due to migration of the workers that many are surviving on bread/butter and not enough cooked food. Why? Because the household cook and other maid servants have migrated to their native place, feared more by their employers as possible carriers of Corona than the workers fearing contracting Corona! And cooking is considered a lowly activity, carried by the poor/illiterate/village folks coming to cities in search of employment. Many pride in claiming publicly that they don’t know cooking. Besides, professional and salaried class people find it rather impossible to cook two meals a day! And I have not yet revealed whether I am referring to the man or the woman of the house! Corona has created more than expectedly tolerable stress in the family due to the missing cook, especially in homes where there are also children to feed. No small problem by any standard. Only psychologists would explain this stress. Corona has lockdown people in their homes in megapolises with no possibility of leaving children to the care of others like grandparents or taking a short holiday tour to a resort or something or even a pilgrimage with old parents. When you can’t go out, eat out or cook , can you be happy? The eagerness with which women are waiting for the return of the cook and other maids/servants is a bit disconcerting. It can be imagined that the return of the servants will be the return of happiness to the harassed/stressed city women-, both salaried and housewives.
Yet we refuse to call them anything more than majdoor.
The politicians of all shades, who are shedding crocodile tears for the migrant majdoors have given them only slums with deplorable sanitation arrangements, schools, hospitals etc. in all these 73 years, something worse than what the Feudal Order had given them. We treat them like the British labour during the industrial revolution in England which gave birth to thinkers like Karl Marx.
Working in the informal/unorganized sector, they are not protected by labour laws like those in the organized sector.
That is how the macro and micro economists have planned for economic growth in India!
The employment potential of the informal sector is estimated to be 80%.
It means, migration of the labour/ workforce or majdoors is a loss more for the Indian Economy rather than the migrant workers.
The politicians have not provided these majdoors any support in terms of food or shelter even for a day but resorted to feigning concern for them.
They only sell liquor and opium to them so that they continue to work at less than lawful remuneration.
The most questionable role was that of the trade unions, which did not come forward to provide succour to these majdoors in distress in the current disruptive times brought about by COVID-19.
Trade Unions/ Leftists played petty politics in collusion with other family concerns (political party) though they survive on support of majdoors/ proletariat for big political rallies against the government or the employers.