English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

Laborers who stayed back in cities could get higher wages

Laborers who stayed back in cities could get higher wages

As an acute shortage of labor hits cities with thousands of migrant workers returning to their villages in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, those who have braved it in the last few weeks could see their pockets getting heavier. Sources said that despite demand crashing to abysmal levels, the need for workers—skilled as well as unskilled—is rising now as the economy is opening up.

Several promoters have already hiked up the wages of their labor force. “There are just a few workers left at my construction site and many of those who have stayed back are threatening to leave too. This can create a huge crisis situation. I have to increase the amount of money that I was paying them,” the site manager of a construction project in the national capital region of Delhi told IN.

A majority of the migrants hail from states such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. According the State Bank of India’s Ecowrap research paper, 90 per cent of the migrant laborers in the country come from these five states. The research estimated that about 58 lakh migrants have gone back to their home states since the nationwide lockdown was imposed.

The SBI report also underlined the need to build up a comprehensive database of migrant workers and formulate a policy for unorganized sector workers.

A skilled mason in a metropolis like Delhi or Mumbai until now would earn on an average Rs 700 to Rs 1,000 per day.

“However, the migrant workers who are still there in cities may get paid more as many have returned to the villages and many others may be waiting to return. Those who have already gone back are unlikely to return to the cities until next year when the situation could start showing improvements. So there will be a demand supply gap in the cities,” Pahle India Foundation’s senior fellow and head of research Nirupama Soundararajan said.

Sources said that in many cases migrant workers have been asked to work for extra hours and earn an additional sum.

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO) released last month, about 40 crore workers in the Indian’s informal sector could be pushed into poverty due to the corona-driven crisis and the subsequent lockdown..