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Intl Webinar: Migration & Reverse Migration in Age of Covid19 - Issues, Challenges, Opportunities

Report of International Webinar organised on June 20-21 by Academics4Nation and Editorial India

An international webinar was organised through video conferencing on the topic “Migration & Reverse Migration in the Age of Covid-19: Issues, Challenges & Opportunities'' on 20-21 June 2020 under the banner of Academics4Nation and Editorial India.

The concept note with sub-themes was released on 30 May 2020 and the last date for abstract was 10 June 2020. More than 450 abstracts were received out of which 150 were called for paper presentations and finally more than 100 presentations took place in 12 parallel sessions. All the papers presented in the webinar will be published in UGC listed Hindi journal and English journal published by Editorial India. Selected articles will also be published in the form of an edited book.

The seminar saw six plenary sessions, including the inaugural session, where senior academics and scholars presented their views on different aspects of the issue of migration and reverse migration in the age of Covid-19.

The concept note of the seminar was widely circulated. It presented and anchored the topic in contemporary scenario stating that migration has been a key element of human history since prehistoric times. In modern sovereign states, voluntary migration is recognised as a basic right of citizens in search of a better life, livelihood and opportunities. Migrants comprise those who are skilled and educated and have the resources to establish themselves in new territories and also those who are poor or unskilled and able to find only low wage employment. This also includes those who migrate within the country as well as outside it. Migrants who are poor or unskilled are the first ones to be affected in the face of a crisis. This has also been the case during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Corona virus which has forced the world to stand still in 2020, has brought many unforeseen problems in its wake. However, the biggest group affected by the pandemic in the worst way has been that of the poor migrants. The lockdown - necessitated due to Corona virus - posed the primary challenge of food and supplies for poor migrants who work on small salaries that carry them from one day to the next. With all employment coming to a grinding halt, they also were left with no money to pay house rents. Adding to this, the challenges related to health and living conditions, poor migrant workers across the country found it impossible to cope with the mounting challenges. Social organizations along with government agencies sprung into action to provide succor. However, factors such as severe lack of resources, misinformation, fear of pandemic resulted in desperate efforts to return home.

The sub-themes of the seminar were: Understanding migration; Theories of migration; Migration as an economic Issues; Migration as a social Issue; Migration as a political Issue; Migration as an opportunity; Reverse migration; Covid crisis and migration; Migration across borders; Case studies of migration and reverse migration.

Day One: 20 June 2020

Inaugural Session: 10:30 am - 12.00 am

In this background the inaugural session started on 20 June at 10.30 am in the august presence of Professor Bhagwati Prasad Sharma, Vice-Chancellor, Gautam Buddha University, Greater Noida. He is a renowned economist and a proponent of self-reliant, decentralised and Swadeshi economics for the last three decades. The other distinguished scholar in the session was Dr Ashok Sharma who is with Coral Bell School of Asia-Pacific Affairs, Australian National University. Dr Sharma is also a Visiting Fellow at the University of New South Wales, Canberra at Australian Defence Force Academy; an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra; and Deputy Chair at New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Auckland. The inaugural session was chaired by Professor Kumar Ratnam who is a scholar of Modern Indian History and teaches at Jivaji University, Gwalior. Currently, he is Member Secretary, Indian Council of Historical Research and Indian Council of Philosophical Research, New Delhi.

The convenor of the webinar Dr Swadesh Singh started the inaugural session by welcoming the panelists and talked about the background and concept of the webinar. He said that the cases of Covid-19 cases are increasing exponentially in big urban and industrial areas. In that week, one lakh cases had been registered in just eight days. He emphasised that migrant labourers have lost jobs and livelihood and are trying to cope with these challenges. People have returned to their places and a large chunk is not likely to return in the near future. This could be a big problem and opportunity both - something that only the coming days could tell. He said that the Government of India led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana and a package of Rs 20 lakh crore - the size of 10% of India’s GDP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also started a big employment scheme called Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan to provide support to migrants who have gone back to their villages. After giving the background of the webinar he handed over the proceedings to Professor Kumar Ratnam, Member Secretary, ICHR & ICPR, New Delhi who was the Chairperson of the inaugural session.

Prof Kumar Ratnam welcomed both the speakers and invited Prof Bhagwati Prasad Sharma to deliver keynote address.

Prof Bhgawati Sharma in his inaugural address said that India’s industrial output has reduced and the GDP is shrinking day by day. Due this, workers are losing jobs and going back to their native places. He said that jobs have to be found for them in their respective localities. The only silver lining in this crisis is that over 50% of population is still dependent on agriculture which is least affected by the present crisis. India has the largest arable land and if it can increase its irrigated land then it can grow more and feed more and more people. He said that India will have to utilize its local produce in better way. He advocated shift in outlook and promoting zero technology and low technology industries in rural areas which will help in food processing, more jobs and durability of the farmer’s product. Pointing out that the unemployment rate is highest among the graduates, he said that they can be trained for low technology industries and turned into entrepreneurs. He emphasised four things: Increasing irrigation potential; Making farmer a part of the food supply system by setting up village level enterprises and farm produce organizations; Maintaining value standard in this process so that surplus products can be exported; And, providing some sort of fiscal support to these activities.

Dr Ashok Sharma in his lecture talked about the geopolitics of Covid-19, its impact on supply chain market and high skilled and unskilled workers. He said that the virus started from China, traveled to Europe and USA and now the whole world is under the grip of this virus. He remarked that Covid-19 crisis has become a Black Swan moment for USA which they had not anticipated.

Prof Kumar Ratnam opened the house for discussion. In his chair remarks he summarized the addresses of Prof Bhagwati Prasad Sharma and Dr Ashok Sharma and said while huge challenges existed for migrants and for the country but these could be overcome by a government at the helm that is sensitive to people’s needs and can work from ground up.

Plenary Session One: 12:00 am - 1.30 am

Tripti Singh, Research Scholar, School Of Education, Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar, and intern with Academics4Nation moderated the first plenary session. She introduced the panelists and said that the COVID-19 pandemic situation has left a serious impact in the form of complete lockdowns, travel bans and social distancing. In this chain of events, nations are scrambling to repatriated thousands of workers across the globe calling for a serious debate and discussion on the issue. Hence, the theme of the webinar ‘Migration and Reverse Migration: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities’ becomes relevant. She handed over the proceedings to the Chair of the session, Prof. Shri Prakash Singh, Professor of Political Science in Delhi University, Delhi. He welcomed all the panelists and requested Prof Pralay Kanungo, DAAD Guest Professor, University of Heidelberg, Germany and Professor, Centre for Political Science, School of Social Science, JNU, New Delhi to speak. Prof Pralay Kanungo is currently a guest professor in South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg, Germany. He has been ICCR chair of contemporary India studies at Leiden University. He has been honorary professor at Australian Catholic University, Melbourne. He is also a visiting professor at Maison Des Sciences, Paris.

Professor Parlay Kanungo talked about the need to look at India from a vintage viewpoint. India has a tradition of displaying soft power. Migration is the responsibility of Central as well as State governments, he said. The government should take certain necessary steps at the right time to mitigate the issue. He said that we have to think in different dimensions to address the question of migration. There should be right changes in the labor laws at the right time and humanitarian approach should followed. Instead of bringing laws like ‘Medical treatment to only the residents of that particular state’, the governments should be thinking of integrating policies. When the countries all over the world have opened borders for each other - be it for education, employment, medical treatment, business, etc- the internal state borders should not be restricted.

Prof Shri Prakash Singh invited Prof Sheela Reddy, Ambedkar Chair in Social Justice, Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi to speak next. She has taught at Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. Her area of interest includes governance, public policy issues and international relations. She said there is a need to find out ways and means in making migrants a part of the inclusionary processes. Data on women is particularly weak, so there is an urgent need to look at underestimation of women in circular migration. Circular migration must be given recognition and in the country's development. A human-centred approach must be explored for holistic and comprehensive reforms by the Central and State governments.

The third panelist of the session was Dr Priaynka Dasgupta who is currently working as Divisional Chair, Applied Media, Higher College of Technology, Dubai. She talked about migrant workers in the Middle-East, especially Dubai. She said that a population-based approach should be used with regard to the health of migrants. Factors which result in present health outcomes of migrants are far sighted and very broad. There should be health related programmes like gentle health, negative health outcome, etc. Dealing with the situation, an intermediate and long term response framework should be followed, such as contingency planning, continued education of healthcare providers and migrants, training programs, etc.

In his Chair remarks Prof Shri Prakash Singh said that migrants have become victims in the current pandemic due to sudden spread of the Chinese Corona Virus and the subsequent lockdown by the government. As we are aware, Indian culture makes us all trustees of the society. But due to politics, we failed to cater the needs of our own people - primarily the poor and daily wage workers working in small scale industries and agriculture sectors. He further asserted that the right kind of data, similar to the verified data used for the KYC processes by the banks, should be available. Village panchayats should work in close coordination with blocks and district administrations to prepare data banks about the population working in various fields in their areas. The government should play a vital role in providing employment to the people at the local level along with skill enhancing education to migrants at village or town level through academic institutions to increase efficiency and production in post-COVID era. NCC and NSS should be made compulsory for every student in schools and colleges. Scores of policies initiated by this government need to be strengthened and effectively implemented so that interstate migration of the workforce can be further minimised. He also reiterated the demographic dividend India may have in future by citing the examples of how the developed countries and economies of the world have the elderly workforce as compared to the younger workforce available in India. He further suggested that this young workforce should be utilised for the welfare of society by providing skill education and training. This migration due to COVID pandemic can also be viewed as an opportunity to fight the lack of advanced skilled among the young force in the country by taking adequate measures in the rural levels by formulating policies and implementing them at local centres.

Plenary Session Two: 3pm-4:30pm

Avanish Gupta, Research Scholar, School Of Education, Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar and intern with Academics4Nation moderated the second plenary session. He introduced the panelists and said that the current pandemic situation has affected large section of the population calling for serious discussion of various emergent issues. Information from around the world suggests that migrants are one of the most vulnerable social groups, as in the previous large scale economic crisis. Forced deprivation of jobs and earnings, coupled with restrictions on movement associated with the inability to follow reasonable anti-epidemic rules, puts them and their families at risk.

He handed over the proceedings to the Chair of the session Dr Ravikant Mishra who is Deputy Director of Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi. Dr Mishra invited Dr Manoj Pataria, Head and Advisor, National Council for Science and Technology Communication, New Delhi and has also worked as an additional director general, Prasar Bharti. He has also worked as the channel head of Kisan TV channel.

Dr Manoj Pataria talked about concerns of labors, agricultural community and its impact on economy and how science and technology can help in fight against Covid-19.

The next speaker of the session was Prof Madhav Govind, Centre for Studies in Science Policy, JNU, New Delhi, whose area of interest is in sociology of S&T, modern science & traditional knowledge, research methodology in social science, waste management, e-waste and higher education in science. He spoke about the role of technology and issues related to migration. He discussed how the pandemic situation had triggered reverse migration in India and at an international scale as well. In India we are witnessing internal migration and reverse migration with labourers returning to their home states and villages.

The Chair invited Dr Abhinay Sharma to speak next. Dr Sharma is a PBC fellow at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. His areas of interest are Protein chemistry, Bioinformatics, Assay Development, ELISA and Animal models. He delved into the nature of the virus and talked about how Corona Virus had multiplied or spread. He discussed the latest status of Covid-19 cases and the impact of lockdown on reverse migration in India. He went on to discuss the ways by which the challenges of migration could be met and how the spread of Covid-19 could be controlled. He also laid out various attempts at developing a global vaccine and the importance of compulsory use of face mask and maintaining social order. He also outlined how Artificial Intelligence could play a crucial role in tackling this challenge both in terms of data crunching and planning remedial action.

In his Chair remarks Dr Ravikant Mishra discussed migration from long and short term perspectives. Talking about migration in modern times, he discussed the condition of labourers and how the Covid-19 pandemic had affected them. He outlined the challenges that reverse migration presented and how these could be turned into an opportunity in the coming times.

Plenary Session Three: 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Monika Gupta, Research Scholar, JNU, New Delhi, and an intern with Academics4Nation moderated the third plenary session. She welcomed the speakes and introduced them. The distinnguished panelists for this session were: Prof. Badri Narayan, a social historian and cultural anthropologist who is currently Director at the G.B. Pant Social Science Institute, Prayagraj. His wide ranging interests cover Culture, Memory and Politics, Contemporary Histories, Ethnography of Marginalized Politics, Social and Anthropological History, Dalit and Subaltern Issues and Identity Formation, Language and Power. Dr. Sanjay Roy is Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, Delhi University. His specialization lies in Rural and Urban Development Sector, Caste Discrimination and Dalit Empowerment, Social Work Practice, Social Welfare Administration and Management of Voluntary Organisations. Shri. Kaushlendra Singh Patel is the Member of National Commission for Backward Classes, Government of India, New Delhi. Prior to this, he has been the Mayor of Varanasi City. He has also been allotted different states of Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Kerela, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh in different departments and Ministries including Statistics and Program Implementation, Housing and Urban Affairs, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Defense etc. Dr. Swadesh Singh, the chair for this session, is currently in the Department of Political Science Satyawati College, Delhi University. He did his PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and PG Diploma in Mass Communication from Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi. He has many authored and edited books to his name. He is a regular face on different media platforms discussing national and international issues. After welcoming the panel members Monika Gupta handed over the proceedings to the chair.

The session witnessed some very interesting and engaging discussions surrounding migration and reverse migration during Covid-19. There were discussions pertaining to the social impacts of the pandemic and how severely it affected the labour migrants. Dr. Sanjay Roy discussed the push and pull factors surrounding labour migration and how lack of income, job insecurity and need for clothing, food and shelter forced the migration patterns. Prof. Badri Narayan talked about the role of caste and reverse migration. He emphasized how caste differences get diluted during such emergencies like COVID-19 as witnessed in the case of labour migrants returning back to their homes who only have the thought of their survival in mind without any caste identity. Shri Kaushlendra Singh Patel talked about the social security schemes and other initiatives launched by the Government of India to protect the vulnerable families and groups during this Pandemic. In the end, the chair, Dr. Swadesh Singh talked about the situation of pandemic in different states of India with the help of data and statistics and reflected briefly upon who the real migrants are amidst this crisis.

Day Two: 21 June 2020

Plenary Session Four: 10:30 am - 12.00 pm

Siddhartha Ghosh, Ph.D Research Scholar from Mahatma Gandhi Central University of Bihar and Intern at Academics4Nation was the moderator for this session. He introduced the distinguished panelists for the session: Dr Ashwini Mahajan is an Associate Professor at PGDAV College, Delhi and National Co-Convenor, Swadeshi Jagran Manch. He has worked as an author and columnist. He is Chief Editor of the Journal of Contemporary Indian Polity and Economy since 2011 and also a Visiting Professor and research guide at Pacific University, Udaipur and Mewar University. Prof Ashish Saxena, Sociology Department, Central University of Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh has significant publications on the issues related to rural development and subaltern community studies in India, especially Jammu and Kashmir. Dr Debojyoti Das is a social anthropologist working on development and environmental issues, He is also interested in the social policy of development and transnational aid in South Asia. He did his PhD research focused on the political ecology of highland farming in the northeastern part of Indian State of Nagaland. Besides academic publications he has also contributed to newspapers, blogs, photo exhibitions and delivered public lectures. The session was chaired by Dr Vandana Mishra, Assistant Professor in Centre for Comparative Politics & Political Theory, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. She is also Associate Dean of Students. She has various Research Papers and Book publications in her name.

In his address, Dr Ashwini Mahajan outlined the need to push Indian economy in the current Corona virus crisis. He emphasized the importance of becoming self-reliant as a country. He said that the historical mistakes which were made in the past need to be fixed and this could be the right time to give the country a new direction. Prof Ashish Saxena stressed upon the need to look into migration crisis and its huge impact on labourers. He pointed out the urgent need to provide employment opportunities to the migrating population. He also discussed the measures that have been taken by the government with this objective. Dr Debojyoti Das laid out how Britain has been coping with the Corona crisis. He discussed some of the measures and steps taken that could be incorporated in India as well. He also discussed the scenario that lies ahead not only related to the Corona infection but also the possibility of a vaccine. He summarized what a new normal in the post-Corona world might look like and how we can be prepared to deal with it.

In the chair remarks Dr Vandana Mishra discussed how the Central Government has worked in close coordination with various state governments to ensure a well directed effort to mitigate the health risks and impending economic repercussions of the Corona pandemic in India. She also outlined the need to convert this crisis into an opportunity and what the future challenges could entail.

Plenary Session Five: 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

The Session was moderated by Honey Raj, Ph.D. Research Scholar, Central University of Jharkhand and an intern with Academics4Nation. He introduced the panelists for the session: Prof R Vaidyanathan is a retired Professor of Finance from IIM-Bangalore. He is two times a Fulbright scholar and a Fellow of ICSSR-Visiting Faculty at various universities in USA/UK. Prof Manvendra Pratap Singh is the Professor and Head of Dept of Sociology, Deen Dayal Upadhyay University, Gorakhpur. He is a distinguished Member Managing Committee, Indian Sociological Society. His areas of interest include Sociology of Development, Globalization, and Gender Studies. Prof Pavnesh Kumar teaches at the School of Commerce and Management Sciences, Department of Management Science, Mahatma Gandhi Central University, Motihari. His specialization and research interests include International Business and Finance. He is a life member of several societies and professional bodies such as the Indian Accounting Association, All India Association for Educational Research, Indian Commerce Association etc. He has several publications to his name both national and international. The Chair for the session was Dr Atanu Mahapatra, who is Associate Professor and Chairperson in Centre for Studies and Research in Diaspora, at Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar. He also holds several additional responsibilities as Chairman-Committee for Advance Studies and Research and Chairman and Nodal Officer - Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat (EBSB), MHRD. He also has several publications both national and international to his credit. His areas of interest and specialization include Diaspora Studies, Media Studies, International Relations, Development Studies, Research Methodology.

Prof R Vaidyanathan discussed the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the migrants from the Hindi belts, especially Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. He said that even though these migrants are the heart and soul of the big cities, but at the time of crisis the cities don’t own their problems and ditch them. He pointed out how the term ‘Migrant’ for them itself violates the constitution. He also shared his experience of interacting with migrant laborers who shared their ordeal. He pointed out that the challenge before the respective state governments is to assimilate them and provide them with jobs.

Prof Manvendra Pratap Singh discussed the impact of reverse migration on labourers who belong to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. He discussed how the Uttar Pradesh government under the leadership of Yogi Adityanath has been at the forefront of this fight against the pandemic and has been working to mitigate the tremendous humanitarian challenge arising out of migration.

Prof Pavnesh Kumar began with the World Bank data where a growth rate had been predicated for India in the next financial year 2021-22. He pointed out the employment data from this report besides other economic indicators. Calling metropolitan cities “Island of Development” he said that these cities have immense potential to cater the needs of the present situation. He was hopeful that given correct policy measure the cities will blossom again and the Indian economy will become more vibrant. His focus during the talk was on creating an agricultural value chain in villages like food processing units. He argued that if the farmers were to realize higher profits and the consumers receive the products at a fair price, then these food processing chains needed to be created.

Parallel Sessions: 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Parallel sessions were organized on Google meet for paper presenters whose abstracts had been accepted.

Parallel Session-1

The first parallel session was chaired by the Dr J S Pandey, Associate Professor, KKV, Lucknow University, Lucknow and moderated by Dr Santosh Kumar Singh, Assistant Prof. Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi. The moderator initiated the webinar where he mentioned that the plenary sessions had discussed various dimensions and perspectives of migration especially in terms of Covid-19. The Chair Dr JS Pandey pointed out that to solve the issues of current migration the government has taken several initiatives from Ayushman Bharat to Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan. In this session, there were total 12 paper presenters from across the India. The session discussed the grassroots sitation to policy issues to arrive at an understanding of the current migration. In this context, Dr Arun Kumar, Assistant Prof, DU approached the subject from the perspective of literature exploring how various writings discussed the issue of migration. Dr Gautam Kumar Jha, Assistant Professor, JNU, highlighted the changing patterns of migration, especially from Bihar to other parts of India, since Independence to the contemporary Covid-19 era. Dr Aparna, Assistant Professor, Jharkhand Central University, mentioned that in the last few months most of the migration had taken place due to job insecurity and the question of survival. Overall, in this session, scholars tried to correlate the theory of migration to the practice in the context of Covid-19. The paper presenters also analysed the role and impact of government policy at the grassroots level. At the end of the session, Dr JS Pandey mentioned that the government is trying to provide employment and health security through various schemes and trying to meet the demands of migrant workers at their native place.

Parallel Session–2

The second parallel session was Chaired by Dr Smarnika Banerjee, Kalyani University, Kolkata, and moderated by Avnish Gupta, Research Scholar, Central University of Gujarat. The moderator initiated the session by outlining how Covid-19 pandemic and complete lockdown had resulted in joblessness sparking migration of workers to their native states. The honourable chair Dr Smarnika Banerjee discussed the psychological and sociological aspect of migration and reverse migration. She spoke about the push and the pull factors which work behind these exchanges. In all seven papers were presented in this session. The discussions in this session focused on how India had tackled the Covid-19 crisis and how it had impacted migrant workers in India and its neighboring states. Anupam Kumar, Assistant Professor, Moti Lal College, spoke on the Indian response to migration. He emphasized the importance of reducing fear psychosis and misunderstanding amongst people about the virus. Ameeta Motwani, Associate Professor, Jesus and Mary College, University of Delhi, discussed the role of Indian media in highlighting the plight of migrant worker in the wake of Covid-19. Francis Ariina, Assistant Professor, LBC University of Delhi, talked about migration in India’s Northeast in the context of Covid-19. She pointed out how the Northeast had been mostly a green zone with some exceptions in parts of Assam. She discussed how migrant workers from the Northeast regions working in various sectors had been impacted. Kishlay Kirti, Research Scholar, Central University of South Bihar, discussed Indo-Nepal relations in the context of migration and its challenges. Shalini Prasad, lecturer, Jamshedpur Women’s College, Kolhan University, also spoke about the challenges presented by the pandemic and the challenges and role of media in migration. She discussed how media is a communication channel between the people and the Government of India and what has to be done to counter fake news phenomenon. Pallavi Singh, Lecturer, Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, New Delhi spoke on the plight of migrant workers during Covid-19 and how the pandemic had turned them into ‘nowhere people’. She discussed issues related to inter-state mobility, global recession and impact on India’s economy. Harish Chandra, Assistant Professor, GBU Greater Noida, New Delhi, spoke about the challenges before the government because of migrant workers, migration and India’s economy.

Parallel Session - 3

The third parallel session was moderated by Ranjana Singh, Research Scholar, BHU, and intern with Academics4Nation. The session was chaired by Dr Anuja, Assistant Professor, Centre for the study of social exclusion and inclusive policy, JNU. The honourable chair discussed the psychological and sociological aspect of migration and reverse migration. She spoke about the push and the pull factors which work behind these exchanges. Seven papers were presented in this session. The discussion was broadly focused on cause and effects of migration and the challenges and opportunities it presents. Dr.Vijaylaxmi Saxena, Assistant Professor, CMP Degree College, Prayagraj. spoke about the manufactured risks of reverse migration. She outlined how readapting to villages will be difficult for these migrant labourers stressing the need of support from local government and cooperative societies in this readaptation. Dr. Meghna Sharma, Assistant Professor, Maharaja Ganga Singh University, Bikaner, Rajasthan discussed the positive and negative impact of migration historically, change in the demographic profile of host cities, cultural transfer, unemployment and dearth in resources. She stressed the need to prepare cities for ecological migration, safe legal migration and the need of a ‘Council for Migration’. Aniljith Mathews, Student, Pondicherry University spoke about the causes and effects of migration among transgenders. He pointed out that since colonial period their migration was taken as a cause of spread in diseases in the host cities and thus was a criminal act. He discussed how migration promotes gender stereotyping leaving transgender people with limited occupations and mobility restraints. Pratiksha Parashar, Student, Agra College Agra, discussed the interplay of political, environmental, social, economic and demographic factors along with micro and meso factors which determine why people migrate or stay. Dr Minashree Horo, Public health Researcher, MHIMC, JNU, New Delhi presented a case study on the nature or migration in Jharkhand during Covid-19. Factors like emotional and financial drain, coming of the monsoons and fear of losing people being the reasons for their desperation. Vatan Gupta, student, IGNOU, spoke about the impact of migration on landless families. He stressed the need for a strong PDS system. Manju Tiwari, PGT teacher, KV New Cantt, VD Road, Allahabad spoke on rehabilitation during reverse migration. She mentioned the Kubler Ross Model and the five stages people go through after natural disasters, to explain the psychological condition of migrants. She also suggested ways of adapting to the new normal.

Parallel Session - 4

The fourth parallel session was moderated by Shivendra Shandilya, law student, National Law University School, Bengaluru, and intern with Academics4Nation. The session was chaired jointly by Dr Sapna Verma, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, DAV College, Kanpur, and Dr Vikas Pande, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, LA, USA. The chair spoke about the current phenomenon of migration and reverse migration in midst of Covid-19 crisis. They laid out the background of the problem and after effects of lockdown. Seven papers were presented in this session. The discussion broadly focused on the history of migration and its present social context. Chandan Kumar, Research Scholar, Gautam Buddha University presented his paper on the issue of migration in Bihar which has persisted since the British era. He talked about the need to revive small industries in order to boost rural economy. Dr. Aditya Mishra, Assistant Professor, MCRV, Reva, spoke about the Central Government’s Atma Nirbhar Bharat Package to kick start the economy after lockdown. He also weighed in on the Uttar Pradesh government’s scheme for generating employment. Dr Sangeeta Birua, Assistant Professor, Kolhan University, Jamshedpur, termed the migration crisis as the litmus test not only for the government but also for the citizens. She said that this crisis is an opportunity to repair the economy. Raghuveer Singh, Assistant Professor, LBS College spoke about the deep rooted caste system in rural areas. Pushpa Mall, Research Scholar, Vidyaniketan University, West Bengal presented her paper that underlined migration as a social issue that originated from the concept of globalisation. Dr. Ashutosh Mandavi, HOD of Advertisement and Public Relations, Khushbhau Thackeray University of Mass Communication, Raipur, Chhattisgarh explained that migration during Covid-19 crisis has been one of the major migrations since Partition in 1947 and formation of Bangladesh in 1971. He cited Dr APJ Kalam’s words that self-respect can be earned by self reliance. Namo Narayan, Assistant Professor, Dayanand Vedic College, Jalaon, Uttar Pradesh advocated relief in terms of cash transfer. He termed the event of migration and reverse migration as a political issue that had not been addressed by the government at the Center and the states.

Parallel Session - 5

Parallel Session five was chaired by Dr Amit Singh, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, ARSD College, Delhi University, New Delhi. The papers in this session talked about different aspects of reverse migration. There were a total of 10 presentations. The discussion in the session pertained to different aspects like gendered perspective, literature, global comparisons, and opportunities for the developing countries during these times of crisis etc. Paper presenters for this session were: Raushan Rajput, Research Scholar, Mahatma Gandhi Central University; Dr Brahma Dutta, Assistant Professor, Motilal Nehru College, Delhi University; Akansha Sharma, Student, Radhe Hari Government PG College, Kashipur; Dr Shruti Joshi, Assistant Professor, Satyawati College, Delhi University; Dr. Raghvendra Kishor, Associate Professor, College of Commerce, Arts & Science, Patna; Sapna Singh, Research Scholar, JNU, Delhi; Rahul Tiwari, Research Scholar, Dr BR Ambedkar University, New Delhi; Shreya Malik, Research Scholar, Dr BR Ambedkar University, New Delhi; Dr. Bimlesh Kumar Singh, Head of Department, English, Mahatma Gandhi Central University; Dr. Rajeshwari Dutta.

Parallel Session - 6

The sixth parallel session was chaired by Dr Vivek Mishra, Assistant Professor, Gautam Buddha University. The session was moderated by Tripti Singh, Research Scholar, Central University of Gujarat. There were five presentations in the session. The discussions in this session broadly spanned the theories of migration, their application and relevance in the contemporary scenario. Dr. Nirmal Jindal, Associate Professor, Satyawati college, Delhi University, spoke about revisiting migration theories in Covid-19 pandemic. She discussed migration theories in order to analyse the role of the state in restricting migration and not allowing open door policy for all migrants. Dr Menka Singh, Assistant Professor, Motilal Nehru college, Delhi University discussed in detail the current impact of Covid-19 pandemic on society. She highlighted how the pandemic has brought into open the plight and neglect of migrant labourers in our country. She said that landlessness and lack of gainful employment opportunities are two major concerns of the situation. Anita Kumari, Research Scholar, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, also discussed various theories of migration in detail. Ifrah, Research Scholar, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi, discussed the current situation of pandemic in India and the impact of lockdown on people at large and migrants in particular. She talked about the concepts of migration and reverse migration in detail. Also, she explained the impact and strain on the government. Prof. Meena Sharma, Professor, Radhe Hari Govt. PG College, Kashipur, discussed the impact of lockdown on migrant labourers and women. She spoke about steps that can be taken to provide succor to the poor during the time of pandemic.

Parallel Session - 7

The seventh parallel session was moderated by Dhvanit Goswami who is research scholar at Gujarat University and intern with Academics4Nation. The session was chaired by Dr Shantesh Kumar Singh, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Central University of Haryana. This session saw three presentations that broadly covered remedial measures and how the situation arising out of the pandemic could be converted into an opportunity. Dr Puneeta Agarwal, Associate Professor, Maharaja Agrasen College, Delhi University focused on capacity building of rural areas in his paper. He pointed out how this could resolve the multi-pronged problems arising out of reverse migration. Dr Geeta Devi, Assistant Professor in Economics, Government PG College, Solan, Himachal Pradesh, spoke about how inclusive growth could curtail migration and its ensuing problems. Dr Shweta Singh, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Applied Psychology, VBS Purvanchal University, Jaunpur, talked about migration as an opportunity.

Parallel Session – 8

The eighth parallel session was moderated by Siddhartha Ghosh, research scholar at Mahatma Gandhi Central University and intern with Academics4Nation. The session was chaired by Dr Tarun Kumar Garg. He is an Associate Professor in Mathematics, Satyawati College, University of Delhi. The session saw six presentations. The discussions in the session spanned areas of implementation and case studies. Dr Vandana Mishra, Assistant Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, spoke on administrative response to reverse migration presenting a case study of Uttar Pradesh. She discussed the current work and strategies of the Government of Uttar Pradesh in dealing with the migration crisis. The need of monitoring not only health but financial well being of the individuals was stressed upon. Various initiatives of UP government were highlighted like (a) Formation of the migration commission equipped to map the skills of the workers, to exercise authority to grant permission to other states seeking to re-employ migrant workers, provide them social security and provisions for unemployment allowance; (b) Distributing about Rs 280 crore as maintenance allowance to 27,78,000 workers of the state; (c) Signing agreements with various industry bodies like FICCI, IIA, NARDECO to provide jobs to such migrant workers; (d) Launching of Uttar Pradesh Startup Fund so that startups can be initiated in actors like agriculture, health, education etc. She also discussed the challenges that the newly proposed migration commission will face if its scope, powers, formation and working constitution is not framed properly.

Dr Pitheli K Jimo, Assistant Professor, Nagaland University spoke on return migration and Covid-19 presenting a case study of Nagaland. He outlined how the state government has responded from the beginning of Janta curfew and what preventive measures were taken later. He discussed how the residents of Nagaland faced problems in other states and what arrangements should be done to bring them back safely. Dr Lal Ji Pal, Assistant Professor, Central University of Kerala also presented a case study of Uttar Pradesh. He analysed the response of Uttar Pradesh Government in the face of Corona pandemic in the state. He also discussed economic steps like providing food to the population below the poverty line and arranging transportation for the migrants. Avanish Kumar and Tripti Singh, Research Scholar, Central University of Gujarat, presented their paper on effects of migration on society and prevention in South Asia. The paper focused on South Asia where the health care systems are underfinanced and poorly equipped. In all countries in the region, there is a lack of respiratory equipment and adequate protective equipment for health professionals. In addition, modern medical facilities are mainly to be found in urban centers, whereas rural areas are significantly worse off. Dr Gunjan Pandey, Associate Professor, BSNVPG College spoke on challenges and opportunities of reverse migration for the states. Dr Gunjan discussed how reverse migration can be turned into an advantage for the states which are currently affected by it. He stressed upon the need to setup employment opportunities in the home state of such migrants so that a reverse trend is not seen post corona. Mr Oluwasegun Ajetunmobi, Graduate Student and Junior Researcher, Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria presented his paper on what lies ahead for Indian expatriates in Nigeria after Covid-19. In his presentation he gave a brief assessment of the opportunities and challenges of migrant labour in Nigeria. Mr Oluwasegun discussed how Nigeria has similarities with India since it’s the largest democracy in African continent. He also discussed what unique opportunities and challenges the Corona crisis presents to the migrant workers.

Parallel Session – 9

The ninth parallel session was moderated by Varun Dixit, research scholar, Gautam Buddha University, and intern with Academics4Nation. The session was chaired by Dr Saumya Sinha, Assistant Professor at Xavier college, Ranchi. Six papers were presented in this session. The discussion during this session looked at migration froma human resource angle besides looking at its humanitarian aspects. Dr Pramod Kumar, Assistant Professor, Central University Himachal Pradesh, said that village-centric local development advocated by Mahatma Gandhi and Deen Dayal Upadhyay has been incorporated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat and Garib Kalyan Yojana. Dr Rajnikant Pandey, Assistant Professor, Ram Dayalu College, analysed migration from human security perspective. He also looked at the internal and external aspects of migration. Dr Saurabh Kumar, Assistant Professor, Amity University, Haryana, spoke about the nature and causes of migration and the measures taken by the government in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic. Dr Gummadi and Dr Priya, Associate Professor, School Of Economics, UOH and Associate Professor, Economic Department, Mount Carmel College, Bangalore presented paper on food Security and migrant labour in the context of Covid-19. They discussed the pull and push factors of migration and emphasised the need to invest more on human development. Dr Upasana Singh, Assistant Professor, National PG College, Lucknow, dwelt on the issue of reverse migration during Covid-19. Dr Urmila Yadav, Assistant Professor, Sharda University, spoke on the lack of adequate data on the migrant workers and suggested gender sensitive policies for migrant workers.

Parallel Session – 10

The tenth parallel session was moderated by Pratik Kumar, law student, National Law University, Lucknow, and intern with Acdemics4Nation. The session was chaired by Dr M Nagamani, Senior Assistant Professor of Computer & Information Science, University of Hyderabad. There were a total five paper presenters from different universities for this session. The sub-theme in this webinar was of the angle of rural economy in the migration as well as reverse migration. It was stressed that people who have returned or are returning are the ones who actually run the cities. The participants advocated a holistic approach towards labourers and stressed that rural economy needs active revival plans. This is the time to understand that self-sufficiency is the key and agriculture is its base, so it is very important to return to roots and start working from there. Dr Ananya Barua, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Hindu College, Delhi University, presented views on the ethnic case of migration in Assam. Reflecting views on the local culture and Muslim groups, she presented her case on the subject. Dr Ritu Sharma, Assistant Professor, Kalindi College highlighted the plight of women in migration. She focused on women domestic workers, mainly drawing facts from social observation. The paper was co-authored with Abhishek Singh. Dr Sourabh Jyoti Sharma, Assistant Professor at DK College, Gauhati University, picked the question of the role of a welfare state during these times. He gave a balanced critique of government policies along with the need of relief for migrant workers. Dr Reeta Nigam, Associate Professor of Agra College, focused on post-pandemic actions in the wake of large-scale migration. Dr Richa Singh, Assistant Professor of Political Science at GLA College, Daltonganj spoke of the labourers in rural areas and the need to settle them with different schemes.

Parallel Session – 11

The eleventh session was chaired by Dr Gyana Ranjan Panda, Assistant Professor, Department of Public Policy, Law and Governance, Central University of Rajasthan. The session was moderated by Honey Raj, PhD Research Scholar, Department of Politics and International Relations at Central University of Jharkhand. The session saw a total of seven paper presenters. The session began with the welcome address by the moderator followed by introductory remarks by the Chair of the session. Dr Nitu Goswami, Adjunct Faculty at the University of Fraser Valley, BC Canada presented her paper on ‘Economics of Migration amid Dwindling Agriculture’ where she discussed at length about the essence of the economic case for migration which is very complex. She also raised issues of income variance between the organized and unorganized sector. She also discussed how cooperative and competitive federalism is missing between Centre and State and measures to address this situation. Aarushi Aggarwal, student at Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University spoke on social status of migrant workers in India during Covid-19 pandemic. She gave insights into the adversity and challenges faced by the migrant workers while they returning to their hometown. She also raised a key issue of the term ‘Migrant’ which violates their fundamental rights. Manoj Kumar Das, research scholar at NERIST, Arunachal Pradesh discussed the case of street vendors of Guwahati and in the context of rural urban migration with reference to Covid-19. Deepak Kumar Tomar, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at SRM University, Haryana, discussed how the pandemic has forced migrants to return to their native place creating a threat to their health and wealth during a terrifying and multiplying phase. Rakshita Singh, research scholar at BHU highlighted the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on migrant laborers belonging to the Scheduled Castes. Shubhra Kukreti, Assistant Professor, Doon University, discussed how the Uttarakhand government is using pandemic phase as an opportunity to assimilate migrant laborers who have returned to their homeland. Sonali Saini presented on the topic’ Migration as an economic crisis. The session was insightful and comprehensive. It ended with the closing remarks by the Chair. Vote of thanks was proposed by moderator of the session Honey Raj.

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