The national lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in India resulted in the loss of work and displacement of thousands of urban migrant workers. This book records the arduous journey home for many of these workers and analyses the grave effects the pandemic has had on jobs, livelihoods, and the health of urban migrant workers.

A rich compilation of deep analytical articles by journalists, academics, lawyers, and social activists, this book explores various facets of the crisis as it unfolded. It examines the welfare policies of state and central governments and discusses the role of the judiciary and the public policy response to the unemployment, health risks, and mass migration of workers. It also offers readers a better understanding of the complexities of the migrant crisis, how it unfolded, and how it was addressed by the media.

This timely and prescient book will be of great interest to the general reader as well as researchers and students of media studies, journalism, sociology, law, public policy, labour and economics, welfare economics, gender studies, and development studies.

chapter |8 pages


ByBharat Bhushan

part 1|24 pages

Lost in counting

chapter 1.1|4 pages

Faceless and dispossessed

India's circular migrants in the times of COVID-19 1
ByPriya Deshingkar

chapter 1.2|8 pages

How many casual workers in the cities have sought to go home? 1

ByNomaan Majid

chapter 1.3|7 pages

Migration in India and the impact of the lockdown on migrants 1

ByMadhunika Iyer

part 2|48 pages

Abandoned by law

chapter 2.2|5 pages

COVID-19 crisis exposes India's neglect of informal workers 1

ByJenny Sulfath, Balu Sunilraj

chapter 2.3|5 pages

National Commission for Women

Advisory to address needs of internal women migrants in India during COVID-19 lockdown
ByBharat Bhushan

chapter 2.4|7 pages

How the Supreme Court and the High Courts have dealt with the worst migrant crisis faced by the nation 1

ByEjaz Maqbool, Akriti Chaubey, Mohammad Isa Hakim

chapter 2.5|8 pages

Migrant workers, the lockdown, and the judiciary 1

ByHarsh Mander

chapter 2.6|7 pages

Justice Madan Lokur

Supreme Court deserves an “F” grade for its handling of migrants 1
ByMadan B. Lokur

chapter 2.7|9 pages

Women workers in labour codes 1

ByIndrani Mazumdar, Neetha N. Pillai

part 3|36 pages

The long march home

chapter 3.2|6 pages

Nightmare on Shramik Specials 1

ByV. Sridhar

chapter 3.5|4 pages


Odia women migrants suffer mental stress, feel nobody heeds their plight 1
ByRakhi Ghosh

chapter 3.6|6 pages

Between household abuse and employer apathy, domestic workers bear the brunt of lockdown 1

ByDeepanshu Mohan, Kensiya Kennedy, Mansi Singh, Shivani Agarwal

chapter 3.7|7 pages

Social distancing and sex workers in India 1

ByPriyanka Tripathi, Chhandita Das

part 4|58 pages

No wages, no jobs, no food

chapter 4.1|3 pages

Can the State let employers walk away from lockdown wages? 1

ByBharat Bhushan

chapter 4.2|9 pages

Hunger grows as India's lockdown kills jobs 1

ByRahul Lahoti, Amit Basole, Rosa Abraham, Surbhi Kesar, Paaritosh Nath

chapter 4.3|7 pages


Intra-state migrants marooned too 1
ByBhanupriya Rao

chapter 4.8|9 pages

Pandemic crisis

“Migrant home-based women workers work 8 hours/day for Rs 10–15” 1
ByCenny Thomas, Nivedita Jayaram

chapter 4.9|8 pages

Pandemic-induced return of the migrant workers

Response of West Bengal 1
ByDebashis Aich

part 5|30 pages

Pandemic as an opportunity

chapter 5.1|4 pages

May Day

Twelve-hour working day notifications 1
ByJane Cox

chapter 5.2|4 pages

Changes in labour laws will turn the clock back by over a century 1

ByRamapriya Gopalakrishnan

chapter 5.3|12 pages

Labour law changes

Innocuous mistakes, sleight of hand, or taking sides 1
ByAtul Sood, Paaritosh Nath

chapter 5.5|4 pages

Can labour reforms help women migrant workers during COVID-19? 1

ByEllina Samantroy

part 6|44 pages

Media and migrant workers

chapter 6.1|6 pages

Media in the time of COVID-19 1

ByBhupen Singh

chapter 6.4|4 pages

Migrant crisis amid COVID is why we need “journalism of misery” 1

BySmruti Koppikar

chapter 6.6|9 pages

Audit of bigotry

How Indian media vilified Tablighi Jamaat over the coronavirus outbreak 1
ByAyan Sharma, Chahak Gupta

chapter |10 pages


Were any lessons learnt?
ByBharat Bhushan