Why India's cities may not remain the same after the virus goes away


By Archana Chaudhary and Anurag Kotoky

Migrant workers fled India’s cities en masse last month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s lockdown left them suddenly unemployed. Now the employers that let them go may need to offer big incentives to lure them back.

上个月,印度总理纳伦德拉·莫迪(Narendra Modi)下令封城后,大批农民工突然失业,纷纷逃离城市。现在,解雇他们的雇主可能需要提供丰厚的激励才能吸引他们回来。

Sontosh Das, 24, lost his job driving for a family of doctors in New Delhi and fled to his village in West Bengal some 1,400 kilometers away, just before the lockdown took effect on March 24. Now home, he said he’d rather try his luck with the government’s rural job-guarantee program than risk being left with nothing once again.


“After Modi ji’s lockdown, we’re scared of returning,” Das said over a crackling phone line. “During tough times, only family comes to help.”



Tens of thousands of workers who returned to villages are now similarly weighing whether to return at the end of the lockdown, which Modi this week extended to May 3. Companies are already reporting labour shortages at ports and factories, potentially exacerbating an economic slowdown. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. this month slashed its annual growth forecast for India to the slowest pace since 1992, around when a balance of payments crisis brought down the sitting government.


Automobile makers, which include the local units of Nissan Motor Co., Ford Motor Co. and Suzuki Motor Corp., are discussing potential labour shortages after India lifts its lockdown, according to people familiar with discussions. Jewellers, India’s second-largest export sector, see production suffering for at least two months, said N. Anantha Padmanaban, chairman of the All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council.


Real estate developers, an industry that includes investors Blackstone Group Inc. and Brookfield Asset Management Inc., predicted more incomplete apartments and office buildings that could ripple through the financial sector in the coming year as a surge in defaults. Companies such as indal Steel Ltd. are facing a shortage of crane operators at ports.


‘Unprecedented Hardship’


The labour shortages could persist for as long as six months before broader unemployment becomes a bigger concern, said Sujan Hajra, Mumbai-based chief economist at Anand Rathi Financial Services Ltd. About 20% of India’s workforce comprises migrants journeying from another state, while a larger share is made up of people who travel from different parts of the state where their workplace is located, he added.

Anand Rathi金融服务公司驻孟买首席经济学家Sujan Hajra称,在更大规模的失业出现之前,劳动力短缺可能会持续长达6个月。他补充说,印度约20%的劳动力来自其他邦的外来务工人员。

“The unprecedented hardship faced by migrant workers since the outbreak of Covid-19 might result in fear psychosis,” Hajra said, predicting a worsening of India’s “already precarious employment situation.”



The government is aware the country will need to address labour shortages to restart the economy, Nitin Gadkari, minister of roads and small and medium scale enterprises, said in an interview.


“We need to see if there’s a way to start work to ensure employment for at least a section of daily wage workers,” Gadkari said. “If businesses and contractors can provide sanitizers, masks and ensure social distancing, we could see if at least some activity can be restarted.”


‘Prolonged Recession’


Any meaningful stimulus would need a minimum Rs 6 lakh crore ($79 billion) compared with the Rs 60,000 crore cash Modi’s government pledges to transfer to the poor, estimates P Chidambaram, India’s former finance minister who presided over the country’s response to the global financial crisis of 2008/09. A “deep and prolonged recession” awaits sectors such as agriculture that are dependent on migration, Chidambaram said by email.



译文来源:三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/49774.html   译者:Jessica.Wu

sanujit roy

Many states were only left with population after independence



Dhiraj Wala

Small, medium or big industrial units must think to spend / arrange / provide residential accommodation facilities in future to sustained labours to avoid any shortage of labours for their continuous operations.



Prince Gw

Post lock down, it doesn't take more than 3 months to become normal with or with out virus around. That is the reality.No one cares for virus or else there would not have been so many accidental deaths in our country.



Avnindra Baranwal

Time to adopt ONLINE VOTINGS for all citizens, in all elections.



Avnindra Baranwal

Ensure small/medium industries moved to other places, where electricity, cheap labour and transportation is available.Business/Jobs must not suffer.



minooengineer Enginee

An inducement to return is giving the workers a suitable accommodation, a costly proposition as is now visible. Needs to be considered & examined by the CEOs.



VK Singh

No meaning of apologies of PM Modi,who suffers suddenly lockdown.By this step,credit go down.Its solution to diversify the project in rural areas.



All This NonViolence

Announcing demonetisation or lockdown with immediate effect has kileld people - even when they are alive.HE MUST HAVE GIVEN A 2 DAY WINDOW FOR STARNDED PEOPLE TO RETURN HOME - probably ask them to self isolate . BUT ANNOUNCING WITH NO TIME TO PREPARE IS VIOLENCE OF THE WORST ORDER.



Vivek. B

I think people would be very cautious for next 6-9 months or till Medicine/ vaccine is made available, to move out to far places .



Ramamohanarao Kodali

The migrant labor stranded at various places are the most neglected sufferers in this Covid episode. Lack of food, lack of shelter with no transport They are the worst sufferes.



Sanujit Roy

4 states were already under developed for past 20 years



Theresamma Paul

Is lockdown a permanent solution to curb the ongoing situation? Still now no vaccine has been found. What happened to all our medical researchers? How long will it take to find out the medicine?




Vinod Menon

There are many viral diseases that have no vaccine, and mark my words COVID-19, will join the list, already it is far more contagious than the others which have no vaccine. So what's the way out? There is only one way, try to protect the vulnerable, and hope for the best and develop sufficient numbers of immune population, in other word herd immunity. Social distancing is a luxury only for the rich, in a jam packed country like India the poor will just have to depend on the roll of the dice


Ramamohanarao Kodali

How to develop sufficient number of immune population?



Madan Lal Sharma

Just check whether Our scientists have discovered anything so far. In this case the research will be done in foreign countries. It is not easy to find out a cure for such a dreaded disease.



Narayanan Mahalingam

Rahul Gandhi has already built a vaccine. He is waiting for more deaths under Modi credit before he releases it..



Shri Mahesh

we have enough workers in India. let's export millions worldwide and resettle in foren countries. let's share



Shri Mahesh

time to offer double and triple wages to India workers. make money, share money. Enjoy



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