Is COVID 19 moment a watershed moment for laborer rich states?

  • Is COVID 19 moment a watershed moment for laborer rich states?

    London or central England was the hub of business and trading activities in 18th century. As usual, some businessman had monopoly over the manpower and capital coupled with their connection with the administration. It was very tough for new businessmen to set up their business due to monopoly of these businessman. These Neo-businessmen tried their level best but could not succeed and therefore they did not have any other options but to move towards hinterland or rural areas of England. It was a watershed moment for England’s trading and industrial activities.

    It was a win win situation for Neo-industrialist and rural folks as former were getting comparatively cheap labors and latter were getting extra source of income who heavily depended upon the conventional source of income like agriculture, forest wood and other natural resources. These folks not only started getting extra income but also started utilizing their idle time which they were wasting sitting idle. They start getting regular work unlike agriculture which was seasonal and in no time every household become the extended arm of industry and spinning wheel become household identity of rural England.  Taking advantages of low labor cost. these neo businessman started selling cotton into central London market at comparatively lower price which outsmarted city businessman. Eventually cheap labor attracted integrated cotton factories at rural places and industrialization of England started. This was watershed moment for England.

     

    Is COVID 19 similar moment for states like Uttar Pradesh or Bihar?

    These states were cursed for not having enough industries to cater need to their populations of manpower’s and that was why good chunk of population started migrated to the states like Maharashtra Gujarat Karnataka Tamil Nadu etc. locals of these states always took pride that they provided food and employment to these people which sparked some incidents of violence against those migrants often but these workers chose to stay in these states as they didn’t have anything to do at their home states.

    COVID19 created horrible situation for these migrants and neither states nor their employers/ contractors took care of their food or well-being (barring few exception)  and abandoned them which ultimately led to biggest exodus of free India and major highways fill with walking-migrants-in-distress and it was a new reality for administration of home states as well migrants.

    No doubt it was a horrible scene for citizens of India who were watching these things on TV and nightmare for these migrants who were crying and resolving that they would not return very soon.

    Whether they will return very soon or not, only time will tell. In my opinion it is watershed moment for Indian industries. Those states or factory owners or contractors who abandoned these migrants might gain for some months but in long term it is going to scare them.

     

    So, what next for these migrants and their states administrator?

    In my view, it is great opportunity for both migrants and these states. States can use this opportunity to develop their own states or even can act as manpower supplier states at large scale.

    Imagine state as a large manpower agency which enrolled all of its migrant’s worker, provide them fund or food (anyway under various scheme migrant’s worker or resident of villages are being given some subsidized grains and employment under MGNREGA);

     

    State as Manpower Agency:

    Form migrant worker corporation of state, enroll all its migrant worker or residents who intend to migrate. State Corporation has to bear some expenses but once COVID situation over or normalized, supply this manpower just like IT companies do and charge some fee from employer or employer states. It will not only help these migrant workers to get job but state can ensure good working and living conditions. Fees earned from these assignments can be used for various purposes or for welfare of workers or their relatives or development of villages.

     

    Migration of Industry to labor rich states:

    Seeing the treatment of migrants, it is distant possibilities of reverse migration soon and therefore these states ca approach industry leaders for transfer of some jobs to these states which will decongest metropolitan and big cities and develop India in true sense.

    States like Maharashtra and Gujarat were benefited because of their liberal approach and migrant friendly society even before freedom movement but due to politics and unavailability of jobs to locals these values started diluted which witnessed harassment to migrants but they never left due to unavailability of jobs in their home state or they didn’t have courage to come out from so-called-convenient situation but COVID exodus break this myth which may force industry leader to think about these states as destination to factories instead of source of cheap labor.

    Interesting time is ahead for both kind of states.