Why should we return to Cities that Discarded us?
Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR), Chinese Academy of Sciences
The humanity would get over the pandemic in a few months, hopefully for a few years, or, alternatively, come to live with it. The post Covid19 world will nonetheless be different from what has been predicted by visionaries so far. Undoubtedly, the sectoral and spatial priorities and development trajectories in the country will be somewhat different from what the specialists and political leaders have predicted. So will be the labour relations and their working and living conditions. Hopefully for the better.
The pandemic has created a few unanticipated problems, but more importantly, has exacerbated the existing ones, apparent or hidden in the system. These, nonetheless can largely be traced back to the unfinished task of creating a regionally balanced and just society. In rebuilding the society and economy in coming years, we must look at the fault lines that have existed for decades; a few inherited from colonial regime, others created owing to the deficiencies in the state policies and their implementation. This task of rebuilding the economy cant be done without examining the significant deficits in different sectors, widening inequalities, denial of basic human rights to large segments of population and their underlying causes that could not be addressed, despite strategic interventions by the central and state agencies.
The webinar will address the challenge of rebuilding new India through a just legal and institutional framework. Despite many among the returnees vouching never to return back to the cities and despite the best efforts made by the state agencies to find employment for them within the state, it may not be possible to absorb all of them in the regional economy. The panelists would address this issue empirically and present the possible scenarios. After a few months, particularly after the sowing in the Kharif season, how many of them would return back to the cities and states of their destination could be discussed.
These migrants have been vocal only through their distress but do not have any political clout or electoral strength. Would it be possible for the governments at the centre and states to operationalise an effective legal and administrative and institutional framework to address their problems? The panelists will discuss the immediate strategy of intervention whereby the migrants could find the conditions at the destinations less unwelcoming than what they had left behind or what had made them leave.