Circular Migration and COVID-19

11 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2020

See all articles by Jyotsnamayee Nanda

Jyotsnamayee Nanda

Nabakrushna Choudhury Centre for Development Studies, Bhubaneswar, Odisha

Date Written: August 30, 2020


The paper discusses about the inter-state circular migration and emerging issues during the pandemic. The circular migrants are worst hit population for COVID-19. Seize of economic activities due to prolong lockdown made these migrants jobless and forced to lead a life in anxiety and distress. Their temporary relocation to the urban areas made them vulnerable in accessing the health services as well as deprived them from social security schemes during the period. The feeling of insecurity made them panic and induced for return journey to their native villages by any means. Managing the returnee migrants in terms of health, safety and livelihood emerged as a challenge for the receiving governments. But the most crucial issue is to absorb a huge influx in already saturated agrarian set-up. MGNREGS is identified as one strategy for ensuring the employment of returnee migrants but it may not solve the problem. On the other hand withdrawals of workers in the destination states may also impact the production cycle of different micro-and macro industrial set-ups. By and large pandemics are socio-political issues which need response from all stake holders. Therefore, suggestions are made that when designing the road map the government needs to adopt a transformative approach for tapping of the human capital taking community as foundation. Preparedness and response architecture with multi-stage strategic planning is required in a shrinking economic condition to balance with the national interest and humanitarian responsibility.

Keywords: Circular Migration, Returnee Migrants, Informal Sector, COVID-19, Livelihood, MGNREGS

JEL Classification: J6

Suggested Citation

Nanda, Jyotsnamayee, Circular Migration and COVID-19 (August 30, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Jyotsnamayee Nanda (Contact Author)

Nabakrushna Choudhury Centre for Development Studies, Bhubaneswar, Odisha ( email )

Cuttack, OR

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