RESEARCH REPORT: CIVIL SOCIETY'S RESPONSE TO THE FOOD SECURITY CRISIS CAUSED BY COVID-19 FOR MIGRANTS AND DAILY WAGERS
Authors: Divya Manocha, Mohit Shrestha, Tanushri Tandon, Jayendra Singh and Maryam Rashid
Editors: Nalini Menon, Siddhartha Prakash and Neha Rao
Designer: Jasma Bakshi
COVID-19 has had reverberating effects on the Indian economy. India’s 65 million inter-state migrants and daily wage workers (Dharker, 2020) already struggling with food security, have been worst impacted by the global epidemic. The Daily Wage Worker Platform (DWWP) supports workers in the informal sector comprising 90% of India’s workforce by documenting over 200 relief efforts and on-ground projects to provide food security, healthcare and livelihoods to tackle the Covid 19 crisis. This report has been developed by DWWP based on a dipstick survey conducted by our researchers across NGOs, citizen-led groups and independent volunteers. The report analyses their responses towards the food security crisis for migrant and daily wage workers caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The report identifies the different methods used by civil society to provide access to food and an analyses of the operational challenges and successes of the providers of relief efforts. We provide recommendations for people, organisations and governments wishing to engage in food security efforts for migrant and daily wage workers.
Our research team conducted desk research on the work of diverse civil society groups and confirmed our findings by conducting telephonic surveys with 17 of these people/organisations. In total, our sample included 30 people and organisations operating across India. We found that there were three main types of food-related relief efforts, namely dry rations, cooked meals and cash transfers/access to government schemes. The list of organizations can be found at the end.
In terms of analysing the operational experiences, we found a range of common challenges, including identifying and verifying requests from migrant workers, movement and transportation of supplies and social distancing and safety of workers/ volunteers and fundraising. We also detailed the ways in which groups, individuals and organisations overcame these challenges.