Footloose Workers in Times of Calamities: A Case Study of the 2018 Kerala Floods
Published on April 23, 2022
Kerala, the southernmost state in India, much researched for its high standard of living and a model of development, largely dependent on international remittances, experienced one of its worst floods in 2018. The state also experiences a peculiar type of labour crisis; where the local population migrates internationally, attracting interstate migrants to compensate for the labour deficit. However, in times of calamities like floods, these unorganized labourers are the worst hit and still the last priority. The media widely reported their mass exodus, unhygienic living conditions, and mistreatment in relief camps during the floods, though the policy responses have been unsatisfactory to date. The paper tries to evaluate the role of inter-state migrants in the socio-economic profile of Kerala and comments on the necessity to include them as a priority in the migration policy discussions, particularly in light of the state’s extreme proneness to natural disasters.