In the aftermath of the COVID-19 national lockdown in March 2020, India saw the mass movement of an estimated 11.4 million migrants back to their home states. Many more remained stranded at worksites and destination cities, and experienced hunger, indebtedness and sickness. The vulnerability of migrants was substantially exacerbated by their inadequate incorporation in social protection mechanisms, which have consistently failed to recognise circular and seasonal mobility patterns, despite being aimed at reducing the vulnerability of the poor. In particular, portability mechanisms that allow migrants to access entitlements across locations have remained inadequate.
This policy note focuses on initiatives and measures to improve portability and access to social protection and welfare for women and children affected by migration in the state of Maharashtra. The study considered all children (up to the age of 18) affected by the migration process, including independent child migrants, those who accompany their parents and those left behind after their parents migrate for work.