Announcement: Special Issue on 'Labour Migration and Development: Past, Present and Future’

Guest Editors:

Ravi Srivastava, Institute for Human Development, India

S. K. Sasikumar, V.V.Giri National Labour Institute, India

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the vulnerability of labour migrants. In India, tens of millions of internal migrants were confronted - apart from the spectre of the disease itself –with loss of livelihoods, starvation, loss of shelter, and separation from families- when lockdown was announced. Despite administrative and police restrictions, they spilled on to the highways, prepared to walk thousands of kilometres to their homes. For the first time, urban and industrial India saw the vast magnitude and the degree of precarity of circular migrants, and faced the prospect of depletion of the labour force across the spectrum of industry. Meanwhile, Indian migrant labourers abroad were also hit by the pandemic and thousands of them waited for the journey back home. Governments, policy- makers, and analysts are grappling with both the past invisibility of this vast multitude of labour and the implications of the unfolding saga of migrant labour for future revival and growth. The Indian story, however extreme, is part of a global story of how societies and governments address the issue of labour migration.

The Special Issue of the Indian Journal of Labour Economics on 'Labour Migration and Development: Past, Present and Future (Vol. 63, No. 4, October-December 2020)will bring together articles analysing the nature of labour migration in- and from- India, within a global perspective, and touch upon its links with past, present and future development. The contributors to the volume are a diverse group of eminent scholars. They include those whose studies on labour migration span several decades, and younger scholars, some of whom were also themselves involved in securing safety and security for labour migrants during their great exodus from the cities. Apart from providing fresh empirical perspectives on labour migration, from both historical and contemporary standpoints, the issue will analyse the gender, youth and other social dimensions of migration, and also examine the important but hitherto neglected areas of the public policy implications of labour migration before, during and after the pandemic. 


  • trends and patterns of labour mobility in India – internal and international migration, circular migration and commuting
  • global perspectives on circular migration, pandemics and public policy response in a historical context
  • impact of the pandemic on footloose migrant labour
  • gender, youth and social deprivation and migration
  • the pandemic and labour migrants abroad
  • migrant workers, labour rights and the labour ‘reform’ agenda 
  • migration, structural change and the development agenda
  • public policy and migration – before, during, after the pandemic


Jan Breman, Emeritus Professor, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Manola Abella, Co-Chair, KNOMAD (Labour Migration), World Bank

Dilip Ratha, World Bank & Head, KNOMAD

K.P. Kannan, Former Director, Centre for Development Studies, India

Arjan de Haan, International Development Research Centre, Canada

S. Irudayaya Rajan, Centre for Development Studies, India

S. Chandrasekhar, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, India

R. Lusome, Pondicherry University, India and R. B. Bhagat, International Institute for Population Studies, India

N. Rajendran, Azim Premji University, India

Deepak Kumar Mishra, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

Partha Mukhopadhyay, Centre for Policy Research, India

Benoy Peter, Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development, India

Nivedita Jayaram, Aajeevika Bureau, India

Varun Aggarwal, India Migration Now, India

Kirti Gaur and Kunal Keshri, G.B.Pant Social Science Institute, India

Amrita Datta, Indian Institute of Technology, India

I.C. Awasthi and Balwant Mehta, Institute for Human Development, India

Indra Kant Bharti, Adani Institute of Infrastructure and Management, India and Tulika Tripathi, Central University of Gujarat, India

Anu Abraham, NMIMS (deemed to be) University, India