The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked off reverse migration from India cities to villages, describes Anjana Pasricha of Voice of America (VOA):

After cities were shuttered in late March and millions lost jobs, many faced the prospect of hunger as they were confined to small rooms during a stringent lockdown, while others made arduous journeys of hundreds of kilometers home, sometimes on foot, as all transport halted.

Their ordeal in the city and the fear of the pandemic has prompted migrants to try to rebuild their lives in their villages, where the virus is still not a threat.

Creating ways to earn a living for migrants who have lost jobs remains India’s biggest challenge as it grapples with the pandemic and a faltering economy. Last month the federal government launched a nationwide $6 billion program to expand a rural works program providing daily wage work in villages, but that may not be enough to alleviate the widespread distress of returning migrants.

That is why some states with huge numbers of migrants are hoping to persuade them to start farm ventures to revive rural economies that suffered when young people left to work in cities.

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