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Side Event - Impact of COVID-19 on Internal Migrant Workers in India

An event with Mr. Shubhabrata Roy, Mr. Salil Tripathi, Mr. Chandan Kumar, Ms. Sudarshana Kundu, Ms. Priya Naik, Ms. Vani Saraswathi and Mr. Chinmay Tumbe
BIAS Pvt. Ltd, Institute for Human Rights and Business, Working Peoples' Charter, Gender at Work Global, Samhita Social Ventures, Migrant-Rights.Org and Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

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About this event


Hundreds of thousands of Indian workers who live in cities other than their own have been forced to return to their towns and villages after the Indian Government declared a lockdown which closed many businesses and the workers felt that in the absence of a social safety net they had no choice but to make their home. The government has since acted to provide train and bus transport for some of the workers, but many workers have suffered. Companies that employed them have said relatively little. Indian workers,like other workers from South Asia, have also been left stranded in the Gulf region. The Indian Government has arranged flights to bring some of them home, but there are reports of lack of corporate commitment to address the challenges. Some companies in India have acted proactively to help the workers through philanthropic actions, but much more is needed.


In this panel discussion, Salil Tripathi of the Institute for Human Rights and Business will be in conversation with Shubhabrata Roy of Behavioural Insights, Architecture And Strategy (BIAS), a behavior science consultancy that has studied migrant workers in India, Vani Saraswathi of, a content-based NGO that advocates for the rights of migrant workers in the Gulf region, Priya Naik of Samhita, a consultancy that assists businesses, donors, and NGOs to work together to develop effective CSR strategies, Sudarsana Kundu of Gender@Work, Chinmay Tumbe, who teaches at the Indian Institute of Management and has written a major study on internal migration in India and Chandan Kumar, National Coordinator, Working Peoples' Charter, a coalition of over 150 workers collectives organising informal workers across India.


This session aims to: ● Highlight emerging research about migrant workers impacted by Covid-19 in India ● Share experiences about emerging best-practices ● Explore the gender impacts and impacts on vulnerable groups, including minorities


● What have we learned from the experience of migrant workers? ● What regulatory reforms should be explored and implemented? ● What are the responsibilities of employers – individual or business? ● What can be learned from other good practices? ● What is the role for big business?

Mr. Shubhabrata Roy

Shubho is a surreal entrepreneur with a focus on Behavioural Science. His areas of expertise are researching biases, behavioural insights, and developing strategies to impact behaviour change.

Mr. Salil Tripathi

Salil Tripathi is a writer and policy adviser with experience in researching corporate activities in diverse environments and applying international human rights standards to identify human rights abuses and and working with all sectors and stakeholders to build accountability and advocate positive change. At the Institute for Human Rights and Business Salil is senior adviser (Global Issues) and is the principal author of its recent report on corporate responsibility to respect human rights during the Covid Pandemic.

Mr. Chandan Kumar

Chandan Kumar is the National Coordinator of the Working Peoples' Charter, a coalition of over 150 workers collectives organising informal workers across India.

Ms. Sudarshana Kundu

In addition to her current role as Co-Executive Director for Gender at Work Global, Sudarsana is also the Country Director for Gender at Work India, where she is working with a range of organizations to drive institutional change for advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Ms. Priya Naik

Priya is the Founder and CEO of Samhita Social Ventures, a social sector consulting firm that collaborates with companies, government and social organizations to co-create and implement effective social impact initiatives.

Ms. Vani Saraswathi

Vani Saraswathi is the Associate Editor and Director of Projects, and the author of Stories of Origin: The Invisible Lives of Migrants in the Gulf.

Mr. Chinmay Tumbe

Chinmay Tumbe is passionate about migration, cities and history, and is currently a faculty member at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. He has published widely on migration for a decade, has served on policymaking groups and is the author of India Moving: A History of Migration.

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