COVID-19, Caste and the City

June 22, 2020

On 27th May 2020, a tragic image of a child playing beside his dead mother made headlines. Unfortunately, this is only one of the many instances, which has brought to light India’s stark class inequalities during the migrant crisis.

The migrant crisis has certainly brought some attention to class inequality in India. However, we must resist the urge to view the crisis only through class. About 16% of the total intra-state migrants in India belong to the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and 8% to the Scheduled Tribes (STs), almost equal to their share in the total population, as per data from Census 2011. It is then plausible that a significant fraction of migrants attempting to return to their homes during the lockdown are SC/STs. These communities are vulnerable on the account of their class and caste.