Penn Calendar Penn A-Z School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

Hidden Backbones: Understanding India’s Migrant Workers

A Virtual Conference via Zoom

October 27-28, 2021

9:30am-12:30pm (EDT)
7:00pm-10:00pm (IST)

1:30pm-4:30pm (GMT)

The conference is open to the general public.

REGISTER

In late March 2020, newspapers across the world were filled with heartbreaking images of rural migrants in India risking and sometimes losing their lives to flee the cities in which they worked. This "migrant crisis" was precipitated by the sudden imposition of a stringent national lockdown by the Indian government in response to the pandemic. Headlines across India repeatedly asked: Who were these migrants? What were they doing in cities? Why would they undertake such treacherous journeys? And why were policymakers unable to anticipate this crisis?

These questions illustrate how little we know about India’s internal migrant workers. How many migrant workers does India have, and what are the difficulties in "counting" migrants? What are the social and economic challenges migrants face in cities and how can these be reduced? What impact does migration have on the villages from which migrants come?  

This conference aims to bring together a diverse set of practitioners, bureaucrats, and academics to deliberate on these questions. We aim to bring their varied expertise to bear on providing clear and accessible outlines of the challenges surrounding internal migration in India, as well as possible policy solutions. The conference is an interdisciplinary event that will represent the voices of migrants and showcase current, cutting-edge research on this topic.

We hope this conference will help broaden our understanding of contemporary migration in India and offer grounded, informed discussions of paths forward to better serve this vital and overlooked population.

CONFERENCE AGENDA


DAY 1: October 27

Each panel will be one hour long (including time for Q&A)
Times listed below are in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)


9:30-9:35am

WELCOME

Tariq Thachil
Director of CASI, Penn


9:35-9:55am

1. KEYNOTE INTRODUCTORY SPEAKER:

Chinmay Tumbe
IIM Ahmedabad


9:55-10:10am

2. SHORT PANEL: COUNTING MIGRATION

John Firth
University of Notre Dame
Clément Imbert, University of Warwick


10:10-11:05am

3. FULL PANEL: COVID-19 AND MIGRATION

R. B. Bhagat & K. M. Sulaiman
International Institute of Population Studies (IIPS), Mumbai

S. Irudaya Rajan
International Institute of Migration and Development (IIMAD), Kerala

Anindita Adhikari
Stranded Workers Action Network (SWAN)


11:05-11:15am

BREAK


11:15am-12:30pm

4. FULL PANEL: GENDER AND MIGRATION

Heather Schofield
Wharton, University of Pennsylvania

Svati Shah
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Rithika Kumar
University of Pennsylvania

Indrani Mazumdar


DAY 2: October 28


9:30-10:45am

1. FULL PANEL: MIGRANT LIVELIHOODS AND INCLUSION (4 presentations)

Mukta Naik
Center for Policy Research (CPR), New Delhi

Priya Deshingkar
University of Sussex

Gareth Nellis and Nikhar Gaikwad
University of California San Diego (UCSD) and Columbia University, respectively

Maansi Parpiani
Aajeevika Bureau


10:45-11:00am

BREAK

11:00am-12:00 noon

2. POLICYMAKER AND PRACTITIONER ROUNDTABLE

(Q&A moderated by Prof. Tariq Thachil, Director of CASI, Penn)

Jyoti Yadav
The Print

Alex Paul Menon
IAS, Chhattisgarh Govt.

Benoy Peter
Center for Migration and Inclusive Development


12:00-12:20pm

3. KEYNOTE CLOSING SPEAKER

Rukmini S
Data Journalist


12:20-12:30pm

CLOSING REMARKS

Rithika Kumar
University of Pennsylvania

Gareth Nellis
University of California San Diego (UCSD)