Migrant workers have always remained at the socio-economic margins of our society, silently serving as the instrumental labour force of urban economics. The pandemic has brought them into national focus. On the announcement of a countrywide lockdown, a very large number of migrant workers decided to move back from their places of employment to their native villages. The non-availability of transport created its own problems. Added to this was the fear of starvation and inconvenience to their families. This caused, the migrant workers to demand wages and transport facilities for returning to their villages. Their mental agony was accentuated by multiple factors such as a sudden loss of livelihood, possibility of lack of food and inability to assist in harvesting their rabi crop due to not being able to reach home in time. Reports of inadequate response of some districts in providing the essential boarding and lodging arrangements along the way multiplied their fears. You have leant many lessons from this situation when you were tasked to oversee the functioning of the District Disaster Relief Force in your district. In your opinion what ethical issues arose in the current migrant crisis? What do you understand by an ethical care giving state? What assistance can the civil society render to mitigate 2 the sufferings of migrants in similar situations? (250 words)

Ethical Issues Arised:

  • Lack of empathy: The plight of migrant workers was not adequately acknowledged or addressed by the government, and their basic needs were not met.
  • Inadequate response: Some districts failed to provide essential boarding and lodging arrangements, which exacerbated the migrants’ fears and sufferings.
  • Economic injustice: Migrant workers, who are already marginalized and vulnerable, were disproportionately affected by the lockdown and the loss of livelihood.
  • Discrimination: Migrant workers were not treated with the same dignity and respect as other citizens, and their rights were not adequately protected.

Understanding of an Ethical Care Giving State:

  • An ethical care giving state is one that prioritizes the well-being of its citizens, particularly those who are marginalized and vulnerable.
  • It recognizes and acknowledges the suffering of its citizens, and takes proactive measures to alleviate it.
  • It is responsive to the needs of its citizens, and takes immediate action to address any crisis.
  • It also ensures that the laws and regulations are adhered to and protect the rights of all citizens.

Assistance by Civil Society:

  • Civil society organizations can provide assistance to mitigate the sufferings of migrants in similar situations by:
  • Offering assistance in the form of food, shelter, and medical care
  • Advocating for the rights of migrants and raising awareness of their plight
  • Organizing legal aid and counseling services to help migrants navigate the system
  • Providing livelihood opportunities and skill training to help migrants become self-sufficient.

In conclusion, It is important that government and civil society work together to address the issues of migrants, and ensure that they receive adequate support, protection and dignity during crisis situations. The state should be responsible for the well-being of all citizens, especially the most marginalized and vulnerable.

Mind map notes for UPSC
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