The recent covid-19 crisis has compounded the vulnerabilities faced by the migrants and the urban poor and made elderly more vulnerable to health shocks, said the India Voluntary National Review (VNR) 2020 report released by NITI Aayog on Monday.
The report titled Decade of Action: Taking SDGs from Global to Local was presented India’s second VNR at the United Nations High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, 2020. The HLPF is an international platform for follow-up and review of progress on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The report highlighted that migration has always been the result of mismatch between quantitative and qualitative aspects of labour supply and demand. “It has often exposed migrants to labour market uncertainties and social security risks. The covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdown of economic activities has further impacted the situation of migrant labour,” the report said.
Urban population in India grew from 286.1 million in 2001 to 377.1 million in 2011 which constitutes 31.14% of the total population residing in 53 urban agglomerations with more than a million people. Nearly 14% of this urban population was estimated to be living below the poverty line in 2011-12 with 65.5 million living in slums. Burgeoning economic growth and capital and labour mobility in urban areas have also led to significant growth in migration. The magnitude of inter-state migration in India accelerated from five to six million annually between 2001-11 to nine million annually between 2011-16, according to the report.
“A significant proportion of migrants and the poor in cities are employed in the informal economy which makes them vulnerable, especially in times such as the covid-19 crisis. The recent covid-19 crisis has compounded the vulnerabilities faced by the migrants and the urban poor. Issuance of guiding principles for urban decongestion on account of rapid growth of urban agglomerations also need consideration,” the report said.
The report has pointed out that the recently promulgated One Nation, One Ration Card scheme is critical for enabling access to subsidised food grains across the country, irrespective of the place of origin of migrants. This interoperability has the potential of becoming a conduit for delivery of other public services too.
So far India has recorded over 8,83,193 covid-19 cases and 23243 deaths majorly in the elderly.
The report has also highlighted the vulnerability of the elderly to health crisis such as covid-19. India is home to over 103.9 million people aged 60 and above who constitute 8.6% of the total population. By 2026, this population segment is expected to increase to 173.2 million or 12.4% of the population, with consequent increase in the dependency ratio. Locomotor disability and visual disability are most prevalent among the elderly. “Higher morbidity and greater burden of ailments makes this group vulnerable to health shocks as seen during the covid-19 outbreak,” the report said.
India presented its VNR along with other second time presenters like Bangladesh, Georgia, Kenya, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria and Uganda.
Currently, there are 3,01,609 active cases and they are all under medical supervision either in hospitals, COVID care centres or home isolation, the union health ministry said. “India’s fatality rate has also dropped to 2.64% and 30 States have a fatality rate lower than the national average. During the last 24 hours, 2,19,103 samples were tested. The cumulative number of samples tested, as of now is 1,18,06,256. The testing per million is continuously growing. It is 8555.25 today,” said the ministry statement.
“It is an opportune time for the country to implement approaches to accelerate progress across multiple sectors to meet the SDGs, and requires technical assistance and partnerships to support its efforts to do so,” said Dr Sujeet Ranjan, Executive Director, The Coalition for Food & Nutrition Security (CFNS).