Thousands on the Move
There are usually around 100 million unskilled or semi-skilled migrant workers in India, according to a government survey for 2016-17 — around a fifth of the country’s workforce.
A lack of jobs, particularly in poor states such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, forces them to head to major cities and wealthier southern states.
They live in cramped apartments, working long hours for a few dollars a day in often unsafe conditions with no social security.
Any money left over after covering their expenses is sent back to their families.
Since many are unregistered, it is unclear how many have now traveled home and how many are on the road, but media reports suggest there are tens of thousands on the move.
Kana Ram, a district official at a border post between the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat, said 21,000 people showed up on Thursday alone.
“The numbers have dropped significantly today but we are still getting around 500 people per hour,” Ram told AFP on Friday.