Recently, I was talking to the caretaker of our flat "Ramu" who has been working here for twenty years. "Ramu," told me, he is eager to meet his family, whom he has not seen for two years. He has no money nor any leaves to visit his village.
In India, millions of skilled/Unskilled workers live far from their families to make living; and to support their families. How is this culture damaging the social fabric of the country? Let us see in the following paragraphs.
Social Cost - Migrant workforce lives far from their families and relatives. It promotes alienation where they are cut off emotionally from their loved ones. Although telecommunication can help, it is not as effective as face-to-face conversations.
2. Increased Ecological footprints - Increased population in the cities, especially in the metro cities have put tremendous pressure on its resources and regeneration capacity, making cities an urban mess. Increased ecological footprints are deteriorating air quality, water quality, and urban infrastructure.
3. Decreased political accountability - As qualified and literate people are moving away from their hometowns; the social capital of these areas is in decline. The remaining population does not have much clarity regarding the political processes and has the technical caliber to understand the consequences of political decisions. They become prey to the political narrative set by the politicians and end up harming their quality of life.
4. Intraregional disparities - Migration has enhanced intraregional disparities and fueled inflationary pressure in the migrating cities. Most of the money is concentrated in tier1 cities, leaving tier2, tier3, and villages money starved. It fuels high inflation in tier1 cities. Mostly, the sectors of housing, health, and education.
5. Congestion/ Crowding of resources - The cities have limited carrying capacity: Additional population leads to congested roads, colonies, and choked drainage systems.
How can remote work help?
Reduce migration crisis - When work from home is available to the educated section of society, most of them may remain in their hometown. It will help in reducing the migration crisis and will promote inclusive development.
2. Reduce mental health disorders - Initially, migration helps people enjoy their life on their terms. Young people often feel liberated from family interventions and enjoy the freedom to explore their lives as they wish to do. But, after a certain period, this freedom transforms into alienation. Some become alienated in crowded cities where nobody is there to cater to their emotional needs. Zero to no emotional support drags them towards mental health disorders and even leads to suicidal tendencies in some cases.
3. Helps in building political capital - Educated and informed youth can better understand developmental work activities in their hometown. They are better equipped to question the intent, procedure, and outcomes of political decisions. It will help ensure overall political awareness in their society that otherwise remains ignorant due to lack of knowledge.
4. Ensures Inclusive Development - Our political agenda talks about the inclusive and equitable development of all the Indian states. Remote work helps workers spend their money in their neighborhood that otherwise remains fund starved. Remote workers who will be earning higher income would be spending on luxury needs like entertainment, world-class healthcare, and education. It will promote the development of quality infrastructure in the cities. And it will provide numerous job opportunities that the government can not provide.
5. The lesser burden on Tier 1 cities - Road congestion, Drainage issues, High housing prices, and urban heat islands are some of the common problems that metro cities are facing right now. The lesser burden on metro cities will help them provide quality urban life to their residents. It will help reduce the ecological footprints of these cities and will make them more livable in the long term.
While remote work may not be the panacea for every problem we face. Yet, it can be a way to solve many problems in society at large. Life should be about choices rather than following a rigid structure or blindly following an irrational narrative.
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