Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus on Wednesday said COVID-19 has demonstrated the weaknesses in society and economics in a "very big way" specially in the informal sector where a huge migration of people was seen during the lockdown. Yunus, an economist, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for founding the Grameen Bank and pioneering the concepts of microcredit and microfinance.
Addressing the third Laureates and Leaders for Children Summit on the Fair Share for Children, the Nobel laureate from Bangladesh said specifically in India it was seen how migrants walked back to their homes after losing their incomes in the lockdown. "COVID has demonstrated the weaknesses in our society and economics in a very big way. One … is the massive migration of informal sector people who were working on a daily income basis. They soon ran out of their income and couldn't feed themselves and pay rent specifically in India so they walked back home miles because there was no income here," he said.
Yunus was addressing a session on 'Food Insecurity during COVID-19: Ending Child Hunger and Stopping the Virus for Good'. "So this is one issue we have to raise that how to make income possible wherever you are born," he said.
The coronavirus-triggered lockdown has had a devastating impact on the economy as well as on the livelihoods of lakhs of migrant workers. The plight of migrant workers who were walking from urban centres across the country to their villages hundreds of kilometres away had grabbed headlines for almost two months.
On the impact of COVID-19 on children, Yunus said children are not isolated from the effects of the pandemic. "We need to pay attention (on nutrition) but focusing on children alone will not lead us to a solution. Child and mother are together so if the mother is hungry the child remains hungry too so we have to address families who are in shortage of food. We have to think about the families," he said. "In the long term, we need to look at families as complete bodies. Affordability of food is important here, not availability of food and that is where we have to focus all our attention," he added.