• Thomson Reuters Foundation

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When power loom operator Lokanath Swain boarded a bus home after a 40-day wait in the Indian textile hub of Surat, he took a silent vow — to never return to his workplace of two decades.

Like millions of migrant workers left jobless by India’s strict coronavirus lockdown, Swain was left penniless and facing starvation and could only afford the 1,700 km (1,100 miles) trip back to eastern Odisha state after his family wired him money.

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