• 59% of women migrants from STs backgrounds and 41% of SCs background were short term and circulatory migrants in comparison to just 18% of migrant women workers of upper caste origin. 39% of women migrants from Other Backward Classes (OBCs) backgrounds were also short term and circulatory migrants, although the majority (65%) were long-term and medium-term migrants in comparison to 43% of SC and 32% of ST women in these latter categories $
Keeping track of mass migration is an enumerator’s nightmare. Even the Census of India can’t always get this accurately. Before a government agency is able to take note of distress or seasonal migration, people often come back for the harvest season or move elsewhere. Mass seasonal migration has become an almost fixed event for some industries like brick manufacturing or sugarcane farming. Distress and seasonal migration invariably means no education for children, no voting rights for adults, and missing out on BPL facilities at either place of birth or the site of work.
The worst sufferers of seasonal and distress migration are the poorest of poor, the tribals (STs) and the Dalits (SCs), who invariably have meager base of human or physical assets. This is particularly so in the most backward and mostly rain-fed districts of Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, MP, Karnataka and Maharashtra. It is quite common for migrant women to work as agricultural labourers and for men to seek employment in the unorganized sector.
Distress migration also fuels a chaotic growth of unorganized/ informal industries and haphazard expansion of urban slums. Owners of small and informal factories love migrant workers. For they are more willing to work for less wages, are less likely to be absent for trivial reasons, are dependent on labour contractors and are powerless compared to local workforce. Their vulnerability and low wages may be of short-term advantage to the industry, but in the long run they fail to participate in India’s growth story by earning more and consuming more. That is why it is often argued that rural-urban migration can lead to prosperity only when a ‘pull factor’ of better paid work replaces the push-factor of rural poverty.
Between 1991 and 2001, as many as 73 million rural people have migrated (displaced from their place of birth) to elsewhere. But the majority of these people (53 million) moved to other villages and less than a third (20 million) to urban areas and mostly in search of jobs. The number of seasonal or cyclic migration is around 2 crore but some experts believe that the actual number could be ten times the official figure.
According to the report titled: Migration and Gender in India by Indrani Mazumdar, N Neetha and Indu Agnihotri, Economic and Political Weekly, March 9, 2013, Vol xlvIiI No 10:
According to Migration in India, 2007-08, National Sample Survey, MOSPI,
A. Household migration during last 365 days
• Proportion of households migrated to rural areas was very low, nearly 1 per cent. In urban areas, on the other hand, the migrated households constituted nearly 3 percent of all urban households.
• Migration of households was largely confined within State: 78 percent of the migrant households in rural areas and 72 per cent of the migrant households in the urban areas had last usual place of residence within the State.
• Migration of households in both the rural and urban areas was dominated by the migration of households from rural areas. Nearly 57 per cent of urban migrant households migrated from rural areas whereas 29 per cent of rural migrant households migrated from urban areas.
• In both rural and urban areas, majority of the households migrated for employment related reasons. Nearly 55 per cent of the migrant households in rural areas and 67 per cent of the migrant households in the urban areas had migrated for employment related reasons.
• The migration rate (proportion of migrants in the population) in the urban areas (35 per cent) was far higher than the migration rate in the rural areas (26 per cent).
• Magnitude of male migration rate was far lower than female migration rate, in both rural and urban areas. In rural areas nearly 48 per cent of the females were migrants while the male migration rate was only 5 per cent, and in the urban areas, the male migration rate was nearly 26 per cent compared to female migration rate of 46 per cent.
• Migration rate in rural areas was lowest among the scheduled tribe (ST), nearly 24 per cent, and it was highest among those classified in the social group ‘others’, nearly 28 per cent.
• In urban areas, migration rate was lowest among other backward class (OBC) nearly 33 per cent, and it was highest among those classified in the social group ‘others’, nearly 38 per cent.
• Migration rate was found to be lowest for bottom MPCE decile class in both rural and urban areas and there is an increasing trend in rate of migration with the increase in level of living, with the migration rate attaining peak in top decile class. Migration rate, for rural male, for the bottom MPCE decile class was nearly 3 per cent and 17 per cent in the top decile class. For rural females, migration rate was 39 per cent in the bottom MPCE decile class and 59 per cent in top decile class.
• For urban males the migration rate for the bottom MPCE decile class was 10 per cent which reached to 46 per cent in top decile class and for urban females the migration rate for the bottom and top decile classes was 36 per cent and 56 per cent, respectively.
• For rural male, migration rate was lowest (nearly 4 per cent) among the ‘not literates’, and it was nearly 14 per cent among those with educational level ‘graduate and above’. For urban males also, it was lowest among the ‘not literates’ (17 per cent), and 38 per cent for those with educational level ‘graduate or above’ level.
• Among the migrants in the rural areas, nearly 91 per cent had migrated from the rural areas and 8 per cent had migrated from the urban areas, whereas among the migrants in the urban areas, nearly 59 per cent migrated from the rural areas and 40 per cent from urban areas.
• Nearly 60 per cent of urban male migrants and 59 per cent of urban female migrants had migrated from rural areas.
• The most prominent reason for female migration in both the rural and urban areas was marriage: for 91 per cent of rural female migrants and 61 per cent of the urban female migrants the reason was marriage.
• The reason for migration for male migrant, was dominated by employment related reasons, in both rural and urban areas. Nearly 29 per cent of rural male migrants and 56 per cent of urban male migrants had migrated due to employment related reasons.
• A higher percentage of the persons were found to be engaged in economic activities after migration: for males the percentage of workers increased from 51 per cent before migration to 63 per cent after migration in rural areas and from 46 per cent to 70 per cent in urban areas, while for females it increased from 20 per cent to 33 per cent in rural areas and from 8 per cent to 14 per cent in urban areas.
• For rural males, self-employment had emerged as main recourse to employment after migration. The share of self-employment in total migrants increased from 16 per cent before migration to 27 per cent after migration, while the shares of regular employees and casual labours remained almost stable, in both before and after migration.
• In case of urban males, the percentage of regular wage/salaried employees has shown a quantum jump (from 18 per cent before migration to 39 per cent after migration), besides an increase in the share of self-employment after migration (from 17 per cent to 22 per cent), and casual labour as a means of employment had reduced in importance after migration (from 11 per cent to 8 per cent).
• Rate of return migration (proportion of return migrants in the population) for males in rural areas was significantly higher than females: 24 per cent for males and 11 per cent for females.
• In the urban areas, the rate of return migration did not differ much for males and females: it was 12 per cent for males and 10 per cent for females.
C. Short-term Migrants
• The rate of short-term migration (proportion of short-term migrants in the population) was 1.7 per cent in the rural areas and almost negligible (much less than 1 per cent) in the urban areas. Moreover, in the rural areas, the rate was nearly 3 per cent for the males and less than 1 per cent for females.
• In rural areas, for both males and females short-term migrants, more than half were casual workers in their usual principal activity status.
• The share of the rural self-employed males in total short-term male migration was also significant, nearly 32 per cent, and rural females who were out of labour force in the usual principal activity status, shared nearly 24 per cent of the total short-term female migration.
D. Out- Migrants
• Out-migration rate (proportion of out-migration in the population) for males was nearly 9 per cent from rural areas and 5 per cent from urban areas. The rates for females were much higher compared to males in both the rural and urban areas. It was 17 per cent among rural females and 11 per cent among urban females.
• A relatively higher percentage of female out-migrants, from both the rural and urban areas, took up residence within the State: nearly 89 per cent for rural female out-migrants and 80 per cent for urban female out-migrants had residence within the State.
• Majority of the male from both the rural and urban areas had migrated out for employment related reasons which accounted for nearly 80 per cent of the outmigrants from the rural areas and 71 per cent of the out-migrants from the urban areas.
• For female out-migrants from both rural and urban areas, the reason for outmigration was predominantly for marriage, which accounted for nearly 84 per cent of female out-migrants from both the rural and urban areas.
• In case of rural male out-migrants, residing abroad, nearly 95 per cent were engaged in economic activities compared to 80 per cent of those residing in India and for male out-migrants from urban areas nearly 93 per cent of those residing abroad were engaged in economic activities compared to 73 per cent of those residing in India.
E. Out-migrant Remittances
• Among the male out-migrants from the rural areas and residing abroad, nearly 82 per cent had sent remittances during the last 365 days, while only 58 per cent of those residing in India had sent remittances.
• Among male out-migrants from the urban areas, nearly 69 per cent of those residing abroad had sent remittances compared to only 41 per cent of those residing in India.
• On an average, during the last 365 days, a male out-migrant from rural areas and residing abroad had sent 4 times the amount of remittances sent by an out-migrant residing in India: while on an average nearly Rs. 52,000 was remitted by those residing abroad, the amount was nearly Rs. 13,000 for those residing in India.
• Out-migrants from the urban areas had remitted higher amount, during the last 365 days, to their former households compared to those from rural areas. On an average a male out-migrant from the urban areas, and residing abroad, had remitted nearly Rs. 73,000 during the last 365 days, which was higher by nearly Rs. 21000 of the amount remitted by a male out-migrant from rural areas and residing abroad. On an average, during the last 365 days, male out-migrants from urban areas and residing in India had remitted on an average nearly Rs. 28,000.
• The amount of remittances from the female out-migrants from both the rural and urban areas was lower compared to their male counterparts, irrespective of whether the female out-migrants are residing in India or abroad.
According to Managing the Exodus: Grounding Migration in India, which has been prepared by American India Foundation,(http://www.aifoundation.org/documents/Report-ManagingtheExodus.pdf):
• Migration is defined as the displacement of a person who leaves their place of birth or of residence for another place, most often remaining in country. In 2001, 309 million persons were migrants based on place of last residence, which constitute about 30% of the total population of the country. This figure indicates an increase of around 37% from the 1991 census, which recorded 226 million migrants. It is estimated that 98 million people moved within the country between 1991 & 2001
• Traditional rural-urban migration has seen a gradual increase, with its share in total migration rising from 16.5% to 21.1% between 1971 and 2001.
• There has been an increase of urban to urban migration from 13.6% to 14.7% over three decades (1971-2001).
• In 2001, rural to rural migration (during the last decade) has accounted for 54.7% of total migration
• The last decade the urban to rural migration figure stands as 6.2 million people, i.e. approximately 6% of the population that moved between 1991-2001.
• 'Seasonal migration' has long been practiced in the rural areas, particularly among landless laborers and marginal farmers with limited livelihood options. Livelihood opportunities, its dearth in the rural and abundance in the urban areas are therefore responsible for the majority of migration. Media exposure and growth of the metros is another reason that allures people to move from rural to urban areas. In tribal regions, intrusion of outsiders, the pattern of settlement, displacement and deforestation, are significant to drive the phenomenon of migration. Marriage accounts for more than half of the migrants.
• In India, 73 million people in rural areas have migrated from 1991 – 2001; of which 53 million have moved to other villages and 20 million to urban areas – a majority of them in search of work. These figures do not include temporary or seasonal migration.
• Poor states such as Orissa, Bihar, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh that experienced rapid demographic growth in urban areas were also those that reported low productivity and high unemployment in agrarian sectors as well as heavy pressure on urban infrastructural facilities, suggesting the presence of push factors behind rural-urban migration.
• Caste, kinship bonds, and other kinds of village networks do help rural job seekers to arrange urban-based jobs.
• Migration is associated with rising informalisation of work and growth of urban slums.
• By 2021, India will have the largest concentration of mega-cities in the world; with a population exceeding 10 million people The UN projects that half of the world population will live in urban areas by the end of 2008, primarily due to urbanization and migration.
• National averages suggested that about 205 households live in each notified slum and 112 in each nonnotified slums.
• The total number of slums in urban India are approximately 52,000 with 51% of the slums being notified slums.
• It is estimated that every seventh person living in the urban areas is a slum dweller.
• About 65% of slums are built on public land, owned mostly by local bodies, state government etc.
• Maharashtra has the highest number of urban slums in the country totaling 173 – 113 notified and 60 non-notified
• Number of people internally displaced by conflict or violence as of December 2009 is 27.1 million
• Over half of the world’s internally displaced persons (IDPs) were in five countries: Sudan, Colombia, Iraq, DRC and Somalia. The region with most IDPs was Africa, with 11.6 million.
• South and South-East Asia and the Americas accounted for most of the increase, with their respective totals 800,000 and 500,000 higher. These increases mirrored the year-on-year growth in the internally displaced populations of Pakistan and Colombia.
• Since 1997, the number of IDPs has steadily increased from around 17 million to over 27 million in 2009.
• In 21 countries, people had been born and grown to adulthood in displacement.
• Internal armed conflict, rather than international armed conflict, has caused most internal displacement in the last decade.
• Number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in India is at least 500,000
• This figure includes those people displaced since 1990 by separatist violence targeting the Hindu minority in Jammu and Kashmir, and by shelling between Indian and Pakistani forces along Kashmir’s “line of control”; those displaced in states of the north-east by conflicts ongoing since 1947 between state and ethnic or secessionist groups, and by inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic violence; victims of the conflict between Naxalite insurgents and government security forces and armed vigilantes in Chhattisgarh State; victims of communal violence between the majority Hindu populations in Gujarat and Orissa States and the States’ respective Muslim and Christian minorities; and people displaced in West Bengal by violence related to a proposed development project.
• In 2009, people were newly displaced by armed conflict and violence in the north-east (Manipur, Assam, and Mizoram States) and in Orissa State.
• Causes of internal displacement in India are: armed conflict, generalized violence and human rights violations
• Tribal IDPs in camps in Chhattisgarh face the risk of attacks by both government forces and Naxalite insurgents. Muslim IDPs in Gujarat continue to endure very poor living conditions and they are increasingly at risk of losing their original homes and land, which have been taken over by Hindu extremist groups.
• Christian IDPs in Orissa risk being forced to convert to Hinduism if they return to their homes. Displaced women in Assam and Manipur have increasingly been forced into prostitution in order to support their families in the absence of husbands who have left in search of work.
• After living in displacement for more than 15 years, displaced Kashmiri Pandit families risk losing their cultural identity, while the government refers to them as “migrants”.
• Conflict-induced IDPs enjoy no recognition under India’s national laws. The responsibility to protect them is generally left to state authorities, who are often unaware of their rights or reluctant to offer support, particularly in cases where they played a role in causing the displacement.
According to the 11th Five Year Plan, Planning Commission
The fact that the numbers of the poor have declined in rural areas, and increased in urban areas over the last three decades suggests that to escape rural poverty, the poor migrate to urban areas. In fact, the total number of migrant workers in India in 1999–2000 was 10.27 crore—a staggering number. The number of seasonal or cyclical migrants in India may be 2 crore or so.
According to the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector--NCEUS (2007), Report on Conditions of Work and Promotion of Livelihoods in the Unorganised Sector, http://nceus.gov.in/Condition_of_workers_sep_2007.pdf
• Women migration for employment was most prominent among agricultural labourers, while male migrants were mainly the non-agricultural workers Seasonality of agricultural operations is one of the factors that lead to migration of agricultural labourers in search of employment during lean periods.
• The NCRL (1991) indicates that uneven development of agriculture across different states of the country has led to the migration of labourers from low wage regions/states to states and regions where both the demand and wages are higher.
• This is particularly so after the Green Revolution when higher agricultural development led to migration of labour from states such as Bihar to Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
• Low rate of public investment in agricultural infrastructure in the less-developed regions has resulted in highly uneven development of agriculture between different regions of the country.
• As per the NCRL there were more than 10 million seasonal/circular rural migrant labourers in the country. Growth of input intensive agriculture and commercialisation of agriculture since the late 1960s has led to peak periods of labour demand, often also coinciding with a decline in local labour deployment.
• Migration also takes place when workers in source areas lack suitable options for employment/ livelihood. This may be particularly true when there has been stagnancy in employment generation in agriculture during the nineties along with a slow pace of diversification to non-farm employment in rural areas.
• Mass migration by socially and economically relegated groups such as SCs/STs who have poor physical and human asset base in states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra are noted
Large Dam Projects and Displacement in India, produced by South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), http://www.sandrp.in/dams/Displac_largedams.pdf show:
• India is the third largest dam builder country in the world. It now has over 3600 large dams and over 700 more under construction.
• The World Bank notes that though large dams constitute only 26.6% of the total WB funded projects causing displacement, the resulting displacement makes up 62.8% of the total number of people displaced
• It is also apparent that project authorities do not consider the problems of displacement and rehabilitation as important parts of the project. The primary concerns are engineering specifications and electricity and irrigation benefits.
• The number of persons displaced by the Hirakud dam was between 1.1 lakh and 1.6 lakh, while the official figures are only 1.1 lakh.
• The latest figures of government estimates over 41,000 families will get displaced due to reservoir constructed under the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP). About 24,000 khatedaars (land-holding families, meaning thereby, a much larger number of families, since one joint land holder generally represents many more families) will be seriously affected by canals under the SSP. Similarly, over 10,000 fisherfolk families will lose their livelihood in downstream areas due to complete stoppage of riverflow in non-monsoon months due to the dam.
• A survey of 54 projects estimated the people displaced by large dams in last 50 years to be 33 million.
• According to the World Bank, an average of 13,000 people are displaced by each new large dam constructed currently
• According to conservative estimates of the Government of India, less than a quarter of estimated 40 million people displaced by large dams in fifty years have been resettled in India
According to In the Name of National Pride (2009), which has been prepared by the People's Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), http://www.pudr.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_details&Itemid=63&gid=179:
• According to union sources, there are 6,000 workers employed at the Commonwealth Games Village (CWGV) site. According to the Regional Labour Commissioner (Central), there were 4,106 workers in all, out of which 229 were skilled, 833 were semi skilled and 3,004 were unskilled. As per some of the workers, there were up to 15,000 workers on site at one point. Maintaining ambiguity in the number of contract workers is one of the methods by which contractors escape accountability.
• Workers at the Commonwealth Games Village (CWGV) site claim that 70 to 200 labourers have died at this site due to work related mishaps. Union representatives, however, said that there have been about 20 fatal accidents, a much lower number, but nevertheless an alarming one.
• The workers at the Commonwealth Games Village (CWGV) site are from Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, eastern Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal. Some of the workers are from Punjab as well. There are Bihari workers from Maharastra as well who left Pune after the anti-Bihari (anti North-Indian) movement was launched by Raj Thackaray
• Most of the contractors or sub-contractors at the Commonwealth sites have not obtained licenses under Section 8 of the Inter-state Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act 1979 (ISMW Act).
• Most of the infrastructure development work of the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) have been contracted out to multinational real estate and construction companies, having severe implications for the rights of contract workers employed.
• The unskilled workers at this site are getting Rs.85 to Rs.100 per day for 8 hours of work as against the stipulated minimum wages of Rs. 142 till February 09.
• About 5% of the unskilled workers at site are women and they are paid slightly lower than their male counterparts for the same kind of work.
• The workers at Commonwealth sites seem to know very little about the company that employs them. Most of the workers do not possess an identity card. They only get a gate pass, which does not have the name of the company or of the contractor they are associated with or their date of joining or any other details.
• The mode and schedule of payment is also absolutely arbitrary and exploitative. Full payment of wages is never made to any worker. Workers do not get any pay slips or receipts for the wages paid to them. They are made to sign in a register that the contractor maintains, which does not include details such as the amount paid or the number of days and hours of work completed. Workers live under constant fear of never receiving their dues.
• The contractors rarely pay the full pending amounts at the time of final settlement (which they refer to as ‘final’).