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According to the Concept Note prepared for the national seminar entitled: 'Contesting Spaces & Negotiating Development: A Dialogue on Domestic Migrants, State and Inclusive Citizenship in India’ (25-26 March 2016), to be held at Center for Public Policy, Habitat & Human Development, School of Development Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai) (please click here to access the Concept Note):

• Some estimates shows that there are around 100 million temporary domestic migrants in India.

• According to Census of India 2001 and National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) 2007-08 estimates, three out of ten Indians can be classified as domestic migrants who have moved across district or state lines. In 2001, 309 million persons were migrants based on place of last residence, which constituted about 30 percent of the total population of the country. (Data from the latest census is unavailable).

• The major reasons for migration have been work/employment, business, and education, marriage, moved at birth, and moved with family/household. Scholars argue that government data tends to underestimate the flows of seasonal/circular migration, a stream dominated by people belonging to socio-economically deprived groups with an extremely low asset base and poor educational attainments and skill sets. It is this floating segment of the migrant population, mostly comprising people working seasonally in brick kilns, construction, plantations, mines and factories that is most vulnerable to exploitation by labour contractors and faces relatively greater hurdles in participating in elections and politics.

• Domestic migrants, especially so-called un-domiciled domestic migrants, suffer from a lack of formal residency rights; lack of identity proof; lack of adequate housing; low-paid, insecure or hazardous work; no access to state-provided welfare services including denial of rights to participate in elections even though elections in India have acquired the mythical status of ‘the greatest show in Earth’. Thus, these exclusionary practices lead to their disenfranchisement and treatment as second-class citizens.

Rural Expert

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