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According to Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2009, produced by Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre and Norwegian Refugee Council, (click here to access)

• Number of countries covered by this report is 54

• 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, please click here to access:

• The National Commission on Rural Labour-NCRL (1991) report suggests that labourers and land-poor farmers have a high propensity to migrate as seasonal labourers. These migrants are highly disadvantaged as they are poverty ridden with very little bargaining power. They are employed in the unorganized sector, where the lack of regulation compounds their vulnerability. They are largely ignored by the government and NGO programmes and labour laws dealing with them are weakly implemented.


• 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:  

• In India, the government, which is the planner, financier, developer and owner of numerous large dam projects, does not have figures of people displaced by large dams, either since independence in 1947 or in toto.


• 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=d

• Severe violation of labour laws could be found at the sites of Commonwealth Games


• 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’).


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