Migration

Migration

This article deals with ‘ Migration .’ This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here .

What is Migration ?

  • Migration refers to  spatial mobility between one geographical unit and another , generally involving change of residence for a considerable period of time .
  • The Census defines a migrant as a person residing in a place other than his/her place of birth or one who has changed his/ her usual place of residence to another place .
  • Migration includes both additive (at place of destination)  as well as separative  (at place of origin) aspects.

Types of Migration in India

  • India has witnessed the waves of migrants coming to the country from Central and West Asia and also from Southeast Asia. In fact, the history of India is a history of waves of migrants coming and settling one after another in different parts of the country. Similarly, large numbers of people from India too have been migrating to places in search of better opportunities especially to the countries of the Middle East, Western Europe, America, Australia and East and South East Asia.
  • Migration can be divided into the following types on the basis of origin and destination:
    1. Rural to Rural R → R (mostly in cases of marriages only) 
    2. Rural to Urban R → U (also known as Urbanisation)  
    3. Urban to Urban U → U
    4. Urban to Rural U → R (very unlikely. It includes doctor or any govt employee going to village for job or reverse migration of the earlier migrant)
  • Other basis of division can be whether within country or outside country
    • Internal Migration – Within same country . Which can  further  be divided into
      • Intra- state : Within State
      • Inter-state  : Between States
    • International Migration – From one country to other country.
  • On the basis of duration
    • Permanent Migration
    • Semi-Permanent (when due to lack of economic resources, people are not able to sustain their living in the destination regions and are forced to migrate back) .
    • Seasonal / Circular ( because of rainfed nature of our agriculture along with the lack of employment opportunities, people migrate to other areas during lean season and come back to the source region once that period is over).

Trends of migration in India

According to Census 2011, 45.36 crore people i.e. 37% of the population or every third citizen of  India   is a migrant —now settled in a place different from their previous residence.  

1 . Intrastate Migration

  • About three-fourths of all intrastate migrants were females corroborating the fact that  marriage is the prime reason for such migration. Most people, 49%, migrate for marriage (while globally, migration is attempt by people to survive and prosper, in India, marriage appears to be the biggest reason why people migrate).
  • Other reasons
    • Rural to Urban in search of good job and educational facilities.
    • Urban to Urban : Due to job transfers etc.

2 . Interstate Migration

  • From underdeveloped states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar etc. to  comparatively developed regions like Maharashtra , Punjab, NCR Delhi, Chandigarh etc.
  • As per census 2001, Maharashtra occupied first place in the list with 2.3 million net in-migrants, followed by Delhi, Gujarat and Haryana. On the other hand, Uttar Pradesh (-2.6 million) and Bihar (-1.7 million) were the states, which had the largest number of net out-migrants from the state.

Interstate Migration is also of two types with different Destination

2.1 Rural as Destination

  • Mostly agricultural labourers from underdeveloped states coming to Punjab, Haryana etc.
Migration

2.2 Urban as Destination

  • These include groups of industrial labourers .
  • Post LPG reforms and ICT revolutions , Migration of skilled professionals in IT sectors  to Bangalore, NCR , Mysore, Hyderabad, Chandigarh etc. where BPOs are  situated .

3 . International Migration

  • Large scale international migration is seen from whole country but especially from Kerala & Punjab .
Kerala Mainly to Gulf Nations
Punjab Mainly to Canada, UK, Australia and to lesser extend to Gulf nations
  • Benefit that these regions are getting huge remittances . But it is an issue of worry because of high brain-drain.
International Migration

Side Topic : Curious Case of Mexican International Migrants

  • Mexico’s emigration problem is a unique one, with more than 98% of all Mexican migrants living in the U.S.A, the country with which Mexico shares a border that runs 3110 km in length.
  • The Mexican emigration rate increased substantially since the 1960s and, with more than 11% of Mexicans living abroad, Mexico is the country with the largest number of emigrants in the world.
Mexican Migration to USA

Side Topic : Brain Drain

  • Brain drain is related to selective migration of educated people . Some countries are losing the most educated segment of their population. It can be both a benefit for the receiving country and a problem to the country of origin.

Impact on receiving country

  • Receiving country gets highly qualified labour which contributes to the economy right away.
  • It promotes economic growth in strategic sectors especially science and technology.
  • Receiving country doesn’t have to pay education and health costs, for example, 30% of Mexicans with a PhD are in the US.

Country of origin

  • Education and health costs are not paid back to the country of origin. It is losing potential leaders and talent.
  • It has long term impact on economic growth. It has the possibility of getting remittances. Many brain drain migrants have skills which they can’t use at home. The resources and technology may not be available there. The specific labour market is not big enough.

Theories of Migration

1 . Ravenstein’s Gravity Model

  • Movement of population gravitates around the centres of socio-economic opportunities . 
  • Distance Decay Principle says that ‘As  distance increases , the tendency to migrate decreases’.

2. Pull-Push Hypothesis

Migration is the result of interplay between expulsive forces at  place of origin and attractive forces at  place of destination.

Push Factors 1. Famine & Floods
2. War
3. Huge Crime Rate
4. Low Jobs
5. Harsh Climate
Pull Factors 1. Better Jobs
2. Education
3. Cleanliness
4. Better Standard of living
5. Better Climate

3. Cost and Benefit Model

Difference between cost and benefits that will accrue after migration determines Migration.

Cost of Migration 1. Cost of travelling
2. Costs of searching job
3. Getting training
4. Psychic costs  etc.
Benefit 1. More earnings
2. Better living standard
3. Enhancement of prestige etc.

Causes of Migration

1 . Push Factors

Factors forcing person to leave his residence and move to some other place

1.1 Economic Causes

  • Lack of jobs
  • Rural Poverty
  • Low levels of Economic development .
  • Development led migration => building dam can force number of villages to be evacuated .
  • Pressure of population resulting in a high man to land ratio .

1.2 Socio-Cultural Causes

  • Caste System : Dalits feel suffocated in villages and hence migrate  .
  • Higher pressure on limited land in bigger families .
  • Marriage : Most people, 49%, migrate for marriage purposes.
  • Family conflicts also cause migration.

1.3 Political Causes

  • Targeted violence against community create fear among the survivors and force them to migrate => Eg: Large Sikh migration from Delhi to Punjab post 1984 riots and exodus of Kashmiri pandits from the valley.
  • Adoption of the jobs for ‘sons of the soil policy’ by the State governments . Eg : The rise of Shiv Sena in Bombay, with its hatred for the migrants and the occasional eruption of violence in the name of local parochial patriotism.

2. Pull Factors

Migrants are lured by the attractive conditions in the new place.

2.1 Economic Causes

  • Economic opportunities & Jobs in cities and abroad .
  • Better standard of living, health & educational facilities etc. 
  • In recent years, the high rate of movement of people from India to the USA, Canada & Middle-East is due to  better employment opportunities, higher wages & better amenities .

2.2 Socio-Cultural Causes

  • Caste don’t play much role in urban areas (due to urban anonymity).

2.3 Political Causes

  • Political freedom in western countries.

3. Pull Back Factors

  • This has been a recent phenomenon. With better opportunities for employment (due to MGNREGA and other schemes, agricultural revolutions) individuals are pulled back to their native places.

Side Topic :  Internal Migration due to disasters

  • India had the highest number of internally displaced people (IDP) due disasters  (five million) in the world in 2019 .
  • 5,90,000 people in India live are internally displaced due to disasters in India as a result of various cyclones like Fani, Vayu, Bulbul etc along with south west monsoon and droughts in various parts.
  • IDPs are different from refugees in that, having not crossed a border, they are not typically covered by international refugee protections. They remain subjected to national laws, and as such are afforded less protection .

Characteristics of the Migrants in India

  • Age selectivity : Most migrants, especially in developing countries are predominantly young adults. Also a major part of the female migration consequential to marriage occurs at the young adult ages.
  • Chain migration : Migrants have a tendency to move to those places where they have contacts and where the previous migrants serve as links for the new migrants and chain is thus formed in the process  .
  • Among women, as expected, marriage was the most important reason for migration, followed by associational migration.

Consequences of Migration

1 . On the destination

  • Creates pressure on urban infrastructure due to increased traffic, competition for housing facilities & water etc.
  • Create social and ethnic tensions due to clash of interests between  migrants and  locals due to rise in prejudice and xenophobia against migrants .
  • Mismanaged migration leads to formation of slums and ghettos and  act as source for outbreak of diseases .
  • It leads to skewed sex ratio in favour of males .

2. On the source

  • Separation of individual migrants from the origin areas & kinsmen .
  • Results in loss of human resource for the state, especially if the migration is of employable people.
  • Migrants acts as agent of social change. Internalised urban values are  transmitted to native place .
  • Impact on women : It leads to ‘Feminisation of labour & agriculture’  at source .   Because of the male migration from Kerala, wives suffer from neurosis, hysteria and depression.
  • Remittances sent by the migrants has the most important impact. Remittances are mainly used for food, repayment of debts, treatment, marriages, children’s education, agricultural inputs, construction of houses, etc. For thousands of the poor villages of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh etc. internal remittance works as life blood for their economy.
  • Migration leads to evolution of composite culture and broadening of the mental horizon of the people at large.
  • Migration has also changed the demographic profile of the rural areas corroborated by following facts
    • Reduced family size among the migrants as compared to non-migrants. The separation of the rural male migrants from their wives for long durations tends to reduce the birth rate.
    • Ageing of Villages as migrants are young leaving old age in villages .  
    • Increased Sex Ratio in villages as men usually migrate leaving females behind.

3. On migrants

  • Problem of document and identity which deprives them of social security benefits and government socio-economic programs.
  • Migration and slums are inextricably linked. Most slums are inhabited by the migrants. Such slums are deprived of basic healthcare and sanitation facilities. 
  • Limited access to Formal Financial Services results in them being exploited by their employers and they face risk of theft and personal injury in saving and transferring their earnings.
  • They face political exclusion because most of the times they don’t have voting rights at the destination. Further they are target of political rhetoric of local identity politics and  subjected to violence and abuse.
Consequences of Migration

Legal measures

  • Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979, required all establishments who hired inter-state migrants to be registered, as well as all contractors who recruited these workers to be licensed.
  • During Covid times (in 2020) and problems faced by the migrants during that time, need was felt to create a database to map migrant workers scattered across the country. Hence, Government has  decided to create a database of migrant workers using existing  databases of government schemes such as MGNREGA, and the one nation-one ration card .

Way forward

  • There is a legislation i.e. Interstate Migrant Workmen Act, 1979 which aims to safeguard migrants . However , it is obsolete and hardly enforced . Need of the hour is the judicial implementation of the act in letter and spirit .
  • Rather than treating migration as problem, destination states should aim to accommodate them into the economy of the state. There is ample evidence to support the fact that migrants generally take up those jobs and businesses which are not done by the locals.
  • The planning of cities should keep in mind the needs of the migrants.
  • Political class, civil society and NGOs should conduct inter group interactions to ward off mistrust between natives and migrants.

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