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Social Justice

India’s Internal Migration

  • 07 Mar 2023
  • 8 min read

For Prelims: Human Migration, India’s migrant workers, Migration in India Report 2020-21

For Mains: Significance of Migration, Challenges to Migration, Need for a migration-centric policy.

Why in News?

There is concern in Tamil Nadu over a possible exodus of migrant workers after videos showed purported attacks on Hindi-speaking men.

  • Almost a million migrants are estimated to work in Tamil Nadu, and industry bodies fear the state’s industrial and manufacturing sector would be severely impacted by an exodus.

What is Migration?

  • About Migration:
    • The International Organization for Migration defines a migrant as any person who is moving or has moved across an international border or within a state away from his/her habitual place of residence.
    • Examining the migration shifts in scale, direction, demography and frequency can lead to effective policies, programmes and operational responses on the ground.
  • Factors Determining Migration:
    • It can be either voluntary or forced movements as a consequence of the increased magnitude or frequency of disasters, economic challenges and extreme poverty or conflict situations.
    • In more recent years, the Covid-19 pandemic is also one of the major causes of Migration.
  • Push and Pull Factors of Migration:
    • Push factors are those that compel a person to leave a place of origin (out-migration) and migrate to some other place such as - economic reasons, social reasons, lack of development of a particular place.
    • Pull factors indicate the factors which attract migrants (in-migration) to an area (destination) such as job opportunities, better living conditions, availability of basic or high-level facilities etc.

What are the Statistics about Migration?

  • 2011 Census:
    • Number of internal migrants (both inter-state and within state) in India at 45.36 crore, making up 37% of the country’s population.
    • The annual net migrant flows amounted to about 1% of the working age population.
    • India’s workforce was 48.2 crores strong. This figure is estimated to have exceeded 50 crores in 2016.
  • Report of the Working Group on Migration, 2017:
    • Report under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation stated that 17 districts accounted for the top 25% of India’s total male out-migration.
      • Ten of these districts are in UP, six in Bihar, and one in Odisha.

  • Economic Survey 2016-17:
    • Relatively less developed states such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have high net out-migration.
    • Relatively more developed states such as Goa, Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka reflect net immigration.
    • The largest recipient was the Delhi region, which accounted for more than half of migration in 2015-16.
    • While Uttar Pradesh and Bihar taken together account for half of total out-migrants.
  • Migration in India Report 2020-21:
    • The report released by Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation in June 2022, collated numbers for temporary visitors and migrants.
    • 0.7% of the country’s population was recorded as a ‘temporary visitor’ during the July 2020-June 2021 period.
      • Temporary visitors were defined as those who arrived in households after March 2020 and stayed continuously for a period of 15 days or more but less than 6 months.
      • Over 84% of these 0.7% temporary visitors moved places due to pandemic.
    • The all-India migration rate was 28.9% for July 2020-June 2021, with a 26.5 % migration rate in rural areas and 34.9% in urban areas.
      • Females recorded a higher share of migration rate of 47.9%; 48% in rural and 47.8% in urban areas.
      • Migration rate for males was 10.7%, with 5.9% in rural and 22.5% in urban areas.
    • 86.8% females migrated for marriage while 49.6% of the males migrated in search of employment.

What is the Significance of Migration and Migrants?

  • Labour Demand and Supply: Migration fills gaps in demand for and supply of labor, efficiently allocates skilled labor, unskilled labor, and cheap labor.
  • Skill Development: Migration enhances the knowledge and skills of migrants through exposure and interaction with the outside world.
  • Quality of Life: Migration enhances chances of employment and economic prosperity which in turn improves quality of life.
  • Economic Remittances: The migrants also send extra income and remittance back home, thereby positively impacting their native place.
  • Social Remittances: Migration helps to improve the social life of migrants, as they learn about new cultures, customs, and languages which helps to improve brotherhood among people and ensures greater equality and tolerance.

What are the Challenges Related to Migration?

  • Issues faced by Marginalised Sections:
    • Whereas the people who are poor or belong to a marginalised section do not find it easy to mix up.
  • Social and Psychological Aspects:
    • Many times, migrants are not easily accepted by the host place and they always remain as a second-class citizen.
    • Any person migrating to a new country faces multiple challenges, from cultural adaptation and language barriers to homesickness and loneliness.
  • Exclusion from Political Rights and Social Benefits:
    • Migrant workers are deprived of many opportunities to exercise their political rights like the right to vote.
    • Moreover, the need to provide proof of address, Voter IDs and Aadhaar cards, which is difficult due to the fluidity of their lives, deprive them from accessing welfare schemes and policies.

What are the Government Initiatives Related to Migration?

UPSC Civil Services Exam, Previous Year Questions (PYQ)

Q. What are the main socio-economic implications arising out of the development of IT industries in major cities of India? (2021)

Q. Discuss the changes in the trends of labour migration within and outside India in the last four decades. (2015)


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