Migration Notes for UPSC

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Migration Notes upsc



  • Census 2011—450 ml+ Indians (37%) are internal migrants.
  • Economic Survey 2017 — 139 ml seasonal or circular migrants
  • Specific Migration corridors
  • SDGs 10.7—Facilitate orderly, safe, regular & R/S migration + Implement a planned & well-managed migration policies.

Why Migration?

  • Push factors—
    • Agri Distress + lack of alternative job opp / Unemployment in hinterland
    • Decline of common property resources like ponds, forests & grazing lands.
  • Pull factors—
    • Mass media effect—obsession with “Urbanism”
    • Structural transformation of economy—NEP—Thrust on secondary sector
    • Marriage—Major reason for women migration
    • Anonymity— opp of social mobility for socially oppressed groups.
  • Livelihood accumulation strategy or survival risk re­ducing strategy

+ve Impact  

  • +ve Impact on economy—
    • ‘Footloose workers’–Supply of cheap labour—Form a big part of informal eco economy + Mfg
    • Remittances—India has a 1.5-lakh-cr domestic remittance market—Encourage investment in human capital formation
  • Social Remittances—
    • New cultures, knowledge, intermixing of diverse cultures, Evolution of composite culture
  • Promotes Social Cohesion & urban diversity—Salad bowl in spirit

-ve impacts / Challenges

  • Challenges faced by migrant workers
    • Lack of Basic Amenities—Drinking Water, Sanitation, Hygiene & Housing
    • Employment in informal economy—Low wages + Unsafe work env
    • Issue of Identification documents—Lack of affordable housing, limited access to formal financial services, healthcare
    • Poor Edu of children—intergen transmission of poverty
    • Political & Social exclusion-makes them disenfranchised invisible citi­zens
    • Limited no access to financial services
    • Influx of workers in place of destination–Sons of soil chauvinism
    • Non-portability of entitlements
    • Unplanned migration & urbanisation—Overcrowding—Increased Slum
  • Adm issues—
    • Lack of integration of migration in process of dev.
    • Poor implementation of Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act (1979)
    • Huge Gap in Data About Migrants—Though ULBs r mandated for this under Unorganised Workers Social Security Act 2008 
  • Alters Demographic Profile—
    • Source suffer from outflow of human capital
    • Feminization of agriculture & poverty
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Govt steps

  • Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008
  • RURBAN—To stimulate local eco dev, enhance basic services + reduce rural-urban divide
  • PURA—To tackle problem of R-U migration
  • RTE— mandatory for local authorities to admit migrant children.
  • Case studies–
    • Kerala– Scheme which treats migrant welfare as ‘duty of state’—medical treatment, retirement benefits etc 
    • Karnataka’s Mathru Poorna scheme—Nutrition benefits to migrant pregnant & lactating women
    • Gujarat– seasonal boarding schools for migrant children edu

Way Forward

  • Need for a coherent Migration policy—
    • Reducing distress migration
    • Address conditions of work
    • Foster social inclusion
    • Universal PDS—ONOR
    • Inter-state co-ord committee
    • create a digital Pan-India database of Migrant Workers  
    • Issue a universally recog & portable proof of identity that can form basis to get S-E entitlements 
  • Social securities for migrants.
    • Kerala’s  Aawaz health insurance scheme
    • Apna Ghar project—accommodation for migrant workers
    • Portability of Rights—Voting rights, PDS, MGNREGA job cards  
  • Community canteens—Nutritional security . 
  • Adm measures—
    • Mapping of migrant workers with their demographic information, level of skills
    • Other laws relating to work­ers like Building & Other Con­struction Workers Act must be synergised with Inter­-State Migrant Work­men
  • Formalisation of Economy—Recently proposed Unorg Worker Index Number Card by Labour Min would help in it.
  • Need for “SMART Villages”—
    • Sustainable livelihood opp
    • Food security
    • Access to credit
    • Improve rural infra-health, edu & connectivity.


  • Build back better urban spaces in India, with a human-centred approach at its core.
  • If incorporated in policy making, migration instead of being part of problem will start becoming part of the solution