Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

On Labour Migration in India: Trends, Causes and Impacts

On Labour Migration in India: Trends, Causes and Impacts Economic Affairs, Vol. 63, No. 1, pp. 57-69, March 2018 DOI: 10.30954/0424-2513.2018.00150.8 ©2018 New Delhi Publishers. All rights reserved Tilak Sanyal* and Kingsuk Maity Department of Economics, Shibpur Dinobundhoo College, Howrah, West Bengal, India *Corresponding author: sanyal.tilak@gmail.com ABSTRACT The paper considers the issue of labour migration which is very significant for economic development of any nation. It presents in a nutshell the trends and patterns of migration in India, its causes and impacts as discussed in the literature so far. After doing a rigorous survey of the literature we observe that the issue is, in some sense, neglected and its importance is underestimated. Hence, the paper would serve as a useful guide to the future research on this area. JEL Classification: R23, J12, J31, J46, J11. Keywords: Regional Migration, Marriage, Wage differentials, Informal Labour Markets, Demographic Trends. Every economy is confronted with certain economic migration or emigration (from one country to problems. Some of them may be external, while another country). In the global scenario, internal some may be internal. Among all the internal migration seems to be more significant than the problems, unemployment gains huge importance external migration . both in economic theories as well as in terms of One major reason for which labourers migrate policy prescriptions. Every individual wishes to get from one region to another region is in search employed to have a source of more or less steady of employment. Even in a situation where an flow of incomes. Incomes provide purchasing power individual is indifferent between the two regions to individuals and hence they can improve their in terms of employment opportunities still there standard of living. So, if an individual cannot find can be an incidence of migration. In that case, the job in her current location, then she can decide to wage difference between the two regions determines move out of that place and relocate to some other the direction of migration. The labourers migrate region in search of employment. This phenomenon from a region of lower wage rate to a region of is regarded as ‘labour migration’. Migration is higher wage rate. The continuous migration creates defined as a move from one migration defining competition among the potential workers which area to another, usually crossing administrative lowers the wage rate. This process continues unless boundaries made during a given migration interval the wage-gap between the two regions is eliminated. and involving a change of residence . In general, the Thus labour migration can achieve balance in the level of development gap between the economies wage rates of the two regions. This phenomenon is and also between the regions within an economy known as ‘convergence’ in literature. But in reality induces an individual to migrate from a region whether this type of inter-regional convergence where opportunity to find jobs is lower to a region occurs or not is a highly debatable issue. Further, where job finding is easier. Migration can be of due to competition among the migrants finding two types – internal migration (from one region to The United Nations Development Programme (2009) has estimated that another but within the same country) and external the number of migrants within the borders of countries is about four times the number of migrants. The United Nations proposed this definition of migration in 1993. Sanyal and Maity a job in another region involves an element of sectors. As a result the number of migrants tends uncertainty. In this situation an individual calculates to increase in the informal sectors. But, in general, the expected earnings and only when it exceeds the informal sectors do not present a very good present earning, they decide to migrate. environment for work. It might adversely affect the satisfaction level of the migrants. But such problems Moreover, the job-search motive cannot be the are likely to be absent in the formal sectors where sole cause for migration. The extent of migration the participation of skilled and educated workers also depends on other factors like age, sex, level of is high. In other words, the labour market under education, caste, religion and socio-economic status globalization is placing a higher premium on the of the migrants. For example, with the development skilled migrants. Moreover, in many situations of Bangalore as an information technology (IT) the poor workers migrating from rural to urban city many IT professionals have migrated from areas access employment through a chain of different parts of India to Bangalore. Likewise, we intermediaries. Hence it can lead to exploitation of observe that some regions are densely populated the poor workers by the intermediaries. by the people belonging to a particular religious community. Sex of the migrant is another vital The remittances and savings of the migrants can attribute determining the extent of migration. Male also be helpful to improve the standard of living workers migrate mainly to search for employment of the people of the recipient regions. opportunities. But females migrate mainly on Thus cause, nature and extent of labour migration account of marriage. Thus the importance of these have impacts on the socio-cultural and political- factors cannot be ignored. economic environment of the state. With the advent The extent of labour migration also affects the of liberalization, inequalities in the labour market growth level of a particular region. The classical have widened and the nature of the market has growth theories have shown that resources in the changed towards greater informalization and form of migrants can be used by an economy for flexibility. At the same time growth in India and its development purpose. The Lewis model of the demand for certain types of labour follow the development (1954) proposes that migration of needs for capital, both national and global. An surplus labour from the subsistence sector to the implication of this need is the surge in demand urban manufacturing sector creates surplus in the for highly skilled workers, on the one hand, and latter sector. This surplus can be used for capital a mass of low skilled, low paid, easily controlled formation and growth of the economy through and highly flexible workforce, on the other hand. reinvestment. Although this result has theoretical This increase in demand cannot be met by local implications but the identification of surplus labour labour and hence, increased worker mobility in the subsistence sector creates a huge problem. is required. But the mobile workforce acquires The Harris-Todaro model of development (1970) highly dualistic characteristics. On the one hand, also suggests migration of labour from rural to migration of workers in the upper segment of the urban sectors can achieve growth. In their model, workforce has increased. On the other hand, capital the expected earnings in the urban sector is at is seeking to acquire cheap labour either through least as high as the earning in rural sector is used a highly casualised and migratory labour force or as a precondition of migration. An interesting through immobile and home-based workers whose implication of these theoretical results is that labour reservation wage is very low. So there is need migration can be effectively used for development for effective government policy in the context of of the region to which the workers migrate. But if labour migration, at least in respect of providing this is true, then it would never lead to convergence healthy working conditions and social security to of the two regions. The development gap between the workers. the two regions would diverge although the wage The paper presents an overview of labour migration gap might converge. in India in the following section. The next section The informal production systems are more widely discusses trends and patterns of labour migration by spread across rural and urban spaces. Thus finding different dimensions. The section following throws a job is easier in informal sectors than in formal light on the different causes of migration and the Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 58 On Labour Migration in India: Trends, Causes and Impacts next section analyzes its impacts. The final section The historical pattern of the flow of labourers concludes. persisted even after independence. Between 1951 and 2001, the proportion of the population living Labour Migration in India: An Overview in urban areas rose from 17.3% to 32.8%. Of the total workforce, 73.3% remained in rural areas. Migration from one area to another in search of The percentage declined marginally from 77.7% improved livelihoods is a key feature of human in 1991and 79.3% in 1981. Given the size of India, nature. While some regions and sectors fall behind the persistence of regional disparities is expected. in their capacity to support populations, others However the scale and growth of these disparities is move ahead and people migrate to access these of concern. The ratio between the highest to lowest emerging opportunities. The regional disparity state per capita incomes has increased from 2.6 in arises due to several reasons. Some of them are 1980–83 to 3.5 in 1997–00 (Srivastava, 2003). The natural and some are man-made. It is quite natural Planning Commission estimates that 26.1% of India’s that investment would be attracted in developed population lives below the poverty line (based on regions only. Industrialization widens the gap the National Sample Survey of 1999–2000). The between rural and urban areas, inducing a shift of the workforce towards industrializing areas. rural poor have gradually concentrated in eastern India and rain fed parts of central and western There is extensive debate on the factors that cause populations to shift, from those that emphasize India. These regions suffer from low-productivity individual rationality and household behavior in agriculture. to those that cite the structural logic of capitalist Earlier studies have shown that poor households development (de Haan and Rogaly, 2002). Moreover, participate extensively in migration (Connell et several studies show that the process of migration is al. 1976). More recent studies have reconfirmed also influenced by social, cultural and economic factors that migration is a significant livelihood strategy and outcomes can be vastly different for men and for poor households in several regions of India women, for different groups and different locations. (PRAXIS, 2002; Mosse et al. 2002; Hirway, 2001; The sources of early migration flows were primarily Haberfeld et al. 1999; Rogaly et al. 2001; Srivastava, agro-ecological, related to population expansion to 1998). new settlements or to conquests (Eaton, 1984). There is considerable information on patterns of migration Trends and Patterns of Internal Migration by during the British period. Indian emigration abroad Dimensions was one consequence of the abolition of slavery The two main secondary sources of data on and the demand for replacement of labour. This population mobility in India are the Census and took place through pacts, a form of contract labour the National Sample Survey (NSS). These surveys whereby a person would bind himself for a specified may underestimate some migration flows, such period of service, usually four to seven years in as temporary, seasonal and circulatory migration, return for payment of their passage. They left for due to empirical and conceptual difficulties. British, Dutch and French colonies to work in sugar Furthermore, migration data relate to population plantations and subsequently for the tea and rubber mobility and not worker mobility. But economic plantations of Southeast Asia (Tinker, 1974). Similar theories of migration are primarily about worker demands for labour rose internally with the growth migration. It is not easy to separate these. Firstly, of tea, coee and ff rubber plantations, coal mines and because in both surveys ‘migrants’ are defined in later, modern industry. But as they settled down, it terms of change from birthplace and change in provided a bridgehead to other migrants, whose last usual place of residence. Migrants, according numbers grew to satisfy colonial demand. Urban to such definition, are not always employment pockets like Kolkata and Mumbai attracted rural related. Secondly, migration surveys give only the labourers mainly from labour catchment areas like main reason for migration and that only at the time Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Orissa in the east and of migration. Secondary economic reasons could Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and parts of Kerala be masked, as in the case of married women, who and Karnataka in the south (NCRL, 1991; Joshi and would cite other reasons for movement. Another Joshi, 1976; Dasgupta, 1987). Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 59 Sanyal and Maity problem is that migration data relate to stocks of labourers) shows that among males, 43% are migrants and not to flows. engaged in production related work. In the tertiary sector, significant proportions of male migrants are Population Mobility engaged as sales workers, followed by clerical and related work. All the western states have a significant In one view, population mobility in India is low proportion of male migrants in secondary activity (Davis, 1951; Kundu and Gupta, 1996). In the 1991 and in the southern and north-eastern states they census, using the ‘change in residence’ concept, are mainly engaged in the tertiary sector. In the case 27.4% of the population is considered to have of female migrant workers, 40% are in production migrated which shows a considerable decline from related works and a significant proportion are in 30.6% in 1971 and 31.2% in 1981. This is true for technical and professional activity. male and female migrants. In the case of males, it declined from 18.1% in 1971 to 14.7% in 1991. In Migration for Work in the 1990s the case of females, it declined from 43.1% in 1971 to 41.6% in 1991. However, recent evidence based Analysis of the recent trends of labour mobility, on th on NSS figures for 1992–1993 and 1999–2000 and the basis of NSS estimates from the 49 (1992–93) th also supported by the census suggests an increase and 55 rounds (1999–00) have been carried out by in migration rates – from 24.7% to 26.6% in the late Srivastava and Bhattacharya (2002) and a few central 90s. This evidence also suggests the proportion of conclusions from that analysis are discussed below. migrants of both sexes, in both rural and urban This period shows a sharp increase in urban male areas, increased during the last decade of the 20th mobility, with a significantly larger percentage of century. male migrants reporting economic and employment linked reasons for mobility. For other streams, there Migration for Work has been a decline in the percentage of migrants giving economic reasons for mobility. A comparison The primary motive for migration is an important of the decadal migrant streams (migrants who indicator of how mobility is influenced by conditions had migrated in the decade preceding the period of the labour market. Of the 27.4% who changed of survey) shows that (a) a greater percentage of place of residence, as per 1991 census, 8.8% moved the urban migrant workers were from the non- for employment reasons and 2.3% had business agricultural sector. They were mostly self-employed motives. The proportion moving due to economic or regular employed; (b) a greater percentage of motives was higher for males (27.8% moved for the male migrant workers were self-employed or employment reasons, and 7.1% for business reasons) in regular employment in 1999–00; (c) in the case compared with females (only 1.8% moved for of females, however, a larger percentage of decadal employment reasons and 0.5% for business reasons). female migrant workers worked in 1999–00 as casual The proportion migrating for economic reasons is labourers in the rural areas in agriculture. greater among long-distance migrants. Most male Comparing activity status before and after migration migrants moving between states did so for economic for all migrants, they find that migrants in general reasons. Again, economic motives are more show much higher work participation rates for significant in urban migration streams, especially both urban and rural areas. In the urban areas the for males. While 49% of male migrants were in th NSS 55 round figures show a significant transition urban areas, 69.2% of such migrants migrated for towards regular employment and self-employment employment (Srivastava, 1998). A distinct regional among males with a small decline in the percentage variation emerges in the work pattern of migrants. of casual labour. In the rural areas, there is an In the north-eastern states and some others, increase in all three categories including casual migrants are mainly employed in the tertiary and labour, but the most significant shift is towards secondary sector of the economy. Elsewhere, the self-employment. In the case of female migrants, primary sector attracts the migrant most. however, along with an increase in the percentage An analysis of the occupational division of migrant of workers to population in all three categories after workers (other than cultivators and agricultural migration, there is also an increase in casualization Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 60 On Labour Migration in India: Trends, Causes and Impacts both in rural and urban areas, but quite significantly Muslims and persons belonging to other low castes. in the former. These results, along with the decline A study based on annual seasonal migration of in short duration migration, which we discuss tribal households from Khandesh (Dhule district, below, suggest that the 1990s may have provided Maharashtra) to the sugarcane fields of southern greater opportunity for labour mobility to those Gujarat in 1988–89 estimated that every year 100,000 who were better positioned– males in urban areas to 150,000 labourers are recruited from this region and in the non-agricultural sector. to work in the nine sugar co-operatives of Southern Gujarat (Teerink, 1995). Other studies in the tribal Short Duration Labour Migration areas in MP, Rajasthan and Gujarat also indicate a very high rate of out-migration. In some cases it In terms of the duration of migration, Census of amounts to whopping 60% to 80% of households India estimates 56.2% of the migrants in 1991 were (Mosse et al. 2002; Haberfeld et al. 1999; Rani and of more than 10 years duration, while 21.4% were Shylendra, 2001). of to 9 years duration. Only 3.04% of the migrants were recorded as short duration . The NSS survey A large number of tribals, mainly from drought prone areas of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and of 1999–00 has estimated that there were 8.64 million short duration in-migrants in 1999–00, out Maharashtra, migrate to work in construction, tile of whom 3.24 million had migrated for economic factory, brick kiln and crop cutting in Maharashtra (Pandey, 1998). Saora, Munda and Santhal tribes reasons. However, in 1992–93 the total number of estimated short duration migrants was 16.75 million, have a long history of migration, with only male suggesting a sharp decline in the subsequent years. migration among the Saora (plantation cultivation in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh). Mundas and th 4 The NSS 55 round has separately estimated the 5 Santhals migrate as household units, mainly to number of short duration out-migrants in 1999–00. NALCO site in Denkanal district of Orissa (Menon, A total of nearly 10.87 million people stayed away 1995). The construction industry mainly depends on from their UPR (usual place of residence) for work/ migrant labour. 90% of the labourers are migrants seeking work for a period between 2 and 6 months. (Vaijanyanta, 1998). Around 40,000 girls migrate Of these 8.45 million were resident in rural areas from Kerala annually to other state to work in the and 2.42 million in urban areas. Among the 8.45 fishery industry (Sarodamoni, 1995). million short duration out-migrant in rural areas, 3.06 million were females and 5.39 million were The migration statistics borrowed from Census males. up to the early 1990s shows a near stagnancy. Estimates from NSS also show a marginal decline There were large numbers of migrants in agriculture in population mobility between 1987-88 & 1993 for and plantations, brick kilns, quarries, construction overall population. This decline is attributed to the sites and fish processing. A number of field studies process of economic liberalization which implies the over the 1990s also provide rough estimates of the greater movement of capital and natural resources magnitude of seasonal migration in different parts and growing immobility of population as stated of India. These confirm the considerable scale of by Kundu and Gupta (1996). Nonetheless, a steady such migration. Empirical research on the scale increase in internal migration has been witnessed and pattern of seasonal migration of workers to in the post reform era from 24.8% in 1993 to 28.5% the rice-producing belt of West Bengal carried out in 2007-08. in 1999–00 suggests that the number of seasonal migrants moving to Bardhaman district during Although overall migration trend is increasing, a significant discrepancy in migration pattern is aman harvesting season exceeds 500,000 and this volume has been growing since the1980s (Rogaly noticed across gender. There occurs a continuous et al. 2001). These migrants are mostly tribals, increase in female migration since 1983 where as a decline in male migration trend except between 1993 Short duration migration refers to labor migrating for a period of & 1999-00. Such pattern is more pronounced in rural less than one year. area. It is seen that male migration is declining in Such estimate was provided for the first time. Short duration out-migrants are those who stayed away for a peri- rural area from 7.2 % in 1983 to 5.42% with marginal od between 2 and 6 months for work or seeking work. increase in the periods 1987 and 1999-00. Like rural Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 61 Sanyal and Maity areas, the decline in urban male migration is noticed residence within the district of enumeration and up to early 1990’s; however it has marginally gone over 20% within the state of enumeration while up between 1999-00 and 2007-08. the rest move across the state boundaries. A large proportion of women migrate over short distances One possibility for decline in male migration could due to marriage. The proportion of male lifetime be due to employment generated through National migrants is low in most poor states except Madhya Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in P r a d e s h a n d h i gh i n m o s t d e ve l o pe d s ta te s . village level. It is expected to reduce rural to rural Evidence shows that there is dominance of short flow which, in turn, influence overall rural male distance migration. However, it appears this trend migration. On the other hand, studies show that is also slowly changing in the country at least there occurs fall in rural employment in spite of among urban migrants. For 2007-08 in urban area implementation of NREGA (Chowdhury, 2011). male migration is higher in inter-district (39.31%) Therefore, another reason for deceleration in followed by inter-state (31.9%). Likewise, for female male migration can be explained in terms of the inter-district (42.51%) followed by intra-district jobless growth of Indian economy (de Hann, 2011). migration (38.32%) dominate the migration flow. Further, a question arises why migration scenario A decrease in intra-state mobility accompanied by is different in two periods of jobless growth that an increase in inter-district and inter-state mobility is 1993-00 (growth rate of employment is less than is observed irrespective of sex. And the increase 1%) and 2000-08 (growth rate of employment is is found to be high in inter-state male migration 0.17%). It is not likely that jobless growth could be in urban areas from 23.57% in 1999-00 to 31.9% in the exclusive reason. Rather, it may be one of the 2007-08. reasons. The other possible explanation could be under- estimation of seasonal migration that may The relative increase in inter-state migration is an influence the overall growth of male migration. indication that migration trend is moving towards Studies by Shylendra and Thomas (1995), NCRL economic reasons (Singh, 2009). Motivated by better (1991), Srivastava (1998) and Kundu (2003) show employment opportunities as well as to pursue that there is under-reporting of internal migration higher education people migrate to urban areas data due to seasonal and circulatory migrants who of developed states. At the same time a growing are concentrated at the lower ends of the labour volume of micro studies shows that people from market spectrum and such type of mobility steadily lower socio-economic strata of under developed increases over years (NCRL, 1991, Deshingkar states migrated to developed states in pursuit of and Farrington, 2009 ). Given these possibilities, getting employment. Such migration was induced it is difficult to answer the exact possible reason by poverty, inequality and other environmental for declining male mobility in present scenario. vulnerabilities. Unlike male migration a continuous increase Around half of the migration o fl w is rural to rural in in female migration is observed irrespective of 2007-08. Around 1/4th of migrants constitute rural to place of residence. Although preponderance of urban followed by urban-urban and urban to rural. female in migration process is largely attributed to However, there occurs a wide gender difference in marriage, the emerging studies by Shanti (1991), migration flow. It is seen that for female rural to Sundari (2005) and Arya et al. (2006) show that rural constitute 60% of migration flow which is less the background reason for female migration is than 30% for male. On the contrary 34% of male changing from marriage to other reasons, especially migrated from rural to urban which is less than to economic ones. Therefore, to explore the reasons 20% for female. for current trends in migration, it is crucial to have a It is expected that with generation of employment look at the other dimensions of migration followed opportunities in urban areas, migration from by distance wise migration. rural areas continuously increases. The latest NSS estimates show that 56% migration in the rural to Migration by Distance urban flow is due to employment and there occurs Migration in India is predominantly short distance, an increase in salaried/wage earning class over with around 60% of migrants changing their the period from 28% in 1999-00 to 32% in 2007-08 Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 62 On Labour Migration in India: Trends, Causes and Impacts which is declining in other types of employment. The village level studies carried out by (Rao, 2001; In this regard studies by Shylendra, et al. (1995), de Deshingkar et al. 2003, Karan, 2003, Dayal and Hann (1997) and Srivastava and Bhattacharya (2002) Karan, 2003, Action Aid, 2005) shows high level of show that the increasing rural to urban migration in out-migration from poor and drought prone areas recent years is largely due to economic reasons as of backward states like Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, they are mostly motivated by availability of urban Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh employment in the expanding informal sector. Some to developed states due to opportunities in informal development analysts like Kundu (2011) hold that economy. On the contrary, studies by (Oberai and the structural reform adopted in the country since Singh, 1983; Skeldon, 2002; Bhagat, 2009) state that the early 1990s has opened up job opportunities in with the increasing level of development of the state several globally linked sectors located in and around the migration rates both (in and out) increase. the cities, boosting rural–urban migration. CAUSES OF MIGRATION Like India, the other South Asian and South Given the diversity in the nature of migration in East Asian countries experiencing rural to urban India, the causes are also bound to vary. Migration migration in response to alternation in the structure is influenced both by the pattern of development of economy that creates regular and remunerative (NCRL, 1991) and the social structure (Mosse wage work in urban areas leads to high degree et al. 2002). The National Commission on Rural of spatial mobility (Gazdar, 2003, ADB, 2001, Labour, focusing on seasonal migration, concluded Acharya, 2003, Ping, 2003, Afsar, 2003, Thanh et that uneven development was the main cause al. 2005). On the contrary, studies by (Kundu, 1997 of seasonal migration. Along with interregional and Mitra et al. 2008) argue that adverse impact disparity, disparity between different socio-economic of economic reform, slow growth in agriculture, classes and the development policy adopted since poverty, unemployment etc increases rural to urban independence has accelerated the process of migration. Along with poverty and unemployment seasonal migration. Most migration literature makes other factors like environmental degradation and a distinction between ‘pull’ and ‘push’ factors, which low impact of anti-poverty programme in providing do not operate in isolation of one another. Mobility employment results in labour migration to urban occurs when workers in source areas lack suitable areas (NCRL, 1991). Besides economic factor, options for employment/livelihood, and there is non-economic factors like education, changes in some expectation of improvement in circumstances administrative boundaries also influence rural to through migration. The improvement sought may urban migration (Singh et al. 1998; James, 2002 and be better employment or higher wages/incomes, Singh, 2009). but also maximization of family employment or Studies show that interstate mobility is generally smoothing of employment/income/consumption low in the states with high level of poverty, illiteracy over the year. This is referred to as the ‘pull’ factor etc. (Kadi et al. 1988). However, in recent years there causing individuals to migrate. At one end of is an increasing outflow of people from backward the migration spectrum, workers could be locked states reflecting migration of unskilled and low into a debt-migration cycle, where earnings from educated people. It is found that net migration rate migration are used to repay debts incurred at home is positive in developed states like Maharashtra, or in the destination areas, thereby cementing the Gujarat, Karnataka, Haryana and Punjab indicating migration cycle. This is referred to as the ‘push’ inflow of people to these states. This can be factor in the literature. At the other end, migration is explained in terms of industrialization, availability largely voluntary, although shaped by their limited of employment and social development of the choices. states. On the contrary due to large concentration The NCRL has recognized the existence of this of population, inequality and poverty etc. states like continuum for poor migrants by distinguishing Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and between rural labour migration for survival and Rajasthan and north-eastern states supplies large for subsistence. The landless poor, who mostly number of migrants to economically developed belong to lower caste, indigenous communities, state like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab and Delhi. Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 63 Sanyal and Maity from economically backward regions, migrate for agricultural, live in terrible conditions. There is survival and constitute a significant proportion no provision of safe drinking water or hygienic of seasonal labour flow (Study Group on Migrant sanitation. Most live in open spaces or makeshift Labour, 1990). The growth of intensive agriculture shelters in spite of the Contract Labour Act which and commercialization of agriculture since the late stipulates that the contractor or employer should 1960s has led to peak periods of labour demand, provide suitable accommodation (NCRL, 1991; often also coinciding with a decline in local labour GVT, 2002; Rani and Shylendra, 2001). Apart deployment. In the case of labour flows to the rice from seasonal workers, workers who migrate to producing belt of West Bengal, wage differentials the cities for job live in parks and pavements. between the source and destination have been Slum dwellers, who are mostly migrants, stay in considered as the main reason for migration. deplorable conditions, with inadequate water and Moreover, absence of non-farm employment, low bad drainage. Food costs more for migrant workers agricultural production has resulted in a growth who are not able to obtain temporary ration cards. of seasonal migration (Rogaly et al. 2001). Factors On Health and Education such as age, education level, wealth, land-owned, productivity and job opportunities influence the Labourers working in harsh circumstances and participation of individuals and households in living in unhygienic conditions suffer from serious migration, but so do social attitudes and supporting occupational health problems and are vulnerable social networks (Haberfeld et al. 1999; Rogaly et al. to disease. Those working in quarries, construction 2001; Mosse et al. 2002). sites and mines suffer from various health hazards, In Dhule region (Maharashtra) sugarcane cultivation mostly lung diseases. As the employer does not leads to high demand for labour, but landowners follow safety measures, accidents are quite frequent. recruit labourers from other districts for harvesting Migrants cannot access various health and family as they can have effective control over the labour. care programmes due to their temporary status. Free Local labourers are thus forced to migrate with public health care facilities and programmes are not their households to South Gujarat (Teerink 1995). accessible to them. For women workers, there is no In Kerala, trawler-fishing has depleted marine provision of maternity leave, forcing them to resume resources. With unemployment in other industries work almost immediately after child birth. Workers, like cashew and rubber, this has led to large scale particularly those working in tile factories and brick out-migration of girls (Sardamoni, 1995). kilns suffer from occupational health hazards such as body ache, sunstroke and skin irritation (NCRL, THE IMPACT OF MIGRATION 1991). As there are no nursery school facilities, children often accompany their families to the On Migrants and their Families workplace to be exposed to health hazards. Poorer migrant workers have few entitlements vis a They are also deprived of education: the schooling vis their employers or the public authorities in the system at home does not take into account their destination areas. They have meager personal assets migration pattern and their temporary status in the and suffer from deprivations in the destination destination areas does not make them eligible for areas. In the source areas, migration has both schooling there (Rogaly et al. 2001; 2002). In the case negative and positive consequences for migrants of male-only migration, the absence of men adds and their families. Although migration gives to material and psychological insecurity, leading higher wage/salary to migrants, die ff rence in living to pressures and negotiations with wider family standard and adverse impacts on health, education (Rogaly et al. 2001; 2002). Male out-migration has and family members would have a depressing effect been seen to influence the participation of women on migrant’s well-being. So the conclusion is, in in the directly productive sphere of the economy some sense, ambiguous. as workers and decision-makers and increase the level of their interaction with the outside world On Living Conditions (Srivastava, 1999). But given the patriarchal set up, women may have to cope with a number of problems Migrant labourers, whether agricultural or non- Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 64 On Labour Migration in India: Trends, Causes and Impacts which are exacerbated due to the uncertainty of the remittances from migrants, some indirect evidence timing and magnitude of remittances on which can be adduced from the NSS surveys on migration the precarious household economy depends. This, and consumption and employment/unemployment. in turn, pushes women and children from poor These surveys give the percentage of out-migrants labouring households to participate in the labour making remittances and households receiving market under adverse conditions. Thus, the impact remittances and depending upon remittances of migration on the women can be two-sided but as their major source of livelihood. In 1992–93, the strong influence of patriarchy restricts the scope 89% of permanent out-migrants sent remittances. of women’s autonomy (Teerink, 1995; Menon, 1995; The percentage of all rural households receiving Rogaly et al. 2001). The impact of male migration remittance income is also fairly high – in some can be especially adverse for girls, who often regions of the country, one-quarter to one-third of have to bear additional domestic responsibilities the households receive remittances. It should be and take care of younger siblings. The absence of noted that remittances are only one form in which male supervision further reduces their chances of resource flows occur as a result of migration, the acquiring education (Srivastava, 2001). other being savings brought home by migrants in cash or kind. Field studies show that a majority There are several cases where women participate of seasonal migrants either remit or bring home in the migration streams along with male members savings. In many cases, a substantial proportion of their households. It is usual in such cases for of household cash income is attributed to migrant younger siblings and older children to accompany earnings (Haberfeld et al. 1999; Rogaly et al. 2001; their parents and to work along with them. Family Mosse et al. 2002). However, the cash incomes which migration usually implies migration of the younger accrue may not always add to the resource base members of the family, leaving the elderly to cope of migrant households as some are used to adjust with additional responsibilities while at the same earlier debts (NCRL, 1991; Mosse et al. 2002). time fend for their subsistence and other basic requirements (Mosse et al. 1997). However, it does appear that the income and consumption level of migrant households is On Source Areas generally higher than that of similarly placed non-migrants (Sharma, 1997; Krishnaiah, 1997). The major impacts of migration on source areas As Mosse et al. (2002) have noted, and as other occur through changes in the labour market, studies testify, migrants are not only differentially income and assets, changes in the pattern of placed at the entry point, their differential status expenditure and investment. Although seasonal out- also leads to different trajectories, so that changes migration potentially has the effect of smoothing in post-migration average incomes may provide out employment over the annual cycle, rural out- only a limited picture of the varied setoff changes. migration could cause a tightening of the labour (Rogaly et al. 2001) provides some evidence of market in some circumstances. However, empirical improvement in incomes of seasonal migrants as evidence from out-migrant areas does not often a result of migration, but these conclusions need attest to this (Connell et al. 1976; Srivastava, 1999). to be supported by other studies. The impact of This may be because out-migration often takes place migration on income and asset inequality is limited. in labour surplus situations. There is also evidence The ethnographical study quoted above (Rogaly of the replacement of out-migrant male labour by et al. 2001), finds evidence of reduced inequality, female and even child labour. as incomes of labour households rise against non- On Remittances and Effect on Sending Areas labour households. In another context, Mosse et al. (1997) suggest that these inequalities increase While the impact of out-migration via the labour because the differentiated nature of the migration market has been reviewed above, the other source process led to the amplification of income and asset of changes which need to be analyzed would work inequalities. through changes in income, income distribution and Remittances are mainly used for purposes like the pattern of expenditure and investment. Although consumption, repayment of loans and meeting we do not have direct evidence of the value of Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 65 Sanyal and Maity other social obligations. These constitute, in effect Numerous cases have been documented where the the ‘first charge’ on migrant incomes. The evidence same areas export and import labour to identical on investment is, however, mixed. Investment by sectors. Migrants are preferred because their labour migrant households on housing, land and consumer is easier to control and it is easier to extract labour durables is common and migrant income is also from them under difficult conditions. Moreover, used to finance working capital requirements the supply of labour can be easily increased or in agriculture. Evidence of other productive decreased with little cost to employers and migrants farm or non-farm investment is scarce but a can work for long and flexible hours. Flexibility of number of studies do report such investment by the migrant workforce is reinforced because of the a small percentage of migrant and return migrant role of contractors and middlemen in recruitment households (Oberai and Singh, 1983; Krishnaiah, and supervision. The segmentation of the labour 1997; Sharma, 1997; Rogaly et al. 2001). market, which also leads to greater control over both migrant and local labour, is another outcome A major linked issue is the role of rural out- of the process. Finally, the wage payment systems migration in the material and social reproduction which grow around industries based predominantly of rural households and the extant relationships in on migrant labour are eminently suited to side- which they are placed. Standing (1985) has argued stepping minimum wage legislation. Thus migration that circulatory migration in particular contributes reduces labour cost to employers. to the stability of rural production relations. He argues that circulatory labour migrations has ‘safety The labour market outcomes generated by labour valve’ features and ‘has often been a mechanism immigration facilitate a certain kind of growth and preserving a social mode of production or at least accumulation in the destination areas, although reducing the pressures on it’. Temporary migration this is via what can be described as a ‘low road’ to may allow households to relieve underemployment capitalism. According to Breman (1996) the basic and meet debt and other obligations without having rationale for the growing informalization, two-way to sell assets. ‘Relay migration’ can also be seen as a mobility of labour and segmentation is to be found part of the household survival strategy. Indeed the in the type of mercantilist capitalist development long history of rural out-migration in some of the witnessed in India, just as international migration source areas in India combined with agricultural is strongly related to the structure of international and rural stagnation seems to conr fi m the stabilizing capitalism (Sassen, 1988; Piore, 1990). Capitalists role of out-migration. But labour circulation as well operate in uncertain markets, under circumstances as other forms of rural outmigration can also disrupt in which they are highly dependent on traders. pre-existing production relations. The major impact Labour immigration is one of the strategies favored on source areas appears to be through the labour by entrepreneurs to shift both risk and cost of market, with recent evidence indicating greater production on to workers. Another reason for mobility of rural labour households leading to a less continued informalization is to keep businesses isolated and more generalized agriculture labour away from state surveillance. Thus most enterprises market and an upward pressure on wages. Further in the informal sector escape regulation of any kind. there is also evidence of some impact through Furthermore, in such destination areas, employers improvement in the resource base of the migrant rarely provide anything other than wage subsistence households (Srivastava, 1998). requirements. Migrant labourers have to fend for themselves to meet their health, shelter and other On Destination Areas basic requirements. Although the poor condition in which labourers subsist is a result of employers There are clearly multiple rationales for the use not internalizing the legitimate costs of hiring of migrant labour in destination areas. While labour (contravening numerous laws), to society shortages of local labour provides one important the resulting urban congestion appears to be result rationale (Singh and Iyer, 1985; Oberai and Singh, of unplanned mobility. The costs of population 1983), virtually all available evidence shows that mobility have been, as a result, considered in recruitment of immigrants is as much motivated by theory in the context of large costs imposed by strategies of labour control and wage cost reduction. Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 66 On Labour Migration in India: Trends, Causes and Impacts population concentration in large cities. The social, or in isolation to generate migration flow. If an political and other consequences of immigration, individual migrate to attain improved standard of especially where such migration is by linguistically, living by getting high wage/salary then it is called ethnically or regionally distinct groups, has not been migration due to ‘pull’ factor. On the other hand, considered in the growing economic literature on individuals often migrate to repay the old debt at internal migration, but figures prominently in the source area, which is called ‘push’ factor. body of sociological and political literature (Weiner, Finally, the paper discusses the probable impact 1978). of labour migration on the migrant, his/her family members and on the source and destination areas. CONCLUSION We conclude that migration has miserable impact The paper takes up an important socio-economic on the living standard of migrants, their family and political issue – labour migration. This issue is members and they are deprived of health, education somewhat neglected in the economic literature in and other essential public services and basic the sense that there are many areas which remain amenities like hygiene, drinking water and so on. unexplored as compared to other socio-economic- The remittances sent by the migrant back home is cultural and political issues. Hence the paper often used to repay outstanding debts and support attempts to present in a nutshell trends of labour increased consumption. migration in India, its causes and impacts. We feel REFERENCES that it would be of great help to the researchers in conducting research in the areas left unexplored by Acharya, S. 2003. ‘Migration Patterns in Cambodia-causes and consequences’, Ad hoc expert group meeting on Migration the literature. and Development, 27-29 August, Bangkok. Between 1971 and 1991, the migration rate has Action Aid 2005. ‘From Hunger to Suffering … a Journey: declined both for male and female. But we find an Migrant Workers in the Brick Kilns’ – Interventions increase in such rate in the last decade of 90s. The Report. Hyderabad Action Aid. reason for such trend is the rapid development and Afsar, R. 2003. ‘Dynamics of poverty, development and expansion of the informal sector which absorbed a population mobility: the Bangladesh case’, Adhoc Expert group meeting on migration and Development, organized large number of workers from the rural areas. This by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the implies labourers were casualized. The rate of male Pacific, Bangkok, 27-29 August. migration for work has declined since the 90s and Arya. S. and Roy, A. 2006. “Poverty, Gender and Migration”, the corresponding rate has gone up for females. The Sage Publication. reason behind such phenomenon is the introduction Bhagat, R.B. 2009. ‘Internal Migration in India: Are the and implementation of NREGA in different states. th Underclass More Mobile?’ Paper presented in the 26 In terms of duration, short duration in-migration IUSSP General Population Conference held in Marrakech, exhibits a declining trend. The out-migrants Morocco, 27 September- 2 October 2009. migrating for short duration were mostly from rural Breman, J. 1996. “Footloose Labour: Working in India’s Informal Sector ”, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. areas and majority of them were males. Lastly, the trend analysis shows that a high proportion of male Chowdhury, S. 2011. ‘Employment in India: What does the latest data show’, Economic and Political Weekly, XLVI(32). migrate over a long distance and they are rural to urban in nature. On the contrary, females generally Connell, J., Dasgupta, B., Laishley, R. and Lipton, M. 1976. “Migration from Rural Areas: The Evidence from Village migrate over a short distance and it is rural to rural Studies”, Delhi: Oxford University Press. in nature. The reason behind such short distance Dasgupta, B. 1987. “Issues of migration and employment migration has been marriage. with reference to Calcutta”, in: Davis, K. (1951): “The The paper observes that uneven development has Population of India and Pakistan”, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. been the predominant driving force behind labour migration. Besides, disparities in socio-economic Dayal, H. and Karan, A.K. 2003. ‘Labour Migration from Jharkhand’, Institute for Human Development, New Delhi. conditions, wage differentials and disparities in de Haan, A. 1997. ‘Rural-urban migration and poverty: the the development policies also induce individuals to case of India’, IDS Bulletin, 28(2): 35-47. migrate. Moreover, two factors, identified as ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors, operate either simultaneously Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 67 Sanyal and Maity de Haan, A. and Rogaly, B. 2002. “Introduction: Migrant Lewis, A. 1954. “Economic development with unlimited workers and their role in rural change”, Journal of supplies of labour ”, Manchester School of Economic and Development Studies, 37(5). Social Studies, May. de Hann, A. 2011. ‘Inclusive growth? Labour migration and Menon, G. 1995. “The impact of migration on the work and poverty in India’, Working Paper No.513, International status of tribal women in Orissa”, in: Schenk-Sandbergen, Institute of Social Studies. L. ed. (1995) Women and Seasonal Labour Migration. Indo- Dutch Series on Development Alternatives 16. New Delhi: Deshingkar, P. and Start, D. 2003. ‘Seasonal Migration Sage Publications. for livelihoods, coping, accumulation and exclusion’, Working Paper No. 220, Overseas Development Institute, Mitra, A. and Murayama, M. 2008. ‘Rural to Urban Migration: London. A District Level Analysis for India’, IDE discussion paper no.137. Deshingkar, P. and Farrington, J. 2009. ‘Circular Migration and Multi locational Livelihood Strategies in Rural India’, Mosse, D., Gupta, S., Mehta, M., Shah, V. and Rees, J. 1997. Oxford University Press, New Delhi. “Seasonal Labour Migration in Tribal (Bhil) Western India”, Swansea: Centre for Development Studies, Eaton, R. 1984. “The Rise of Islam and Bengal Frontier”, Delhi: University of Wales. Oxford University Press. Mosse, D., Gupta, S., Mehta, M., Shah, V., Rees, J. and KRIBP Gazdar, H. 2003. ‘A Review of Migration Issues in Pakistan’, Team 2002. “Brokered livelihoods: Debt, labour migration paper presented at the Regional Conference on Migration, and development in tribal western India”, Journal of Development and Pro-Poor Policy Choices in Asia, Development Studies, 38(5): 59–88. Organized by Bangaladesh Refuges Migratory Movements Research Unit, Bangladesh/DFID UK, Dhaka, 22-24 June. National Commission on Rural Labour 1991. ‘Reports of the Study Group on Migrant Labour ’, Vol. II, GOI, Ministry Gramin Vikas Trust 2002. “Migration: An Essential Component of Labour, New Delhi. of Rural Livelihoods”, Ratlam, India: Gramin Vikas Trust. Oberai, A .S. and Singh, M .H.K. 1983. “Causes and Haberfeld, Y., Menaria, R.K., Sahoo, B.B. and Vyas, R.N. 1999. Consequences of Internal Migration: A Study in the Indian “Seasonal migration of rural labour in India”. Population Punjab”, Delhi: Oxford University Press. Research and Policy Review, 18(6): 471–87. Pandey, D. 1998. “Migrant labour, employment and gender Harris, J.R. and Todaro, M.P. 1970. “Migration, unemployment dimension”, Indian Journal of Social Work, 59(3). and development: A two sector analysis”, American Economic Review, 60(1): 126–38. Ping, H. 2003. ‘China Migration country study’, Paper presented at the regional Conference on Migration, Hirway, I. 2001. “How Far Can Poverty A lleviatio n Development and Pro-Poor Policy Choices in Asia, Programmes Go? An Assessment of PAPs in Gujarat”, organized by the Bangladesh Refugee and Migratory Ahmedabad, India: Centre for Development Alternatives. Movement Research Unit, Bangladesh/DFID UK, Dhaka, James, K. 2002. ‘Migration dynamics in Andhra Pradesh: 22-24 June. Evidence from Decadal Census’, Paper presented in a Piore, M.J. 1990. “Birds of Passage: Migrant Labour and seminar on Labour Mobility in a Globalising World: Industrial Societies”, Cambridge: Cambridge University Conceptual and empirical issues. Press. Joshi, V. and Joshi, H. 1976. “Surplus Labour and the City: A PRAXIS (Institute for Participatory Practices) 2002. “MP Study of Bombay”, Delhi: Oxford University Press. Participatory Poverty Assessment”, Report prepared for Kadi, A.S. and Sivamurthy, M. 1988. ‘Interstate Migration in ADB. India: 1971-81’, Canadian Studies in Population, 15(1): 37-50. Rani, U. and Shylendra, H.S. 2001. “Seasonal migration and Karan, A. 2003. ‘Changing Patterns of Migration from Rural rural-urban interface in semi-arid tropics of Gujarat: Bihar’, in G. Iyer (eds) Migrant Labour and Human Rights Study of a tribal village”, Journal of Rural Development, in India, New Delhi: Kanishka Publishers, pp. 102–39. 20: 187–217. Krishnaiah, M. 1997. “Rural migrant labour systems in semi- Rao, G.B. 2001. ‘Household coping/survival strategies in arid areas: A study of two villages in Andhra Pradesh”, drought prone regions: a case study of Anantapur The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, 40(1). District, Andhra Pradesh’, Indian Society for Promotion Kundu, A. 1997. ‘Trends and Structure of Employment in the of wastelands Development, New Delhi. 1990s: Implication for Urban. Rogaly, B., Daniel, C., Rafique, A., Rana, K., Sengupta, A. and Kundu, A. 2003. ‘Urbanisation and urban governance, search Biswas, J. 2002. “Seasonal migration and welfare/illfare for a perspective beyond neoliberalism,’ Economic and in eastern India: A social analysis”, Journal of Development Political Weekly, XXXVIII(29): 3079-98. Studies, 38(5). Kundu, A. and Gupta, S. 1996. “Migration, urbanisation Rogaly, B., Biswas, J., Coppard, D., Rafique, A., Rana, K. and and regional inequality”. Economic and Political Weekly, Sengupta, A. 2001. “Seasonal migration, social change and December 28, pp. 3391–98. migrants rights, lessons from West Bengal”, Economic and Kundu, A. 2011. “Trends and Processes of Urbanisation in Political Weekly, pp. 4547–58. India”, Urbanization and emerging population issues. Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 68 On Labour Migration in India: Trends, Causes and Impacts Sardamoni, K. 1995. “Crisis in the fishing industry and Srivastava, R.S. 2003. “Regional growth and disparities”, in: women’s migration: The case of Kerala”, in: Schenk- Alternative Survey Group eds. (2003) Alternative Economic Sandbergen, L. ed. (1995) Women and Seasonal Labour Survey 2001–2, Economic Reform: Development Denied. New Migration, Indo-Dutch Series on Development Alternatives Delhi: Rainbow Publishers. 16. New Delhi: Sage Publications. Srivastava, R.S. and Bhattacharyya, S. 2002. “Globalisation, Sassen, S. 1988. “The Mobility of Labour and Capital: A Reforms and Internal Labour Mobility: Analysis of Study in International Investment and Labour Flow”, Recent Indian Trends”, Paper presented at a seminar Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ‘Labour Mobility and Globalising World: Conceptual and Empirical Issues’. September 18–19 2002, V.V. Giri Shanti, K. 1991. ‘Issues relating to economic migration of National Labour Institute, ISLE and IHD. females’, The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, 34(4). Standing, G. 1985. “Circulation and the labour process”, in: Sharma, A.N. 1997. “People on the Move: Nature and Standing, G. ed. (1985) Labour Circulation and the Labour Implications of Migration in a Backward Economy” , Process. London: Croom Helm. Delhi: Vikas. Sundari, S. 2005. ‘Migration as a Livelihood Strategy: A Shylendra, H.S. and Thomas, P. 1995. ‘Non-Farm Employment: Gender perspective’, Economic and Political Weekly, May nature, magnitude and determinants in a semi-arid village 28-June 4. of Western India’, Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, 50(3): 410-416. Teerink, R. 1995. “Migration and its impact on Kandhesi women in the sugarcane harvest”, in: Schenk-Sandbergen, Singh, D.P. 2009. ‘Poverty and migration: does Moving Help?’ L. ed. (1995) Women and Seasonal Labour Migration, Indo- in Kundu A. (eds), India: Urban Poverty Report 2009, New Dutch Series on Development Alternatives 16. New Delhi: Delhi, Oxford University Press. Sage Publications. Singh, M. and Iyer, K.G. 1985. “Migrant labourers in rural Thanh, H.X., Anh, D.N. and Tacoli, C. 2005. ‘Livelihood Punjab”, in: Patnaik, U. and Dingwaney, M. eds. (1985) diversification and rural-urban linkages in Viet Nam’s Chains of Servitude: Bondage and Slavery in India. Delhi: red River Delta’, mimeo report, November. Sangam Books. Tinker, H. 1974. “A New System of Slavery: The Export of Singh, S.P. and Aggarwal, R.K. 1998. ‘Rural-Urban Migration: Indian Labour Overseas 1830–1920” , London: Oxford The Role of Push and Pull factors revisited’, The Indian University Press. Journal of Labour Economics, 41(4): 653-667. Vaijanyanta, A. 1998. “Advocating for the rights of construction Skeldon, R. 2002. ‘Migration and Poverty’, Asia-Pacific workers: Nirman’s experience”, Indian Journal of Social Population Journal, 17(4): 67-82. Work, 59(3). Srivastava, R.S. 1998. “Migration and the labour market in Weiner, M. 1978. “Sons of the Soil: Migration and Ethnic India”, Indian Journal of Labour Economics, 41(4). Conflict in India”, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. Srivastava, R.S. 1999. “Rural labour in Uttar Pradesh: Emerging features of subsistence, contradiction and resistance”, Journal of Peasant Studies, 26(2 and 3). Srivastava, R.S. 2001. “Access to basic education in Uttar Pradesh”, in: Vaidyanathan, A. and Gopinathan Nair, P.R. eds. (2001) Elementary Education in Rural India: A Grassroots View. New Delhi: Sage Publications. Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 69 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png ECONOMIC AFFAIRS Unpaywall

On Labour Migration in India: Trends, Causes and Impacts

ECONOMIC AFFAIRSMar 25, 2018

Loading next page...
 
/lp/unpaywall/on-labour-migration-in-india-trends-causes-and-impacts-ngvGNe8lwE

References

References for this paper are not available at this time. We will be adding them shortly, thank you for your patience.

Publisher
Unpaywall
ISSN
0424-2513
DOI
10.30954/0424-2513.2018.00150.8
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Economic Affairs, Vol. 63, No. 1, pp. 57-69, March 2018 DOI: 10.30954/0424-2513.2018.00150.8 ©2018 New Delhi Publishers. All rights reserved Tilak Sanyal* and Kingsuk Maity Department of Economics, Shibpur Dinobundhoo College, Howrah, West Bengal, India *Corresponding author: sanyal.tilak@gmail.com ABSTRACT The paper considers the issue of labour migration which is very significant for economic development of any nation. It presents in a nutshell the trends and patterns of migration in India, its causes and impacts as discussed in the literature so far. After doing a rigorous survey of the literature we observe that the issue is, in some sense, neglected and its importance is underestimated. Hence, the paper would serve as a useful guide to the future research on this area. JEL Classification: R23, J12, J31, J46, J11. Keywords: Regional Migration, Marriage, Wage differentials, Informal Labour Markets, Demographic Trends. Every economy is confronted with certain economic migration or emigration (from one country to problems. Some of them may be external, while another country). In the global scenario, internal some may be internal. Among all the internal migration seems to be more significant than the problems, unemployment gains huge importance external migration . both in economic theories as well as in terms of One major reason for which labourers migrate policy prescriptions. Every individual wishes to get from one region to another region is in search employed to have a source of more or less steady of employment. Even in a situation where an flow of incomes. Incomes provide purchasing power individual is indifferent between the two regions to individuals and hence they can improve their in terms of employment opportunities still there standard of living. So, if an individual cannot find can be an incidence of migration. In that case, the job in her current location, then she can decide to wage difference between the two regions determines move out of that place and relocate to some other the direction of migration. The labourers migrate region in search of employment. This phenomenon from a region of lower wage rate to a region of is regarded as ‘labour migration’. Migration is higher wage rate. The continuous migration creates defined as a move from one migration defining competition among the potential workers which area to another, usually crossing administrative lowers the wage rate. This process continues unless boundaries made during a given migration interval the wage-gap between the two regions is eliminated. and involving a change of residence . In general, the Thus labour migration can achieve balance in the level of development gap between the economies wage rates of the two regions. This phenomenon is and also between the regions within an economy known as ‘convergence’ in literature. But in reality induces an individual to migrate from a region whether this type of inter-regional convergence where opportunity to find jobs is lower to a region occurs or not is a highly debatable issue. Further, where job finding is easier. Migration can be of due to competition among the migrants finding two types – internal migration (from one region to The United Nations Development Programme (2009) has estimated that another but within the same country) and external the number of migrants within the borders of countries is about four times the number of migrants. The United Nations proposed this definition of migration in 1993. Sanyal and Maity a job in another region involves an element of sectors. As a result the number of migrants tends uncertainty. In this situation an individual calculates to increase in the informal sectors. But, in general, the expected earnings and only when it exceeds the informal sectors do not present a very good present earning, they decide to migrate. environment for work. It might adversely affect the satisfaction level of the migrants. But such problems Moreover, the job-search motive cannot be the are likely to be absent in the formal sectors where sole cause for migration. The extent of migration the participation of skilled and educated workers also depends on other factors like age, sex, level of is high. In other words, the labour market under education, caste, religion and socio-economic status globalization is placing a higher premium on the of the migrants. For example, with the development skilled migrants. Moreover, in many situations of Bangalore as an information technology (IT) the poor workers migrating from rural to urban city many IT professionals have migrated from areas access employment through a chain of different parts of India to Bangalore. Likewise, we intermediaries. Hence it can lead to exploitation of observe that some regions are densely populated the poor workers by the intermediaries. by the people belonging to a particular religious community. Sex of the migrant is another vital The remittances and savings of the migrants can attribute determining the extent of migration. Male also be helpful to improve the standard of living workers migrate mainly to search for employment of the people of the recipient regions. opportunities. But females migrate mainly on Thus cause, nature and extent of labour migration account of marriage. Thus the importance of these have impacts on the socio-cultural and political- factors cannot be ignored. economic environment of the state. With the advent The extent of labour migration also affects the of liberalization, inequalities in the labour market growth level of a particular region. The classical have widened and the nature of the market has growth theories have shown that resources in the changed towards greater informalization and form of migrants can be used by an economy for flexibility. At the same time growth in India and its development purpose. The Lewis model of the demand for certain types of labour follow the development (1954) proposes that migration of needs for capital, both national and global. An surplus labour from the subsistence sector to the implication of this need is the surge in demand urban manufacturing sector creates surplus in the for highly skilled workers, on the one hand, and latter sector. This surplus can be used for capital a mass of low skilled, low paid, easily controlled formation and growth of the economy through and highly flexible workforce, on the other hand. reinvestment. Although this result has theoretical This increase in demand cannot be met by local implications but the identification of surplus labour labour and hence, increased worker mobility in the subsistence sector creates a huge problem. is required. But the mobile workforce acquires The Harris-Todaro model of development (1970) highly dualistic characteristics. On the one hand, also suggests migration of labour from rural to migration of workers in the upper segment of the urban sectors can achieve growth. In their model, workforce has increased. On the other hand, capital the expected earnings in the urban sector is at is seeking to acquire cheap labour either through least as high as the earning in rural sector is used a highly casualised and migratory labour force or as a precondition of migration. An interesting through immobile and home-based workers whose implication of these theoretical results is that labour reservation wage is very low. So there is need migration can be effectively used for development for effective government policy in the context of of the region to which the workers migrate. But if labour migration, at least in respect of providing this is true, then it would never lead to convergence healthy working conditions and social security to of the two regions. The development gap between the workers. the two regions would diverge although the wage The paper presents an overview of labour migration gap might converge. in India in the following section. The next section The informal production systems are more widely discusses trends and patterns of labour migration by spread across rural and urban spaces. Thus finding different dimensions. The section following throws a job is easier in informal sectors than in formal light on the different causes of migration and the Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 58 On Labour Migration in India: Trends, Causes and Impacts next section analyzes its impacts. The final section The historical pattern of the flow of labourers concludes. persisted even after independence. Between 1951 and 2001, the proportion of the population living Labour Migration in India: An Overview in urban areas rose from 17.3% to 32.8%. Of the total workforce, 73.3% remained in rural areas. Migration from one area to another in search of The percentage declined marginally from 77.7% improved livelihoods is a key feature of human in 1991and 79.3% in 1981. Given the size of India, nature. While some regions and sectors fall behind the persistence of regional disparities is expected. in their capacity to support populations, others However the scale and growth of these disparities is move ahead and people migrate to access these of concern. The ratio between the highest to lowest emerging opportunities. The regional disparity state per capita incomes has increased from 2.6 in arises due to several reasons. Some of them are 1980–83 to 3.5 in 1997–00 (Srivastava, 2003). The natural and some are man-made. It is quite natural Planning Commission estimates that 26.1% of India’s that investment would be attracted in developed population lives below the poverty line (based on regions only. Industrialization widens the gap the National Sample Survey of 1999–2000). The between rural and urban areas, inducing a shift of the workforce towards industrializing areas. rural poor have gradually concentrated in eastern India and rain fed parts of central and western There is extensive debate on the factors that cause populations to shift, from those that emphasize India. These regions suffer from low-productivity individual rationality and household behavior in agriculture. to those that cite the structural logic of capitalist Earlier studies have shown that poor households development (de Haan and Rogaly, 2002). Moreover, participate extensively in migration (Connell et several studies show that the process of migration is al. 1976). More recent studies have reconfirmed also influenced by social, cultural and economic factors that migration is a significant livelihood strategy and outcomes can be vastly different for men and for poor households in several regions of India women, for different groups and different locations. (PRAXIS, 2002; Mosse et al. 2002; Hirway, 2001; The sources of early migration flows were primarily Haberfeld et al. 1999; Rogaly et al. 2001; Srivastava, agro-ecological, related to population expansion to 1998). new settlements or to conquests (Eaton, 1984). There is considerable information on patterns of migration Trends and Patterns of Internal Migration by during the British period. Indian emigration abroad Dimensions was one consequence of the abolition of slavery The two main secondary sources of data on and the demand for replacement of labour. This population mobility in India are the Census and took place through pacts, a form of contract labour the National Sample Survey (NSS). These surveys whereby a person would bind himself for a specified may underestimate some migration flows, such period of service, usually four to seven years in as temporary, seasonal and circulatory migration, return for payment of their passage. They left for due to empirical and conceptual difficulties. British, Dutch and French colonies to work in sugar Furthermore, migration data relate to population plantations and subsequently for the tea and rubber mobility and not worker mobility. But economic plantations of Southeast Asia (Tinker, 1974). Similar theories of migration are primarily about worker demands for labour rose internally with the growth migration. It is not easy to separate these. Firstly, of tea, coee and ff rubber plantations, coal mines and because in both surveys ‘migrants’ are defined in later, modern industry. But as they settled down, it terms of change from birthplace and change in provided a bridgehead to other migrants, whose last usual place of residence. Migrants, according numbers grew to satisfy colonial demand. Urban to such definition, are not always employment pockets like Kolkata and Mumbai attracted rural related. Secondly, migration surveys give only the labourers mainly from labour catchment areas like main reason for migration and that only at the time Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Orissa in the east and of migration. Secondary economic reasons could Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and parts of Kerala be masked, as in the case of married women, who and Karnataka in the south (NCRL, 1991; Joshi and would cite other reasons for movement. Another Joshi, 1976; Dasgupta, 1987). Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 59 Sanyal and Maity problem is that migration data relate to stocks of labourers) shows that among males, 43% are migrants and not to flows. engaged in production related work. In the tertiary sector, significant proportions of male migrants are Population Mobility engaged as sales workers, followed by clerical and related work. All the western states have a significant In one view, population mobility in India is low proportion of male migrants in secondary activity (Davis, 1951; Kundu and Gupta, 1996). In the 1991 and in the southern and north-eastern states they census, using the ‘change in residence’ concept, are mainly engaged in the tertiary sector. In the case 27.4% of the population is considered to have of female migrant workers, 40% are in production migrated which shows a considerable decline from related works and a significant proportion are in 30.6% in 1971 and 31.2% in 1981. This is true for technical and professional activity. male and female migrants. In the case of males, it declined from 18.1% in 1971 to 14.7% in 1991. In Migration for Work in the 1990s the case of females, it declined from 43.1% in 1971 to 41.6% in 1991. However, recent evidence based Analysis of the recent trends of labour mobility, on th on NSS figures for 1992–1993 and 1999–2000 and the basis of NSS estimates from the 49 (1992–93) th also supported by the census suggests an increase and 55 rounds (1999–00) have been carried out by in migration rates – from 24.7% to 26.6% in the late Srivastava and Bhattacharya (2002) and a few central 90s. This evidence also suggests the proportion of conclusions from that analysis are discussed below. migrants of both sexes, in both rural and urban This period shows a sharp increase in urban male areas, increased during the last decade of the 20th mobility, with a significantly larger percentage of century. male migrants reporting economic and employment linked reasons for mobility. For other streams, there Migration for Work has been a decline in the percentage of migrants giving economic reasons for mobility. A comparison The primary motive for migration is an important of the decadal migrant streams (migrants who indicator of how mobility is influenced by conditions had migrated in the decade preceding the period of the labour market. Of the 27.4% who changed of survey) shows that (a) a greater percentage of place of residence, as per 1991 census, 8.8% moved the urban migrant workers were from the non- for employment reasons and 2.3% had business agricultural sector. They were mostly self-employed motives. The proportion moving due to economic or regular employed; (b) a greater percentage of motives was higher for males (27.8% moved for the male migrant workers were self-employed or employment reasons, and 7.1% for business reasons) in regular employment in 1999–00; (c) in the case compared with females (only 1.8% moved for of females, however, a larger percentage of decadal employment reasons and 0.5% for business reasons). female migrant workers worked in 1999–00 as casual The proportion migrating for economic reasons is labourers in the rural areas in agriculture. greater among long-distance migrants. Most male Comparing activity status before and after migration migrants moving between states did so for economic for all migrants, they find that migrants in general reasons. Again, economic motives are more show much higher work participation rates for significant in urban migration streams, especially both urban and rural areas. In the urban areas the for males. While 49% of male migrants were in th NSS 55 round figures show a significant transition urban areas, 69.2% of such migrants migrated for towards regular employment and self-employment employment (Srivastava, 1998). A distinct regional among males with a small decline in the percentage variation emerges in the work pattern of migrants. of casual labour. In the rural areas, there is an In the north-eastern states and some others, increase in all three categories including casual migrants are mainly employed in the tertiary and labour, but the most significant shift is towards secondary sector of the economy. Elsewhere, the self-employment. In the case of female migrants, primary sector attracts the migrant most. however, along with an increase in the percentage An analysis of the occupational division of migrant of workers to population in all three categories after workers (other than cultivators and agricultural migration, there is also an increase in casualization Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 60 On Labour Migration in India: Trends, Causes and Impacts both in rural and urban areas, but quite significantly Muslims and persons belonging to other low castes. in the former. These results, along with the decline A study based on annual seasonal migration of in short duration migration, which we discuss tribal households from Khandesh (Dhule district, below, suggest that the 1990s may have provided Maharashtra) to the sugarcane fields of southern greater opportunity for labour mobility to those Gujarat in 1988–89 estimated that every year 100,000 who were better positioned– males in urban areas to 150,000 labourers are recruited from this region and in the non-agricultural sector. to work in the nine sugar co-operatives of Southern Gujarat (Teerink, 1995). Other studies in the tribal Short Duration Labour Migration areas in MP, Rajasthan and Gujarat also indicate a very high rate of out-migration. In some cases it In terms of the duration of migration, Census of amounts to whopping 60% to 80% of households India estimates 56.2% of the migrants in 1991 were (Mosse et al. 2002; Haberfeld et al. 1999; Rani and of more than 10 years duration, while 21.4% were Shylendra, 2001). of to 9 years duration. Only 3.04% of the migrants were recorded as short duration . The NSS survey A large number of tribals, mainly from drought prone areas of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and of 1999–00 has estimated that there were 8.64 million short duration in-migrants in 1999–00, out Maharashtra, migrate to work in construction, tile of whom 3.24 million had migrated for economic factory, brick kiln and crop cutting in Maharashtra (Pandey, 1998). Saora, Munda and Santhal tribes reasons. However, in 1992–93 the total number of estimated short duration migrants was 16.75 million, have a long history of migration, with only male suggesting a sharp decline in the subsequent years. migration among the Saora (plantation cultivation in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh). Mundas and th 4 The NSS 55 round has separately estimated the 5 Santhals migrate as household units, mainly to number of short duration out-migrants in 1999–00. NALCO site in Denkanal district of Orissa (Menon, A total of nearly 10.87 million people stayed away 1995). The construction industry mainly depends on from their UPR (usual place of residence) for work/ migrant labour. 90% of the labourers are migrants seeking work for a period between 2 and 6 months. (Vaijanyanta, 1998). Around 40,000 girls migrate Of these 8.45 million were resident in rural areas from Kerala annually to other state to work in the and 2.42 million in urban areas. Among the 8.45 fishery industry (Sarodamoni, 1995). million short duration out-migrant in rural areas, 3.06 million were females and 5.39 million were The migration statistics borrowed from Census males. up to the early 1990s shows a near stagnancy. Estimates from NSS also show a marginal decline There were large numbers of migrants in agriculture in population mobility between 1987-88 & 1993 for and plantations, brick kilns, quarries, construction overall population. This decline is attributed to the sites and fish processing. A number of field studies process of economic liberalization which implies the over the 1990s also provide rough estimates of the greater movement of capital and natural resources magnitude of seasonal migration in different parts and growing immobility of population as stated of India. These confirm the considerable scale of by Kundu and Gupta (1996). Nonetheless, a steady such migration. Empirical research on the scale increase in internal migration has been witnessed and pattern of seasonal migration of workers to in the post reform era from 24.8% in 1993 to 28.5% the rice-producing belt of West Bengal carried out in 2007-08. in 1999–00 suggests that the number of seasonal migrants moving to Bardhaman district during Although overall migration trend is increasing, a significant discrepancy in migration pattern is aman harvesting season exceeds 500,000 and this volume has been growing since the1980s (Rogaly noticed across gender. There occurs a continuous et al. 2001). These migrants are mostly tribals, increase in female migration since 1983 where as a decline in male migration trend except between 1993 Short duration migration refers to labor migrating for a period of & 1999-00. Such pattern is more pronounced in rural less than one year. area. It is seen that male migration is declining in Such estimate was provided for the first time. Short duration out-migrants are those who stayed away for a peri- rural area from 7.2 % in 1983 to 5.42% with marginal od between 2 and 6 months for work or seeking work. increase in the periods 1987 and 1999-00. Like rural Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 61 Sanyal and Maity areas, the decline in urban male migration is noticed residence within the district of enumeration and up to early 1990’s; however it has marginally gone over 20% within the state of enumeration while up between 1999-00 and 2007-08. the rest move across the state boundaries. A large proportion of women migrate over short distances One possibility for decline in male migration could due to marriage. The proportion of male lifetime be due to employment generated through National migrants is low in most poor states except Madhya Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in P r a d e s h a n d h i gh i n m o s t d e ve l o pe d s ta te s . village level. It is expected to reduce rural to rural Evidence shows that there is dominance of short flow which, in turn, influence overall rural male distance migration. However, it appears this trend migration. On the other hand, studies show that is also slowly changing in the country at least there occurs fall in rural employment in spite of among urban migrants. For 2007-08 in urban area implementation of NREGA (Chowdhury, 2011). male migration is higher in inter-district (39.31%) Therefore, another reason for deceleration in followed by inter-state (31.9%). Likewise, for female male migration can be explained in terms of the inter-district (42.51%) followed by intra-district jobless growth of Indian economy (de Hann, 2011). migration (38.32%) dominate the migration flow. Further, a question arises why migration scenario A decrease in intra-state mobility accompanied by is different in two periods of jobless growth that an increase in inter-district and inter-state mobility is 1993-00 (growth rate of employment is less than is observed irrespective of sex. And the increase 1%) and 2000-08 (growth rate of employment is is found to be high in inter-state male migration 0.17%). It is not likely that jobless growth could be in urban areas from 23.57% in 1999-00 to 31.9% in the exclusive reason. Rather, it may be one of the 2007-08. reasons. The other possible explanation could be under- estimation of seasonal migration that may The relative increase in inter-state migration is an influence the overall growth of male migration. indication that migration trend is moving towards Studies by Shylendra and Thomas (1995), NCRL economic reasons (Singh, 2009). Motivated by better (1991), Srivastava (1998) and Kundu (2003) show employment opportunities as well as to pursue that there is under-reporting of internal migration higher education people migrate to urban areas data due to seasonal and circulatory migrants who of developed states. At the same time a growing are concentrated at the lower ends of the labour volume of micro studies shows that people from market spectrum and such type of mobility steadily lower socio-economic strata of under developed increases over years (NCRL, 1991, Deshingkar states migrated to developed states in pursuit of and Farrington, 2009 ). Given these possibilities, getting employment. Such migration was induced it is difficult to answer the exact possible reason by poverty, inequality and other environmental for declining male mobility in present scenario. vulnerabilities. Unlike male migration a continuous increase Around half of the migration o fl w is rural to rural in in female migration is observed irrespective of 2007-08. Around 1/4th of migrants constitute rural to place of residence. Although preponderance of urban followed by urban-urban and urban to rural. female in migration process is largely attributed to However, there occurs a wide gender difference in marriage, the emerging studies by Shanti (1991), migration flow. It is seen that for female rural to Sundari (2005) and Arya et al. (2006) show that rural constitute 60% of migration flow which is less the background reason for female migration is than 30% for male. On the contrary 34% of male changing from marriage to other reasons, especially migrated from rural to urban which is less than to economic ones. Therefore, to explore the reasons 20% for female. for current trends in migration, it is crucial to have a It is expected that with generation of employment look at the other dimensions of migration followed opportunities in urban areas, migration from by distance wise migration. rural areas continuously increases. The latest NSS estimates show that 56% migration in the rural to Migration by Distance urban flow is due to employment and there occurs Migration in India is predominantly short distance, an increase in salaried/wage earning class over with around 60% of migrants changing their the period from 28% in 1999-00 to 32% in 2007-08 Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 62 On Labour Migration in India: Trends, Causes and Impacts which is declining in other types of employment. The village level studies carried out by (Rao, 2001; In this regard studies by Shylendra, et al. (1995), de Deshingkar et al. 2003, Karan, 2003, Dayal and Hann (1997) and Srivastava and Bhattacharya (2002) Karan, 2003, Action Aid, 2005) shows high level of show that the increasing rural to urban migration in out-migration from poor and drought prone areas recent years is largely due to economic reasons as of backward states like Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, they are mostly motivated by availability of urban Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh employment in the expanding informal sector. Some to developed states due to opportunities in informal development analysts like Kundu (2011) hold that economy. On the contrary, studies by (Oberai and the structural reform adopted in the country since Singh, 1983; Skeldon, 2002; Bhagat, 2009) state that the early 1990s has opened up job opportunities in with the increasing level of development of the state several globally linked sectors located in and around the migration rates both (in and out) increase. the cities, boosting rural–urban migration. CAUSES OF MIGRATION Like India, the other South Asian and South Given the diversity in the nature of migration in East Asian countries experiencing rural to urban India, the causes are also bound to vary. Migration migration in response to alternation in the structure is influenced both by the pattern of development of economy that creates regular and remunerative (NCRL, 1991) and the social structure (Mosse wage work in urban areas leads to high degree et al. 2002). The National Commission on Rural of spatial mobility (Gazdar, 2003, ADB, 2001, Labour, focusing on seasonal migration, concluded Acharya, 2003, Ping, 2003, Afsar, 2003, Thanh et that uneven development was the main cause al. 2005). On the contrary, studies by (Kundu, 1997 of seasonal migration. Along with interregional and Mitra et al. 2008) argue that adverse impact disparity, disparity between different socio-economic of economic reform, slow growth in agriculture, classes and the development policy adopted since poverty, unemployment etc increases rural to urban independence has accelerated the process of migration. Along with poverty and unemployment seasonal migration. Most migration literature makes other factors like environmental degradation and a distinction between ‘pull’ and ‘push’ factors, which low impact of anti-poverty programme in providing do not operate in isolation of one another. Mobility employment results in labour migration to urban occurs when workers in source areas lack suitable areas (NCRL, 1991). Besides economic factor, options for employment/livelihood, and there is non-economic factors like education, changes in some expectation of improvement in circumstances administrative boundaries also influence rural to through migration. The improvement sought may urban migration (Singh et al. 1998; James, 2002 and be better employment or higher wages/incomes, Singh, 2009). but also maximization of family employment or Studies show that interstate mobility is generally smoothing of employment/income/consumption low in the states with high level of poverty, illiteracy over the year. This is referred to as the ‘pull’ factor etc. (Kadi et al. 1988). However, in recent years there causing individuals to migrate. At one end of is an increasing outflow of people from backward the migration spectrum, workers could be locked states reflecting migration of unskilled and low into a debt-migration cycle, where earnings from educated people. It is found that net migration rate migration are used to repay debts incurred at home is positive in developed states like Maharashtra, or in the destination areas, thereby cementing the Gujarat, Karnataka, Haryana and Punjab indicating migration cycle. This is referred to as the ‘push’ inflow of people to these states. This can be factor in the literature. At the other end, migration is explained in terms of industrialization, availability largely voluntary, although shaped by their limited of employment and social development of the choices. states. On the contrary due to large concentration The NCRL has recognized the existence of this of population, inequality and poverty etc. states like continuum for poor migrants by distinguishing Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and between rural labour migration for survival and Rajasthan and north-eastern states supplies large for subsistence. The landless poor, who mostly number of migrants to economically developed belong to lower caste, indigenous communities, state like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab and Delhi. Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 63 Sanyal and Maity from economically backward regions, migrate for agricultural, live in terrible conditions. There is survival and constitute a significant proportion no provision of safe drinking water or hygienic of seasonal labour flow (Study Group on Migrant sanitation. Most live in open spaces or makeshift Labour, 1990). The growth of intensive agriculture shelters in spite of the Contract Labour Act which and commercialization of agriculture since the late stipulates that the contractor or employer should 1960s has led to peak periods of labour demand, provide suitable accommodation (NCRL, 1991; often also coinciding with a decline in local labour GVT, 2002; Rani and Shylendra, 2001). Apart deployment. In the case of labour flows to the rice from seasonal workers, workers who migrate to producing belt of West Bengal, wage differentials the cities for job live in parks and pavements. between the source and destination have been Slum dwellers, who are mostly migrants, stay in considered as the main reason for migration. deplorable conditions, with inadequate water and Moreover, absence of non-farm employment, low bad drainage. Food costs more for migrant workers agricultural production has resulted in a growth who are not able to obtain temporary ration cards. of seasonal migration (Rogaly et al. 2001). Factors On Health and Education such as age, education level, wealth, land-owned, productivity and job opportunities influence the Labourers working in harsh circumstances and participation of individuals and households in living in unhygienic conditions suffer from serious migration, but so do social attitudes and supporting occupational health problems and are vulnerable social networks (Haberfeld et al. 1999; Rogaly et al. to disease. Those working in quarries, construction 2001; Mosse et al. 2002). sites and mines suffer from various health hazards, In Dhule region (Maharashtra) sugarcane cultivation mostly lung diseases. As the employer does not leads to high demand for labour, but landowners follow safety measures, accidents are quite frequent. recruit labourers from other districts for harvesting Migrants cannot access various health and family as they can have effective control over the labour. care programmes due to their temporary status. Free Local labourers are thus forced to migrate with public health care facilities and programmes are not their households to South Gujarat (Teerink 1995). accessible to them. For women workers, there is no In Kerala, trawler-fishing has depleted marine provision of maternity leave, forcing them to resume resources. With unemployment in other industries work almost immediately after child birth. Workers, like cashew and rubber, this has led to large scale particularly those working in tile factories and brick out-migration of girls (Sardamoni, 1995). kilns suffer from occupational health hazards such as body ache, sunstroke and skin irritation (NCRL, THE IMPACT OF MIGRATION 1991). As there are no nursery school facilities, children often accompany their families to the On Migrants and their Families workplace to be exposed to health hazards. Poorer migrant workers have few entitlements vis a They are also deprived of education: the schooling vis their employers or the public authorities in the system at home does not take into account their destination areas. They have meager personal assets migration pattern and their temporary status in the and suffer from deprivations in the destination destination areas does not make them eligible for areas. In the source areas, migration has both schooling there (Rogaly et al. 2001; 2002). In the case negative and positive consequences for migrants of male-only migration, the absence of men adds and their families. Although migration gives to material and psychological insecurity, leading higher wage/salary to migrants, die ff rence in living to pressures and negotiations with wider family standard and adverse impacts on health, education (Rogaly et al. 2001; 2002). Male out-migration has and family members would have a depressing effect been seen to influence the participation of women on migrant’s well-being. So the conclusion is, in in the directly productive sphere of the economy some sense, ambiguous. as workers and decision-makers and increase the level of their interaction with the outside world On Living Conditions (Srivastava, 1999). But given the patriarchal set up, women may have to cope with a number of problems Migrant labourers, whether agricultural or non- Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 64 On Labour Migration in India: Trends, Causes and Impacts which are exacerbated due to the uncertainty of the remittances from migrants, some indirect evidence timing and magnitude of remittances on which can be adduced from the NSS surveys on migration the precarious household economy depends. This, and consumption and employment/unemployment. in turn, pushes women and children from poor These surveys give the percentage of out-migrants labouring households to participate in the labour making remittances and households receiving market under adverse conditions. Thus, the impact remittances and depending upon remittances of migration on the women can be two-sided but as their major source of livelihood. In 1992–93, the strong influence of patriarchy restricts the scope 89% of permanent out-migrants sent remittances. of women’s autonomy (Teerink, 1995; Menon, 1995; The percentage of all rural households receiving Rogaly et al. 2001). The impact of male migration remittance income is also fairly high – in some can be especially adverse for girls, who often regions of the country, one-quarter to one-third of have to bear additional domestic responsibilities the households receive remittances. It should be and take care of younger siblings. The absence of noted that remittances are only one form in which male supervision further reduces their chances of resource flows occur as a result of migration, the acquiring education (Srivastava, 2001). other being savings brought home by migrants in cash or kind. Field studies show that a majority There are several cases where women participate of seasonal migrants either remit or bring home in the migration streams along with male members savings. In many cases, a substantial proportion of their households. It is usual in such cases for of household cash income is attributed to migrant younger siblings and older children to accompany earnings (Haberfeld et al. 1999; Rogaly et al. 2001; their parents and to work along with them. Family Mosse et al. 2002). However, the cash incomes which migration usually implies migration of the younger accrue may not always add to the resource base members of the family, leaving the elderly to cope of migrant households as some are used to adjust with additional responsibilities while at the same earlier debts (NCRL, 1991; Mosse et al. 2002). time fend for their subsistence and other basic requirements (Mosse et al. 1997). However, it does appear that the income and consumption level of migrant households is On Source Areas generally higher than that of similarly placed non-migrants (Sharma, 1997; Krishnaiah, 1997). The major impacts of migration on source areas As Mosse et al. (2002) have noted, and as other occur through changes in the labour market, studies testify, migrants are not only differentially income and assets, changes in the pattern of placed at the entry point, their differential status expenditure and investment. Although seasonal out- also leads to different trajectories, so that changes migration potentially has the effect of smoothing in post-migration average incomes may provide out employment over the annual cycle, rural out- only a limited picture of the varied setoff changes. migration could cause a tightening of the labour (Rogaly et al. 2001) provides some evidence of market in some circumstances. However, empirical improvement in incomes of seasonal migrants as evidence from out-migrant areas does not often a result of migration, but these conclusions need attest to this (Connell et al. 1976; Srivastava, 1999). to be supported by other studies. The impact of This may be because out-migration often takes place migration on income and asset inequality is limited. in labour surplus situations. There is also evidence The ethnographical study quoted above (Rogaly of the replacement of out-migrant male labour by et al. 2001), finds evidence of reduced inequality, female and even child labour. as incomes of labour households rise against non- On Remittances and Effect on Sending Areas labour households. In another context, Mosse et al. (1997) suggest that these inequalities increase While the impact of out-migration via the labour because the differentiated nature of the migration market has been reviewed above, the other source process led to the amplification of income and asset of changes which need to be analyzed would work inequalities. through changes in income, income distribution and Remittances are mainly used for purposes like the pattern of expenditure and investment. Although consumption, repayment of loans and meeting we do not have direct evidence of the value of Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 65 Sanyal and Maity other social obligations. These constitute, in effect Numerous cases have been documented where the the ‘first charge’ on migrant incomes. The evidence same areas export and import labour to identical on investment is, however, mixed. Investment by sectors. Migrants are preferred because their labour migrant households on housing, land and consumer is easier to control and it is easier to extract labour durables is common and migrant income is also from them under difficult conditions. Moreover, used to finance working capital requirements the supply of labour can be easily increased or in agriculture. Evidence of other productive decreased with little cost to employers and migrants farm or non-farm investment is scarce but a can work for long and flexible hours. Flexibility of number of studies do report such investment by the migrant workforce is reinforced because of the a small percentage of migrant and return migrant role of contractors and middlemen in recruitment households (Oberai and Singh, 1983; Krishnaiah, and supervision. The segmentation of the labour 1997; Sharma, 1997; Rogaly et al. 2001). market, which also leads to greater control over both migrant and local labour, is another outcome A major linked issue is the role of rural out- of the process. Finally, the wage payment systems migration in the material and social reproduction which grow around industries based predominantly of rural households and the extant relationships in on migrant labour are eminently suited to side- which they are placed. Standing (1985) has argued stepping minimum wage legislation. Thus migration that circulatory migration in particular contributes reduces labour cost to employers. to the stability of rural production relations. He argues that circulatory labour migrations has ‘safety The labour market outcomes generated by labour valve’ features and ‘has often been a mechanism immigration facilitate a certain kind of growth and preserving a social mode of production or at least accumulation in the destination areas, although reducing the pressures on it’. Temporary migration this is via what can be described as a ‘low road’ to may allow households to relieve underemployment capitalism. According to Breman (1996) the basic and meet debt and other obligations without having rationale for the growing informalization, two-way to sell assets. ‘Relay migration’ can also be seen as a mobility of labour and segmentation is to be found part of the household survival strategy. Indeed the in the type of mercantilist capitalist development long history of rural out-migration in some of the witnessed in India, just as international migration source areas in India combined with agricultural is strongly related to the structure of international and rural stagnation seems to conr fi m the stabilizing capitalism (Sassen, 1988; Piore, 1990). Capitalists role of out-migration. But labour circulation as well operate in uncertain markets, under circumstances as other forms of rural outmigration can also disrupt in which they are highly dependent on traders. pre-existing production relations. The major impact Labour immigration is one of the strategies favored on source areas appears to be through the labour by entrepreneurs to shift both risk and cost of market, with recent evidence indicating greater production on to workers. Another reason for mobility of rural labour households leading to a less continued informalization is to keep businesses isolated and more generalized agriculture labour away from state surveillance. Thus most enterprises market and an upward pressure on wages. Further in the informal sector escape regulation of any kind. there is also evidence of some impact through Furthermore, in such destination areas, employers improvement in the resource base of the migrant rarely provide anything other than wage subsistence households (Srivastava, 1998). requirements. Migrant labourers have to fend for themselves to meet their health, shelter and other On Destination Areas basic requirements. Although the poor condition in which labourers subsist is a result of employers There are clearly multiple rationales for the use not internalizing the legitimate costs of hiring of migrant labour in destination areas. While labour (contravening numerous laws), to society shortages of local labour provides one important the resulting urban congestion appears to be result rationale (Singh and Iyer, 1985; Oberai and Singh, of unplanned mobility. The costs of population 1983), virtually all available evidence shows that mobility have been, as a result, considered in recruitment of immigrants is as much motivated by theory in the context of large costs imposed by strategies of labour control and wage cost reduction. Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 66 On Labour Migration in India: Trends, Causes and Impacts population concentration in large cities. The social, or in isolation to generate migration flow. If an political and other consequences of immigration, individual migrate to attain improved standard of especially where such migration is by linguistically, living by getting high wage/salary then it is called ethnically or regionally distinct groups, has not been migration due to ‘pull’ factor. On the other hand, considered in the growing economic literature on individuals often migrate to repay the old debt at internal migration, but figures prominently in the source area, which is called ‘push’ factor. body of sociological and political literature (Weiner, Finally, the paper discusses the probable impact 1978). of labour migration on the migrant, his/her family members and on the source and destination areas. CONCLUSION We conclude that migration has miserable impact The paper takes up an important socio-economic on the living standard of migrants, their family and political issue – labour migration. This issue is members and they are deprived of health, education somewhat neglected in the economic literature in and other essential public services and basic the sense that there are many areas which remain amenities like hygiene, drinking water and so on. unexplored as compared to other socio-economic- The remittances sent by the migrant back home is cultural and political issues. Hence the paper often used to repay outstanding debts and support attempts to present in a nutshell trends of labour increased consumption. migration in India, its causes and impacts. We feel REFERENCES that it would be of great help to the researchers in conducting research in the areas left unexplored by Acharya, S. 2003. ‘Migration Patterns in Cambodia-causes and consequences’, Ad hoc expert group meeting on Migration the literature. and Development, 27-29 August, Bangkok. Between 1971 and 1991, the migration rate has Action Aid 2005. ‘From Hunger to Suffering … a Journey: declined both for male and female. But we find an Migrant Workers in the Brick Kilns’ – Interventions increase in such rate in the last decade of 90s. The Report. Hyderabad Action Aid. reason for such trend is the rapid development and Afsar, R. 2003. ‘Dynamics of poverty, development and expansion of the informal sector which absorbed a population mobility: the Bangladesh case’, Adhoc Expert group meeting on migration and Development, organized large number of workers from the rural areas. This by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the implies labourers were casualized. The rate of male Pacific, Bangkok, 27-29 August. migration for work has declined since the 90s and Arya. S. and Roy, A. 2006. “Poverty, Gender and Migration”, the corresponding rate has gone up for females. The Sage Publication. reason behind such phenomenon is the introduction Bhagat, R.B. 2009. ‘Internal Migration in India: Are the and implementation of NREGA in different states. th Underclass More Mobile?’ Paper presented in the 26 In terms of duration, short duration in-migration IUSSP General Population Conference held in Marrakech, exhibits a declining trend. The out-migrants Morocco, 27 September- 2 October 2009. migrating for short duration were mostly from rural Breman, J. 1996. “Footloose Labour: Working in India’s Informal Sector ”, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. areas and majority of them were males. Lastly, the trend analysis shows that a high proportion of male Chowdhury, S. 2011. ‘Employment in India: What does the latest data show’, Economic and Political Weekly, XLVI(32). migrate over a long distance and they are rural to urban in nature. On the contrary, females generally Connell, J., Dasgupta, B., Laishley, R. and Lipton, M. 1976. “Migration from Rural Areas: The Evidence from Village migrate over a short distance and it is rural to rural Studies”, Delhi: Oxford University Press. in nature. The reason behind such short distance Dasgupta, B. 1987. “Issues of migration and employment migration has been marriage. with reference to Calcutta”, in: Davis, K. (1951): “The The paper observes that uneven development has Population of India and Pakistan”, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. been the predominant driving force behind labour migration. Besides, disparities in socio-economic Dayal, H. and Karan, A.K. 2003. ‘Labour Migration from Jharkhand’, Institute for Human Development, New Delhi. conditions, wage differentials and disparities in de Haan, A. 1997. ‘Rural-urban migration and poverty: the the development policies also induce individuals to case of India’, IDS Bulletin, 28(2): 35-47. migrate. Moreover, two factors, identified as ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors, operate either simultaneously Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 67 Sanyal and Maity de Haan, A. and Rogaly, B. 2002. “Introduction: Migrant Lewis, A. 1954. “Economic development with unlimited workers and their role in rural change”, Journal of supplies of labour ”, Manchester School of Economic and Development Studies, 37(5). Social Studies, May. de Hann, A. 2011. ‘Inclusive growth? Labour migration and Menon, G. 1995. “The impact of migration on the work and poverty in India’, Working Paper No.513, International status of tribal women in Orissa”, in: Schenk-Sandbergen, Institute of Social Studies. L. ed. (1995) Women and Seasonal Labour Migration. Indo- Dutch Series on Development Alternatives 16. New Delhi: Deshingkar, P. and Start, D. 2003. ‘Seasonal Migration Sage Publications. for livelihoods, coping, accumulation and exclusion’, Working Paper No. 220, Overseas Development Institute, Mitra, A. and Murayama, M. 2008. ‘Rural to Urban Migration: London. A District Level Analysis for India’, IDE discussion paper no.137. Deshingkar, P. and Farrington, J. 2009. ‘Circular Migration and Multi locational Livelihood Strategies in Rural India’, Mosse, D., Gupta, S., Mehta, M., Shah, V. and Rees, J. 1997. Oxford University Press, New Delhi. “Seasonal Labour Migration in Tribal (Bhil) Western India”, Swansea: Centre for Development Studies, Eaton, R. 1984. “The Rise of Islam and Bengal Frontier”, Delhi: University of Wales. Oxford University Press. Mosse, D., Gupta, S., Mehta, M., Shah, V., Rees, J. and KRIBP Gazdar, H. 2003. ‘A Review of Migration Issues in Pakistan’, Team 2002. “Brokered livelihoods: Debt, labour migration paper presented at the Regional Conference on Migration, and development in tribal western India”, Journal of Development and Pro-Poor Policy Choices in Asia, Development Studies, 38(5): 59–88. Organized by Bangaladesh Refuges Migratory Movements Research Unit, Bangladesh/DFID UK, Dhaka, 22-24 June. National Commission on Rural Labour 1991. ‘Reports of the Study Group on Migrant Labour ’, Vol. II, GOI, Ministry Gramin Vikas Trust 2002. “Migration: An Essential Component of Labour, New Delhi. of Rural Livelihoods”, Ratlam, India: Gramin Vikas Trust. Oberai, A .S. and Singh, M .H.K. 1983. “Causes and Haberfeld, Y., Menaria, R.K., Sahoo, B.B. and Vyas, R.N. 1999. Consequences of Internal Migration: A Study in the Indian “Seasonal migration of rural labour in India”. Population Punjab”, Delhi: Oxford University Press. Research and Policy Review, 18(6): 471–87. Pandey, D. 1998. “Migrant labour, employment and gender Harris, J.R. and Todaro, M.P. 1970. “Migration, unemployment dimension”, Indian Journal of Social Work, 59(3). and development: A two sector analysis”, American Economic Review, 60(1): 126–38. Ping, H. 2003. ‘China Migration country study’, Paper presented at the regional Conference on Migration, Hirway, I. 2001. “How Far Can Poverty A lleviatio n Development and Pro-Poor Policy Choices in Asia, Programmes Go? An Assessment of PAPs in Gujarat”, organized by the Bangladesh Refugee and Migratory Ahmedabad, India: Centre for Development Alternatives. Movement Research Unit, Bangladesh/DFID UK, Dhaka, James, K. 2002. ‘Migration dynamics in Andhra Pradesh: 22-24 June. Evidence from Decadal Census’, Paper presented in a Piore, M.J. 1990. “Birds of Passage: Migrant Labour and seminar on Labour Mobility in a Globalising World: Industrial Societies”, Cambridge: Cambridge University Conceptual and empirical issues. Press. Joshi, V. and Joshi, H. 1976. “Surplus Labour and the City: A PRAXIS (Institute for Participatory Practices) 2002. “MP Study of Bombay”, Delhi: Oxford University Press. Participatory Poverty Assessment”, Report prepared for Kadi, A.S. and Sivamurthy, M. 1988. ‘Interstate Migration in ADB. India: 1971-81’, Canadian Studies in Population, 15(1): 37-50. Rani, U. and Shylendra, H.S. 2001. “Seasonal migration and Karan, A. 2003. ‘Changing Patterns of Migration from Rural rural-urban interface in semi-arid tropics of Gujarat: Bihar’, in G. Iyer (eds) Migrant Labour and Human Rights Study of a tribal village”, Journal of Rural Development, in India, New Delhi: Kanishka Publishers, pp. 102–39. 20: 187–217. Krishnaiah, M. 1997. “Rural migrant labour systems in semi- Rao, G.B. 2001. ‘Household coping/survival strategies in arid areas: A study of two villages in Andhra Pradesh”, drought prone regions: a case study of Anantapur The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, 40(1). District, Andhra Pradesh’, Indian Society for Promotion Kundu, A. 1997. ‘Trends and Structure of Employment in the of wastelands Development, New Delhi. 1990s: Implication for Urban. Rogaly, B., Daniel, C., Rafique, A., Rana, K., Sengupta, A. and Kundu, A. 2003. ‘Urbanisation and urban governance, search Biswas, J. 2002. “Seasonal migration and welfare/illfare for a perspective beyond neoliberalism,’ Economic and in eastern India: A social analysis”, Journal of Development Political Weekly, XXXVIII(29): 3079-98. Studies, 38(5). Kundu, A. and Gupta, S. 1996. “Migration, urbanisation Rogaly, B., Biswas, J., Coppard, D., Rafique, A., Rana, K. and and regional inequality”. Economic and Political Weekly, Sengupta, A. 2001. “Seasonal migration, social change and December 28, pp. 3391–98. migrants rights, lessons from West Bengal”, Economic and Kundu, A. 2011. “Trends and Processes of Urbanisation in Political Weekly, pp. 4547–58. India”, Urbanization and emerging population issues. Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 68 On Labour Migration in India: Trends, Causes and Impacts Sardamoni, K. 1995. “Crisis in the fishing industry and Srivastava, R.S. 2003. “Regional growth and disparities”, in: women’s migration: The case of Kerala”, in: Schenk- Alternative Survey Group eds. (2003) Alternative Economic Sandbergen, L. ed. (1995) Women and Seasonal Labour Survey 2001–2, Economic Reform: Development Denied. New Migration, Indo-Dutch Series on Development Alternatives Delhi: Rainbow Publishers. 16. New Delhi: Sage Publications. Srivastava, R.S. and Bhattacharyya, S. 2002. “Globalisation, Sassen, S. 1988. “The Mobility of Labour and Capital: A Reforms and Internal Labour Mobility: Analysis of Study in International Investment and Labour Flow”, Recent Indian Trends”, Paper presented at a seminar Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ‘Labour Mobility and Globalising World: Conceptual and Empirical Issues’. September 18–19 2002, V.V. Giri Shanti, K. 1991. ‘Issues relating to economic migration of National Labour Institute, ISLE and IHD. females’, The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, 34(4). Standing, G. 1985. “Circulation and the labour process”, in: Sharma, A.N. 1997. “People on the Move: Nature and Standing, G. ed. (1985) Labour Circulation and the Labour Implications of Migration in a Backward Economy” , Process. London: Croom Helm. Delhi: Vikas. Sundari, S. 2005. ‘Migration as a Livelihood Strategy: A Shylendra, H.S. and Thomas, P. 1995. ‘Non-Farm Employment: Gender perspective’, Economic and Political Weekly, May nature, magnitude and determinants in a semi-arid village 28-June 4. of Western India’, Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, 50(3): 410-416. Teerink, R. 1995. “Migration and its impact on Kandhesi women in the sugarcane harvest”, in: Schenk-Sandbergen, Singh, D.P. 2009. ‘Poverty and migration: does Moving Help?’ L. ed. (1995) Women and Seasonal Labour Migration, Indo- in Kundu A. (eds), India: Urban Poverty Report 2009, New Dutch Series on Development Alternatives 16. New Delhi: Delhi, Oxford University Press. Sage Publications. Singh, M. and Iyer, K.G. 1985. “Migrant labourers in rural Thanh, H.X., Anh, D.N. and Tacoli, C. 2005. ‘Livelihood Punjab”, in: Patnaik, U. and Dingwaney, M. eds. (1985) diversification and rural-urban linkages in Viet Nam’s Chains of Servitude: Bondage and Slavery in India. Delhi: red River Delta’, mimeo report, November. Sangam Books. Tinker, H. 1974. “A New System of Slavery: The Export of Singh, S.P. and Aggarwal, R.K. 1998. ‘Rural-Urban Migration: Indian Labour Overseas 1830–1920” , London: Oxford The Role of Push and Pull factors revisited’, The Indian University Press. Journal of Labour Economics, 41(4): 653-667. Vaijanyanta, A. 1998. “Advocating for the rights of construction Skeldon, R. 2002. ‘Migration and Poverty’, Asia-Pacific workers: Nirman’s experience”, Indian Journal of Social Population Journal, 17(4): 67-82. Work, 59(3). Srivastava, R.S. 1998. “Migration and the labour market in Weiner, M. 1978. “Sons of the Soil: Migration and Ethnic India”, Indian Journal of Labour Economics, 41(4). Conflict in India”, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. Srivastava, R.S. 1999. “Rural labour in Uttar Pradesh: Emerging features of subsistence, contradiction and resistance”, Journal of Peasant Studies, 26(2 and 3). Srivastava, R.S. 2001. “Access to basic education in Uttar Pradesh”, in: Vaidyanathan, A. and Gopinathan Nair, P.R. eds. (2001) Elementary Education in Rural India: A Grassroots View. New Delhi: Sage Publications. Online ISSN : 0976-4666 Print ISSN : 0424-2513 69

Journal

ECONOMIC AFFAIRSUnpaywall

Published: Mar 25, 2018

There are no references for this article.