Migration within India

Indian census defines Migration as the spacial mobility of population from one geographic location to other.

Like the functional demographic variables, entire range of migratory data is derived from census report. So, due to the time gap of a decade between two censuses, the migratory data only avails the broader analysis, ignoring the minor movements in between two censuses.

Migration data can be traced back to the oldest census of 1781 as well. However, practical, reliable data base was formed only from 1961 census and onwards. In this census, ‘migration from the place of birth’ formed the highlighting parameter.

In the subsequent census (1971), apart from maintaining the clause of ‘migration by the place of birth’, there was the addition ‘migration from place of last residence’.

It is since 1981 census that the causes of migration were also involved in analysis of data collections.

In accordance to data table of 2011 census, combined with national sample survey organization data 2008, the prominent cause of migration in the country is specified to be employment. The combined analysis of the data also reveals that approximately 30% of total population are migrants in the country.

In specific account of female population, upto 91% of the rural female migrants and 61% of urban female migrants represent marriage to be the cause of migration.

The trends of migration, analyzed in intra-national perspective, reveal wide range of regional and sectoral migratory profile. The analysis of the trends in the two database reveals the following migratory patterns:

  • Regional Migration: Inter-state and Intra-state. Maximum of migrants denote Intra-regional characteristics, followed by Inter-regional.
  • Sectoral Migration: Inter (Rural—Urban migration, Urban—Rural migration), and Intra (Urban—Urban migration, Rural— Rural migration)

Rural— Rural migration, Rural—Urban migration, Urban—Urban migration, and Urban—Rural migration, are the important migratory patterns, in decreasing order of significance. Now, let’s study them in more detail.

Rural–Rural Migration

This intra-sectoral migration forms the most dominating migratory movement of the country. The cause of this migration largely depicts variations in the levels of agricultural development within a region or between regions. This category of migration depicts the movement of agricultural labourers with strong intra-regional characteristics.

Among the prominent examples are the migratory movements:

  • from Awadh plains to Rohilkhand plains in U.P.
  • from Rajasthan and great Indian desert to Banas-Chambal valley.
  • from the drought prone plateau interior to deltaic plains in A.P. and Odisha.

Compared to these intra-regional migration, inter-regional migration reveals less intensity and volume, but involves agriculturally developed locations - Punjab, Haryana, Assam with deltaic plains of Andra Pradesh as the prominent destinations, with heavy demographic loaded sates such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh as the source regions.

Rural–Urban Migration

This inter-sectoral migration formed the most dominating type of internal migration of the country till 1981 census.

Due to the benefits of rural development programmes, this migratory trend slumped to second rank since 1991 census. It represents the movement with similar prominence of intra-regional migration as compared to inter-regional.

Among the prominent examples representing this inter-sectoral migration are the megacities of the country, specifically greater Mumbai, NCT, Chennai, as the destination (in decreasing order of significance).

In the intra-regional perspective, megacity of any given state largely forms the destination of migrating rural population.

The rural–urban migration is often listed as one of the fundamental causes of entire range of urban problems, and also the decreasing economic potentiality of rural areas due to a decline of work force there.

Men predominate the rural to urban stream of inter-state migration, mostly because of economic/employment reasons.

The other sectoral migrations are Urban-Urban and Urban-Rural. They represent weaker profile of migratory trends compared to the preceding examples.

Urban-Urban migration

Enlargement of economy related movements can be seen in all the urban areas of the country (Zelinsky). This migratory trend reflects its imprint in continuous increase in the number of higher-ranking class category of urban areas, with simultaneous decrease in the number of lower ranking class category.

Urban-Rural migration

The general specification derived from the data tables is the movement of aged population back to their native place after the completion of their professional compulsions. This weakest trend of intra-national migration has a pan India profile.

Patterns of Migration in India

Persisting trends of migration in the country depict five prominent characteristics:

  • The most populous states of Northern plain of the country, U.P. and Bihar, form the prominent source regions for all the types of internal migrations.
  • Economically developed, and thus attractive and proximate locations, Maharashtra, NCT, Gujarat and Haryana form the prominent destinations.
  • The Southern peninsular states, in spite of their sound economic levels of development and related attractiveness, reveal stable characteristics in inter-regional migration because of cultural and geographic distance persisting between them and the prominent source regions.
  • The significance of West Bengal as the important destination with sound agricultural and industrial base is on a continuous decline, revealing the failure of the state in keeping pace with the requirement of globalization. This decline is simultaneous to the increase in the importance of Assam – the growing agricultural node.
  • The physiographically unfavorable locations of the country, in combination of unfavourable climate, form the isolated regions which are completely deprived of inter-regional migrations, such as the Great Indian desert, Salt marshes, Andaman and Nicobar Island, Eastern Himalayas and Trans-Himalayan region.

Causes of Migration

The causes or reasons of migration may be placed under two main categories:

  • Push factors: The factors that force people to leave their place of residence or origin, e.g. natural calamities, poverty, religious intolerance, etc.
  • Pull factors: The factors that attract people to certain places, e.g. economic opportunities, water, etc.

In India, the major push factors are:

  • poverty, high population pressure on the land, and lack of basic infrastructural facilities (health care, education, etc.) force rural people to migrate to urban areas.
  • natural disasters (e.g. flood, drought, cyclonic storms, earthquake, tsunami, etc.)
  • wars and local conflicts. For example, internal migration of Kashmiri Hindus due to religious intolerance, terrorism, and riots.

In India, the major pull factors are:

  • better economic opportunities, availability of regular work and relatively higher wages attract rural people to migrate to urban areas.
  • better social infrastructure (better schools and colleges, better health facilities)
  • more varied and better sources of entertainment.

There’s one more point that we need to keep in mind – the causes of migration may vary across the two genders.

Differences in the underlying causes of migration for males and females

  • Economic reasons, such as job and business, are the main reason for male migration. 38% of the males and only 3% of the females migrate due to this reason.
  • Marriage is the main reason for female migration. 65% of the females and only 2% of the males migrate due to this reason. This is the most important reason of female migration in rural India, except in some maternal societies, such as Meghalaya, where males migrate after marriage.
Share on:
comments powered by Disqus