Women are the original migrants; they have to migrate to a new family after marriage
- This session of the Thinc Migration series looks at how Covid-induced disruptions impacted migrant women and children, who are often overlooked when it comes to policy-implementation.
- Women are the original migrants; they have to migrate to a new family after marriage, to a new city if the family moves or alone for employment.
‘Migration’ and ‘Reverse Migration’?
- According to the International Organisation for Migration, Any individual who is migrating or has moved over an international boundary or inside a state away from his or her customary place of residence is considered a migrant.
- Reverse migration is used to describe the process in which there is a widespread migration of migrant workers from industrial centres back to their home countries, fearful of losing their jobs.
Patterns of Migration in India
- Intra-State, Inter-state, Rural-Rural, Rural-Urban, Urban-Rural and Urban-Urban.
- Rural to Urban migration was 20.5 million.
- Rural to Rural migration was 53.3 million.
- Urban to Urban migration was 14.3 million.
- The number of people who moved from the city to the countryside was 6.2 million.
- Aside from these internal migratory flows, India also sees immigration and emigration from neighbouring countries.
- According to the 2011 Indian Census, more than 5 million people have moved to India from foreign countries.
What are the Push and Pull factors for Migration?
- Push Factors: Push factors are those that push a person to leave their place of origin (out-migration) and migrate to another location for various reasons.
- Pull Factors: The factors that entice migrant (in-migration) to a location are referred to as pull factors (destination).
Data and Statistics on Migration
- Internal migrants make up a major portion of India's population, accounting for 309 million people or 30% of the population (Census of India 2001).
- A person is deemed a migrant if he or she is counted in the census at a location other than where they were born.
- Female Movement: Women account for 70.7 percent of all internal movers (Indian Census 2001), and marriage is one of the main causes for female migration in both rural and urban areas.
- Male Migration: One of the most common motivations for male movement in both rural and urban areas is job-related migration.
- Construction, domestic work, textile, brick kilns, transportation, mines, quarries, and agriculture are among the most common employment areas for migrants.
- Urbanization: Rates of urbanisation have an impact on wage disparities between rural and urban areas, and an increase in labour demand in urban areas can drive up urban salaries and boost migration.
Data on women migration
- Women make up 31 crore of the 45 crore migrants recorded in the 2011 Census, accounting for 67 percent of all migrants.
- There are around 21 crore marriage migrants in the world.
- Women who move with their families account for around 11% of all female migrants, or four crore.
- Women who work alone account for around 3% of all migrants, or 73 lakhs.
- Women whose husbands migrate for employment, on the other hand, are the largest category for which we have absolutely no statistics and very bad statistics.
Causes of migration
- Employment: The desire for better work in industry, trade, transportation, and services is one of the primary causes for intrastate, interstate (migration from rural to urban areas, and urban to urban areas), and external migration.
- Seasonal Migration: People travel seasonally in search of work in a variety of industries and locations.
- For example: Seasonally, large numbers of people from drought-prone areas move to work in brickmaking, construction, tile manufacturers, and agricultural jobs.
- Circular migration or repeat migration: A migrant worker's transitory and usually recurring movement between home and host areas, primarily for the purpose of employment.
- Education: People migrate to urban regions in the case of internal migration and to other nations in the case of international migration for better academic chances due to a lack of educational facilities in their home country.
- By 2020, India will have the world's largest pool of young people; nevertheless, there are a dearth of job possibilities in India, which leads to skilled people emigrating.
- Lack of security: Political unrest and inter-ethnic strife are further factors that contribute to internal and external migration.
- Forced displacement can also occur as a result of events such as wars and internal political unrest.
Impact on Migrants (challenges faced by migrant workers)
- Migrants are the majority of workers in the urban informal economy, which is characterised by extreme poverty and vulnerability. Nonpayment of salaries, physical abuse, accidents, and even death at work are all regular problems they confront.
- Documentation of identification: Poor migrant labourers in destination locations confront a number of challenges, one of which is proving their identification.
- The underlying challenge of confirming identity results in a loss of access to entitlements and social services intended for economically needy people, such as subsidised food, fuel, health care, and education.
- Homes: Migrants in Indian cities are forced to live in slums due to a lack of cheap housing. Many seasonal migrants can't even afford to live in slums.
- Migrant workers have limited access to formal financial services and are often unbanked.
- Health-care access: Migrant workers have limited access to health-care services, resulting in poor occupational health.
- Children's education: According to the 2019 UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report), children left behind by migratory parents and seasonal migrants have lower educational possibilities overall.
- According to the survey, 80% of migrant children in seven Indian cities do not have access to education near their places of work.
- Youth aged 15 to 19 who grew up in a rural household with a seasonal migrant were found to be illiterate or have an incomplete elementary education 28 percent of the time.
Challenges Faced By Society And Administration Due To Migration
- Inclusion and Integration of Migrants: Internal migration is not viewed positively in India and policies are often aimed at reducing internal migration, as a result, there is a lack of integration of migration with the process of development.
- Psychological and Emotional Stress: Any person migrating to a new country faces multiple challenges, from cultural adaptation and language barriers to homesickness and loneliness.
- Employment challenges: Foreign labour migrants often face unacceptable treatment from their employers. For instance, some labour migrants are paid below their contract wage and may be forced to work long hours and denied regular time off. Systems like reservation of jobs in many states and countries for the locals (visa barriers in US, Saudi Arabia’s Nitaqat law) pose as the main hurdle.
- Contract Wage System: The problems faced by migrants in destination countries range from contract violation, non-payment of salary, long working hours, and poor working conditions.
- Health Hazards: The poor and harsh living conditions coupled with difficult and risky working conditions, lack of information, and lack of medical health support also leads to several health problems of the migrants.
- Lack of Information: In spite of the challenges and problems faced by the migrants in the destination countries, low tendency to seek assistance from the diplomatic missions in the destination countries were also observed due to lack of knowledge, information about the role of diplomatic missions, trust and effectiveness to enhance access to justice.
COVID-19 crisis and internal Migrants
- According to a World Bank analysis titled ""COVID-19 Crisis Through a Migration Lens,"" COVID-19 has impacted almost 40 million internal migrants in India.
- In just a few days, 60,000 people moved from metropolitan areas to rural places of origin.
- Internal migration is around two-and-a-half times as large as international migration.
- Internal migrants have had problems accessing health care, food, cash transfers, and other social services.
- During an economic downturn, they are at risk of losing their jobs and salaries.
- Lockdowns in migrant worker camps and dorms would raise the risk of disease spreading.
- As police resorted to beating migrants for violating the lockdown orders, state borders became the sites of violent migrant-police interactions.
- Thousands of them, without access to transportation, returned to their villages on foot, dying of hunger, exhaustion, and road accidents.
- Though the Central government launched special Shramik trains on May 1, 2020, to transport urban migrants back to their villages, these special trains provided little help to urban migrants due to train cancellations and expensive prices.
Measures taken by the Government
- In 2004, the government established a specific Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs to focus on issues relating to the Indian diaspora. It offers a wide range of services to the diaspora.
- Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas was established in 2003 to commemorate the contribution of the abroad Indian diaspora to India's progress.
- For the welfare of Indian diaspora residing abroad, the Pravasi Bhartiya Bima Yojana was established.
- The Know India Program began as an orientation programme for diaspora youth, with the goal of raising knowledge of various aspects of Indian society and the country's success in numerous disciplines.
- Oversees the Citizenship of India Scheme (OCI), which gives benefits comparable to those received by citizens in some areas, such as economics and education.