India and Migration - Facts for UPSC Prelims and Mains GS-II & Essay

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), India is the top source of international migrants. It terms India as a migration superpower. Migration from India occurs due to social, economic and political reasons. As an important national issue, Migration makes an important part of IAS Exam from the perspective of Mains GS-II and Essay.

This article will provide you with relevant facts about Migration in India, assuming its significance for UPSC 2022.

Aspirants reading the topic ‘Migration in India’ can also check the below-mentioned links which are similar:

What is Migration?

  • When a person or a group of the community move from one place to another, majorly across political and administrative borders; it gives rise to migration.
  • The term migration refers to the movement of people from one area to the other or from one country to another.
  • The rate of migration affects the growth of the population of a region by increasing or decreasing the number of people living there.
  • Migration can be called permanent, temporary and daily.

Types of Migration

Migration can be of various types:

  • Temporary
  • Permanent
  • Voluntary
  • Permanent

Technically, it is also categorized into the following:

  • Counter-urbanization
  • Emigration
  • Immigration
  • Internal migration
  • International migration and
  • Rural-urban migration

Features of Migration

The features of migration are mentioned in the table below:

Migration always is signified by movements of persons or a community
It can be forced or voluntary
It always involves a change of residence
It leads to population change in the area
Migration may lead to emigration (when a person leaves his/her own country to settle permanently in another country)

Migration & the Census of India

In the Indian Census, migration is signified by two types:

  • Migration by birthplace
  • Migration by place of last residence

The census also covers the reasons for migration which are:

  • Work/Employment
  • Business
  • Education
  • Marriage
  • Moved after birth
  • Moved with household

As per 2001 census:

  • 5.3 crore migrants were recorded who moved from one village to another
  • 2.1 crores migrants moved from the villages to towns
  • 62 lakhs migrants from moved from towns to villages
  • 1.4 crore migrants moved from one town to another
  • Maharashtra topped the list of the states w.r.t the number of net migrants (23.8 lakh)
  • Uttar Pradesh (-26.9 lakh) and Bihar (- 17.2 lakh) were the two states with the largest number of persons migrating out of the two states.

Causes of Migration

  • People, generally, are emotionally attached to their place of birth. But millions of people leave their places of birth and residence. There could be a variety of reasons. These reasons can be put into two broad categories:
    • Push factors, these cause people to leave their place of residence or origin; and
    • Pull factors, which attract people from different places.
  • In India, people migrate from rural to urban areas mainly due to poverty, high population pressure on the land, lack of basic infrastructural facilities like health care, education, etc.
  • Apart from these factors, natural disasters such as floods, drought, cyclonic storms, earthquakes, tsunamis, wars and local conflicts also give an extra push to migrate.
  • On the other hand, there are pull factors that attract people from rural areas to cities.
  • The most important pull factor for the majority of the rural migrants to urban areas is the better opportunities, availability of regular work and relatively higher wages.
  • Better opportunities for education, better health facilities and sources of entertainment, etc., are also quite significant pull factors.

The problem of International Migration in India

The facts about the migration problems in India are given below:

  1. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) had reported in 2010 that Globalisation has been a major factor influencing the international movement of people and for the growth of transnational communities. It is estimated that 215 million people, constituting about 3 per cent of the world’s population, live outside their native countries.
  2. Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) had in 2010 reported that the top 20 countries of migrant origin accounted for over half of all international migration flows in 2008, with China, Poland, India and Mexico at the top of the list
  3. The reasons of international migration in India are:
    1. The growing mobility of labour in a globalising economy,
    2. Emerging population and demographic dynamics
    3. Integration issues
    4. Enhanced security concerns.
  4. The challenge is to maximise the benefits from migration and transform it into a win-all process for the countries of origin, destination and the migrants themselves.
  5. In India, the migratory flows of the skilled and the unskilled, both have undergone changes due to the pervasive economic restructuring under globalisation that creates opportunities as well as challenges.
  6. In the case of unskilled migrants, the policy responses from public administration, both in the countries of origin and destination, towards safe and adequate legal protection to the migrants continue to maintain its salience.
  7. Within the country itself, the mainstreaming of Diaspora policies remains an issue which engages us.
  8. At a moderate level, it takes up the issue of integration of the overseas community with the host society.

Advantage of Migration (Indian Scenario Globally)

  • Migrants of all skill levels considerably contribute to societies. They spawn creativity, nourish the human spirit and spur economic growth. They bring diversity, provide innovation and bring about economic development and growth in the host societies.
  • The primary motivation for migration is economic and at the heart of migration, management is imperative to maximize the development impact of international migration for all.
  • India exemplifies the strengths of a large, tolerant, secular, live democracy with a pluralistic society in which people of different faiths, languages, ethnicity and political persuasions co-exist and thrive. Indeed, this milieu is the ‘sine qua non’ of any society that can create conditions for positive migratory movements and labour mobility for the benefit of all.
  • This places India in a position to help contribute to the international community’s efforts to develop an appropriate world migration strategy.

Consequences of Migration

Migration is a response to the uneven distribution of opportunities over space. People tend to move from places of low opportunity and
low safety to places of higher opportunity and better safety. This, in turn, creates both benefits and problems for the areas, people migrate from and migrate to. Consequences can be observed in economic, social, cultural, political and demographic terms.

  • Economic Consequences – A major benefit for the source region is the remittance sent by migrants. Remittances from international migrants are one of the major sources of foreign exchange.
  • Demographic Consequences – Migration leads to the redistribution of the population within a country. Rural-urban migration is one of the important factors contributing to the population growth of cities. Age and skill selective out-migration from the rural area have an adverse effect on the rural demographic structure.
  • Social Consequences – Migrants act as agents of social change. The new ideas related to new technologies, family planning, girls’ education, etc. get diffused from urban to rural areas through them. Migration leads to intermixing of people from diverse cultures. It has positive contributions such as the evolution of composite culture and breaking through the narrow considerations and widening up the mental horizon of the people at large.
  • Environmental Consequences – Overcrowding of people due to rural-urban migration has put pressure on the existing social and physical infrastructure in the urban areas. This ultimately leads to the unplanned growth of urban settlement and the formation of slums shanty colonies.

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