Migration has been defined as crossing of the boundary of a political or administrative unit for a certain minimum period of time. It includes the movements of refugees, displaced persons, uprooted people as well as economic migrants. Internal migration refers to a move from one area (a province, district or municipality) to another within one country.

Causes of Migration

  • Push Factor- These cause people to leave their place of residence or origin; and
  • Pull Factor- Which attracts the 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.
  • There are pull factors which attract people from rural areas to cities.
  • The most important pull factor for 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 entertainments, etc. are also quite important pull factors.
  • Work and employment have remained the main cause for male migration (38 percent) while it is only three per cent for the females.
  • Contrary to this, about 65 percent of females move out from their parental houses following their marriage.
  • Apart from these factors, natural disasters such as, flood, drought, cyclonic storms, earthquake also reasons for migration.

Streams of Migration

  • A few facts pertaining to the internal migration (within the country) and international migration (out of the country and into the country from other countries) are presented here.
  • Indian migration, four streams are identified:
    • Rural to rural
    • Rural to urban
    • Urban to urban
    • Urban to rural
  • Females predominate the streams of short distance rural to rural migration in both types of migration.
  • Contrary to this, men predominate the rural to urban stream of inter-state migration due to economic reasons.
  • Apart from these streams of internal migration, India also experiences immigration from and emigration to the neighboring countries.
  • In India, during 2001, out of 315 million migrants, enumerated on the basis of last residence, 98 million had changed their place of residence in the last ten years.
  • Out of these, 81 million were interstate migrants.
  • The stream was dominated by female migrants.
  • Most of these were migrants related to marriage.

Census 2001 has recorded that more than 5 million people have migrated to India from other countries. Out of these, 96 % came from the neighboring countries

  • Bangladesh (3 million)
  • Pakistan (0.9 million)
  • Nepal (0.5 million)

Included in this are 0.6 million refugees from Tibet, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Myanmar. As far as emigration from India is considered it is estimated that there are around 20 million people of India Diaspora, spread across 110 countries.

Spatial Variation in Migration

  • Some states like Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat and Haryana attract migrants from other states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar etc.
  • Maharashtra occupied first place in the list with 2.3 million net in-migrants followed by Delhi, Gujarat and Haryana.
  • On the other hand, UP (-2.6 million) AND Bihar (-1.7 million) were the states, which had the largest number of net out-migrants from the state.

Consequences of Migration:

Economic Consequences

  • A major benefit for the source region is the remittance sent by migrants.
  • Remittances from the international migrants are one of the major sources of foreign exchange.
  • In 2002, India received US $11 billion as remittances from international migrants.
  • Punjab, Kerala and Tamil Nadu receive very significant amount from their international migrants.
  • Besides this, unregulated migration to the metropolitan cities of India has caused overcrowding.
  • Development of slums in industriallydeveloped states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Delhi is a negative consequence of unregulated migration within the country.

Demographic Consequences

Social Consequences

  • Migrants act as agents of social change.
  • The new ideas related to new technologies, family planning, girl’s education, etc. get diffused from urban to rural areas through them.
  • Migration leads to intermixing of people from diverse cultures.
  • It has positive contribution such as evolution of composite culture and breaking through the narrow considerations and widens up the mental horizon of the people at large.
  • But it also has serious negative consequences such as anonymity, which creates social vacuum and sense of dejection among individuals.
  • Continued feeling of dejection may motivate people to fall in the trap of anti-social activities like crime and drug abuse.

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 unplanned growth of urban settlement and formation o slums shanty colonies.
  • Apart from this, due to over-exploitation of natural resources, cities are facing the acute problem of depletion of ground water, air pollution, disposal of sewage and management of solid wastes.
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