Migrant Workers in Globalising India

By: Deepak K Mishra
Contrary to the widely held anticipation that post-reforms economics would give rise to significantly higher levels of migration within India, the initial post-reforms period did not witness a massive increase in the extent of migration. The 2001-2011 decade however, sees a substantial increase.

The percentage of migrants, according to the Census data, declined from 30.3 per cent in 1981 to 27 per cent in 1991 and then increased to 30.1 per cent in 2001 and 37 per cent in 2011. Most of this migration is because of marriage and the share of those who migrated for work or employment was around 10 per cent in 2011. National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) data shows that male out-migration for economic reasons in urban areas witnessed an increase during 1993 (41.5 per cent) to 2007-2008 (55.7 per cent). The Economic Survey, 2016-17 flagged a possible increase in migration, on the basis of few non-conventional measures, which has been further corroborated by the data released in July 2019 from the 2011 population census.

The broad contours of the changing migration patterns are well-known. There has been an increase in the share of migrants in the total population. The Hindi heartland states—Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh account for a major share of the total inter-state migrants. Delhi and Mumbai continue to be the most significant metropolitan centres attracting migrants. However, it is the relatively developed southern states that have also emerged as an

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