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EDITORIAL DECODE 16 Jan, 2018 Internal Migration in India

EDITORIAL DECODE 16 Jan, 2018 Internal Migration in India

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What is the issue of internal migration?

  • Despite the absence of any explicit barriers to mobility, India’s inter-state mobility is relatively lower.
  • Analyzing the reasons behind and making necessary policy alterations are essential to facilitate mobility to seek opportunities.

How is the internal migration pattern in India?

  • Internal migrations rates across states are relatively lower in India than in other many other countries.
  • Internal migrants represented 30% of India’s population as per 2001 Census, two-thirds of these were migrants within districts.
  • There is a higher rate of migration from faraway districts of the same state than from nearby districts of a different state.
  • Moreover, more than half of the migrants were women who migrated after marriage.
  • Notably, states with higher rates of access to higher education and public employment have relatively less student and skilled migrants moving out.
  • The rate of migration has almost doubled between 2001 and 2011 relative to the previous decade.
  • Labor migrant flows within states are much larger than flows across states.

Why internal migration is less in India?

  • Barriers to internal mobility include physical distance and linguistic differences.
  • Differences in economic and social features among different states are also among notable reasons.
  • Range of other factors that works as disincentives to inter-state migration.
  • A majority of social entitlement programmes are administered by state governments, even when they are centrally funded are not portable across state boundaries.
  • Access to subsidized food through the public distribution system (PDS) is a major reason as in states where the PDS offers higher levels of coverage, unskilled migrants are less likely to move out-of-state.
  • Even admissions to public hospitals, schools, etc are administered through ration cards issued and accepted only by the home state government.
  • Many universities and technical institutes are administered by state governments and state residents get preferential admission in these through “state quota seats”.
  • The “domicile certificates” necessary for this require continuous residence in the state, ranging from 3 to 10 years in different states.
  • Though accounting for only about 5% of total employment, public sector employs more than half of the higher-skilled.
  • However, in most states, more than three-fourths of government jobs are with the state rather than the central government.
  • Here again, state domicile is a common requirement for jobs in state government entities.
  • Moreover, states are increasingly expanding and promoting the “jobs for natives” policies in the recent period.
  • g. Karnataka recently directed both public and private sector firms to reserve 70% of their jobs for state residents or would lose access to state government industrial policy benefits.

How can this issue be tackled?

  • India’s “fragmented entitlements” should be integrated to offer citizens access to social benefits irrespective of the residing state.
  • This is essential to boost growth and check poverty, by facilitating access to productive opportunities available across the country.
  • A nationally portable identity could prove to be an important step.
  • States should rationalize the discriminatory policies and become more inclusive in offering employment and education.


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