ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Labour Market Mobility of Low Income Households

According to the "over-urbanisation" thesis, migrants move into the urban areas in search of jobs, and in the face of limited employment opportunities in the high productivity industrial sector, they continue to work in low productivity activities. Urban poverty here is a spillover of rural poverty. But why do migrants not return to the rural areas if they continue to be engaged in low productivity activities? The reason could be that the informal sector offers them a better source of livelihood compared to rural avenues. This argument prompts us to pose a number of questions from an empirical standpoint. Based on primary surveys of slum dwellers in Delhi, the author examines if workers managed to experience a change in their occupation, over time. Even when the broad occupation categories remain the same, does the nature of employment change and do income levels rise? If so, what role do networks play in helping them access better paying jobs. The findings tend to support upward mobility in a limited sense though.

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