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

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Migration, Skilling, and Employment in Bengaluru’s New Service Economy

This paper summarises the key findings of an extensive research study recently completed in the Bengaluru and Raichur districts of Karnataka. Against the backdrop of the Skill India policy, the research focused on skill development centres that mobilise rural youth to undergo training and facilitate their entry into the lower rungs of the new service economy. While the organised services account for an increasing share of urban employment, the study found that such jobs are unlikely to lead to economic or social mobility. Instead, low wages, insecure tenure, and economic hardships in the city push service workers to switch jobs or return to their villages. The unregulated and precarious nature of work in organised services creates a fluid and unstable workforce, thus raising questions about the hegemonic skills paradigm and India’s development trajectory.


This paper presents some key findings of a recent study of youth migration and employment in Bengaluru’s new service economy. There is substantial literature on the large population of circular labour migrants from rural areas who work in construction and industries in Indian cities (Shivanand 2020; Srivastava 2020) as well as mobile high-skilled professionals (Upadhya 2016). “Middling migrants” (Gidwani and Ramamurthy 2018; Rutten and Verstappen 2014) who fill low-end jobs in the burgeoning urban service sector have been less researched. To fill this gap, the study explored the linkages between skill training, youth aspirations, mobility (both spatial and social), and service sector employment through long-term fieldwork in the Bengaluru and Raichur districts of northern Karnataka.1

Economic Restructuring, Unemployment, and Skilling

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Updated On : 22nd Jan, 2022
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