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

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Internal Labour Migration in India

Circular versus Long-term Movements

Using latest household-level data from the India Human Development Survey the relationship between social, administrative, and informational distance and internal labour migration is analysed. In doing so, it distinguishes between circular migrants and long-term migrants where the stock of circular migrantsat over 20 million in 201112was as large as one-third the stock of long-term migrants.

The persistent lack of internal mobility in India has been consistently documented from the early 1960s (Srivastava and McGee 1998; Singh 1998; Bhagat and Lusome 2006; Srivastava and Sasikumar 2003; Deshingkar and Anderson 2004; Chandrasekhar and Sharma 2015; Kone et al 2018). In a cross-country comparison of internal migration rates between 2000 and 2010, Bell et al (2015) shows that India ranks last in a sample of about 80 countries. Internal migration for economic reasons has been particularly low. As per the 2001 Census, two-thirds of the stock of 309 internal migrants were women migrating primarily for marriage. Similarly, of the estimated 326 million migrants in 200708 identified by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), marriage-related migration of women alone constituted 68.5%. The share of Indias five largest districts in total employment has not moved appreciably over time even though the composition of these top five changed substantially (Fernandes and Sharma 2012). This suggests that more productive locations have not attracted resources at the expense of less productive locations.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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