Migrants are more vulnerable to discrimination and exploitation as many of them are poor, illiterate and live in slums and hazardous locations prone to disaster and natural calamities. There is a lack of urban policies and programmes catering to the needs and settlements of migrants. A variety of factors causes rural to urban migrations. In a nutshell, significant factors of migration are:
Urban centres provide a vast scope for employment in various sectors and also offer modern facilities of life. The current increase in the volume and migration rate from rural to urban areas is mainly due to increasing unemployment, poverty, low wages, small landholdings, lack of infrastructural development and facilities, environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources and limited livelihood options in rural areas.
The total number of internal migrants in India as per the 2011 census is 45.3 crore or 37% of the country’s population. This includes interstate as well as migrants within each state. The recent exodus is largely due to the movement of interstate migrants.
As per census 2011, the size of the workforce was 48.2 crore people. This figure is estimated to have exceeded 50 crores in 2016, of which the migrants workforce constitutes 20% or over 10 crore people. Estimates based on the 2011 census, NSSO surveys and economic survey show that about 65 million interstate migrants and 33% of these migrants are workers.
A study by the centre of the study of developing societies (CSDS) estimates that 29% of the population in India’s big cities is of daily wagers. This is the number of people who would logically want to move back to their states.
Migration from rural to urban intrastate has been increasing slowly with industrialisation and modernisation in India. The main reason for migration is employment or business-related migration.
For migration and urban involution in India, we need to have a new research perspective and new and alternative planning prescriptions. We should have a strong plan and their successive operation for the benefits of poor migrants is now very important. Only then will we be able to handle the effects of urbanisation and bring upward transformation.