Shivi Development Society

Distress Free Migration

Migration has attached with itself a lot of unprecedented problems for both- the place they shift too and for themselves in terms of exploitation and involuntary displacement with lack of proper shelter and municipal services- like healthcare, clean drinking water, schools and educational institues, garbage disposal, cleanliness around their homes etc.

It also causes anonymity, which creates social vacuum and sense of dejection among individuals. Continued feeling of dejection may motivate people to fall in the trap of antisocial activities like crime and drug abuse. It is a paradox that many Dalits and members of other disadvantaged groups are running from rural to urban areas because they believe that caste does not play such a significant role there. But when they arrive, they have to face new kind of discrimination based on their immigrant status. Specifically women and children are also likely to become victims of people trafficking. Their families sell them to conductors for few hundred rupees having only unclear idea about their future.

Unregulated migration to the metropolitan cities of India has caused overcrowding. Overcrowding of people due to rural-urban migration has put pressure on the existing social and physical infrastructure in the urban areas. Development of slums in industrially developed states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Delhi is the result of unregulated migration. It also brings changes in the population distribution.This ultimately leads to unplanned growth of urban settlement and formation of slums shanty colonies. But nevertheless, it has contributed to the complex mix of people and cultures found in different regions of the country.

In terms of demography, rural areas also face shortage of skilled people because most of skilled and semiskilled people migrate to urban areas.Apart from this, due to over-exploitation of natural resources, cities are facingthe acute problem of depletion of ground water, air pollution, and disposal of sewage and management of solid wastes.

The new paradigm looks at migration as an important exit route from poverty, including for chronically poor, irrespective of the initial characteristics of distress influencing the movements. Recognizing the complex, multi-patterned and dynamic nature of migration, especially among developing economies with large labour force residing in rural areas, the new perspective tends to re-emphasize the positive role on migration, as an integral part of the diversified strategies adopted by the poor. India where the emphasis has been mainly on preventing rather than supporting migrants, thereby enhancing outcomes of what otherwise appeared to be distress scenario of reproducing poverty. The three important constraints that perpetuate poverty among migrants in the Indian situation are: poor education and know-how of the prevailing work systems, discrimination (carrying aspects like casteism, regional preference like in Maharashtra) , and hostile policy environment.

IPAC also befriends the same approach towards the issue of migration. It accepts that migration is an inevitable reality and will be a prevelant at a large scale, no matter whatever good is done for them in their respective states. We can’t stop people or negate their decision to migrate, but as public servants and accountable to the citizens (Government and the civil society at some level) we have to oversee that the migrants get their rights fulfilled and can be better informed, secure and confident citizens. IPAC has taken this opportunity as a facillitator to collaborate with grassroot level organizations and do their part for this issue of migration.

IPAC’s intervention

IPAC wants to focus on internal migration in India, in particular from states of Bihar, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh as well as on migration from Nepal to India. As this is an issue strongly affecting Indian society, IPAC wants to put forward more systemic approach to this topic that could solve some of the problems connected with migration.

Migration in Bihar

Migration in Bihar is oriented both on rural and urban areas. To urban areas mostly seasonal workers are migrating to work in agriculture, especially on farms. Large amount of workers are also coming to construction industry, mainly to work in brick kilns. Those going to cities are often working as rickshaw pullers. These types of work are, of course, typical for poor people. Many of them work also as household workers. These kinds of jobs are largely performed by children and women.

Work migrants usually come alone and they send remittances to support their families who stayed at their place of origin. These remittances are in case of unskilled jobs often very low as migrants are cheated on frequently, they are victims of police harassment, they are robbed and they are paid less than usual. However, many families are more or less absolutely dependent on this income. Nearly one-third of the total household income of the migrant household’s contributed by remittances—the proportion is much higher among landless and small landholders. This shows the dependence of households belonging to lower castes and classes on remittances.The overall impact of migration on the village economy in Bihar is wide ranging and substantial. The large scale migration of rural workers from the state has resulted in a shortage of labour in the villages of Bihar, particularly during the peak agricultural season.

Many people, particularly from upper castes, now also prefer to work outside as it means that they can slowly break the existing caste taboos that exist in the village. While the upper caste people do not do any manual wage work in their villages because of caste taboos, they undertake also variety of work—wage work or loan-paid self-employed work—in their place of migration. This explains an important reason of upper caste youth migrating in large numbers. In case of lower castes also many migrate to come with from the clutches of the prevailing caste discrimination and exploitation at the hand of employers.

Men with their backpacks and essentials portrayed as to migrate to strategic locations

Expected Outcomes of the project

1. Launch of National Migration Policy and Migration Facilitation and Information Centers in destination cities of migrants as well as from where they migrate.
2. Development of migrant policies on state level concerning more specific areas such as education or health care and improvement of living conditions of migrants. Also work towards skill development and establishing vocational training centers. Tackle the unemployment issue and aware the migrants about various employment opportunities provided by government and also safe employment in private sector as well. We have to decrease illegal labor.
3. Spreading awareness about their rights and migrant laws among migrants
4. Spreading of public awareness about migrant issues and improvement of attitude of society to migrants
5. Universal social security coverage
6. Unionizing of migrants through collaboration and networking between NGOs and government agencies at source locations

Migration Information Centre: Migration information centre was opened in the village called Dudhaniya in Bihar for the entire villages of that project area. This Centre was mainly opened to help the migrant workers keep in touch with their village and to have a database consisting all their details. This was done so that when in need they can contact the Information Center and ask for the help or aid from their working state. The Centre is open on all working days and on the holidays also when needed. There is an assistant to provide help in the centre. People who come to the centre are registered and detailed information is taken from them on the Performa made for them. The help is provided keeping in mind their needs and the capacity and the goal of the centre and the project at large.