Migration Narratives: The SHRAM Blog

Uttar Pradesh as a migration hub (PANI)

Uttar Pradesh has traditionally remained as the centre of in-migration, particularly for labourers belonging to lower social classes. It is one of the most sought destinations and a prominent migration corridor for further out-migration. Most of the migrants work as casual and wage labourers with very limited or devoid of any educational attainment. They lack any skill set and hence have very few opportunities of earning a reasonable income at the destination place.

Uttar Pradesh, according to data collated from ‘SHRAM Datahub’, observed an inflow of about 2.8 million according to place of last residence, summed for all durations of residence. Out of this, 22 per cent of migrants are accounted for by Bihar, followed by Madhya Pradesh and Delhi. Adding the figure for migration within the state, the figure shoots upto about 79 million (all data according to 2001 census), indicating the extent of income disparity within the state and unequal growth experience. The incidence of migration is higher among the landless than farming households who are influenced by push factors like lack of regular off-farm and non-farm employment facilities in the villages and pull factors such as available employment opportunities in the cities and industrial place as well as strong social networks of migrants with relatives and friends.

Migration has been classified as being either short term or long term depending on the period of absence at the source state. In short-term or seasonal migration, male family members work at the destination place for about six to eight months while in long term migration, migrants are away from their families for more than a year. Seasonal migration is often linked to debt cycles, searching for alternative source of livelihood in absence of farm income or meeting social expenditures on account of marriages, festivals, ceremonies etc.

Most of the migrant labourers are either dalits or belong to backward caste of marginalized communities. They workers as agriculture labourers and exposed to the exploitation by landlords. In the absence of enough resources to meet consumption needs and inability of procure farm output due to undue exploitation, these classes are forced to migrate to urban area and metropolitan cities, where to their surprise, job uncertainty is high and work is hazardous in nature. Financial insecurity and debt increase their misery manifold. The families of the migrant labourers are left in the dark regarding the terms of the employment, the place of work of their migrant member, advance paid by the employer. As stated above, Uttar Pradesh remains a major hub of migration, particularly for low-caste, agricultural labourers within the state. lack of fertile lands and strong grip of large farmers and landlords in the hinterland of UP have made it a hotbed for in-migration.

Aritra Chakrabarty

Aritra Chakrabarty

Anchor, SHRAM (Till Dec 31st, 2014)

As a social researcher, I believe in knowledge-based policy action. With a postgraduate degree in Development Studies, I've been associated with social issues in my professional space. As a part of SHRAMIC initiative, was involved with data creation, sourcing of resources that will become the knowledge bank of this project.
Aritra Chakrabarty

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