Home / Politics / Policy /  Economic Survey 2017 says labour migration higher than earlier estimates

New Delhi: In the five years ended 2016, an average of nine million people migrated between states every year for either education or work, according to Economic Survey 2016-17. That’s almost double the inter-state migration recorded in 2001-2011 and captured by Census 2011.

Rising labour mobility has cut across language barriers and has been more pronounced among women, the survey found, stressing the need for more flexible social security schemes that cut across states to sustain the trend.

“Portability of food security benefits, healthcare, and a basic social security framework for the migrant are crucial – potentially through an interstate self registration process," the survey said. “While there do currently exist multiple schemes that address migrant welfare, they are implemented at the state level, and hence require inter-state coordination of fiscal costs of migration."

Such measures would vastly enhance the welfare gains of migration and encourage even greater integration of labour markets in India, the survey said.

According to data cited in the survey, Delhi was the largest recipient of migrants, accounting for more than half the number in 2015-16. People from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar accounted for almost half the migrants in the same period.

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The survey reveals that states like Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat attracted large numbers of migrants from the Hindi-speaking states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh.

According to the survey, internal migration rates have dipped in Maharashtra and surged in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, reflecting the growing pull of southern states in India’s migration dynamics.

Language does not seem to be a demonstrable barrier to the flow of people—a trend reflected in the southern states attracting people from the North. Inter-state migration was almost four times that of migration within states, reinforcing the perception that language is ceasing to be a deciding factor in migration.

Out-migration rate—or the rate at which people have moved out—increased in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and dipped in Assam. The survey reinforces the fact that the less affluent states have more out-migrants and the most affluent states are the largest recipients of migrants.

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