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Internal Migration in India

Internal Migration in India

UPSC CSE – SYLLABUS: GENERAL STUDIES-2- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the
performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Internal Migration in India

  •  Internal migration, the movement of people within a country, results in a more efficient allocation of human resources to sectors and regions where they are better utilized.
  •  In India, as in most countries, there are generally no restrictions on internal movement.
  •  The number of internal migrants in India was 450 million as per the most recent 2011 census.
  •  This is an increase of 45% over the 309 million recorded in 2001.
  •  This far exceeds the population growth rate of 18% across 2001-2011. Internal migrants as percentage of population increased from 30% in 2001 to 37% in 2011. 
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Though migration is expected to enhance consumption and lift families out of absolute poverty, it is not free from distress such as unemployment or underemployment in agriculture, natural calamities, and input/output market imperfections.

In India, over the recent decades, agrarian distress (a push factor) and an increase in

better-paying jobs in urban areas (a pull factor) have been drivers of internal migration.


  •  The modern formal urban sector has not been able to absorb the large number of rural workers entering the urban labour market.
  •  This has led to the growth of the ‘urban informal’ economy, which is marked by high poverty and vulnerabilities.
  •  The urban informal sector pay poorly and involve self-employed workers who turn to petty production because of their inability to find wage labour.
  •  Then there are various forms of discrimination which do not allow migrants to graduate to better-paying jobs.
  •  They are forced to avail services outside the state-provided health care and education system which escalates their expenditure.

Measures needed:

  •  The one nation one ration will alleviate the food security issues faced by the migrants.
  •  With the introduction of Aadhar-based benefits,the issue of benefits portability may be addressed.
  •  More detailed analysis, using customized surveys (rather than relying on census or other general data), is required.
  •  This could lead to policy options to enhance rates of inter-state migration to boost optimization of human resources in the spatial dimension and thereby reduce poverty and boost shared prosperity. 
  •  Internal migration has resulted in the increased wellbeing of households, especially
  • for people with higher skills, social connections and assets.
  •  Hence there exists a need to scale-up interventions aimed at enhancing these benefits from circular or temporary migration.
  •  Government interventions should be aimed at reducing distress-induced migration and the second in addressing conditions of work, terms of employment and access to basic necessities.
  •  Interventions aimed at enhanced skill development would enable easier entry into the labour market.
  •  Improved financial infrastructure to enable the smooth flow of remittances and their effective use require more attention from India’s growing financial sector.

Source: ”The Hindu”


Discuss the trends in internal migration in India. What are the problems faced by them? Suggest measures to alleviate them..