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Migration and Human Development in India

Author

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  • Priya Deshingkar

    (Overseas Development Institute, London)

  • Shaheen Akter

    (Overseas Development Institute, London)

Abstract

The paper discusses how gaps in both the data on migration and the understanding of the role of migration in livelihood strategies and economic growth in India, have led to inaccurate policy prescriptions and a lack of political commitment to improving the living and working conditions of migrants. Field evidence from major migrant employing sectors is synthesised to show that circular migration is the dominant form of economic mobility for the poor; especially the lower castes and tribes. The authors argue that the human costs of migration are high due to faulty implementation of protective legislation and loopholes in the law and not due to migration per se. The paper discusses child labour in specific migration streams in detail stressing that this issue needs to be addressed in parallel. It also highlights the non-economic drivers and outcomes of migration that need to be considered when understanding its impacts. The authors calculate that there are roughly 100 million circular migrants in India contributing 10% to the national GDP. New vulnerabilities created by the economic recession are discussed. Detailed analysis of village resurveys in Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh are also presented and these show conclusively that migration is an important route out of poverty.

Suggested Citation

  • Priya Deshingkar & Shaheen Akter, 2009. "Migration and Human Development in India," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2009-13, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), revised Apr 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:hdr:papers:hdrp-2009-13
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fan, Shenggen & Chan-Kang, Connie & Mukherjee, Anit, 2005. "Rural and urban dynamics and poverty: Evidence from China and India," FCND discussion papers 196, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. M. Moretto & Sergio Vergalli, 2008. "Migration dynamics," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 93(3), pages 223-265, April.
    3. Bob Baulch & John Hoddinott, 2000. "Economic mobility and poverty dynamics in developing countries," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 1-24.
    4. Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt, 2006. "Gendered Livelihoods in Small Mines and Quarries in India: Living on the edge," ASARC Working Papers 2006-08, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
    5. Priya Deshingkar & Pramod Sharma & Sushil Kumar & Shaheen Akter & John Farrington, 2008. "Circular migration in Madhya Pradesh: changing patterns and social protection needs," The European Journal of Development Research, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 20(4), pages 612-628.
    6. Ben Rogaly & Daniel Coppard & Abdur Safique & Kumar Rana & Amrita Sengupta & Jhuma Biswas, 2002. "Seasonal Migration and Welfare/Illfare in Eastern India: A Social Analysis," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(5), pages 89-114.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    India; circular migration; caste; tribe; child labour; human development;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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