OBJECTIVESThe study concentrated on a particular form of migration fromrural Bihar – migration to urban areas in search of livelihood.Thus we are not considering migration due to marriage andmigration within the state. More specifically the study seeks tounderstand the following:• The vulnerabilities at the source region that compels ruralpopulation to migrate to the urban centres in search of work.• The socio-economic profile of the migrants.• The destination points of migrant population.• The process of migration.• The benefits and the problems associated with migration.• The gender dimension of migration.• The role of local government in the process of migration.• The impact on Mahatma Gandhi National Rural EmploymentGuarantee Scheme in stopping migration in the study area.
METHODOLOGY• In the absence of any readily available data-base on migrationprone districts the study districts were chosen purposively inconsultation with the state officials of Bihar. The three chosendistricts were not covered in earlier study by Girish Kumar andPranab Banerji.• Similarly, the study Blocks/GPs were chosen in consultation withdistrict and sub-district functionaries.• In each district two Blocks, and in each Block three GramPanchayats and in each Gram Panchayat a minimum of threevillages were chosen. In some cases more than three villages werechosen as per requirement. In each study village every thirdhousehold was covered under the survey, hence the samplingmethod at the village level was systematic random.
METHODOLOGY (CONT…)• Districts: Gaya, Bhojpur, Aurangabad• Blocks: 2 Blocks from each district; total 6 Blocks• Gram Panchayats: 3 GPs from each Block; total 18 GPs• Villages: At least 3 villages from each GP; total 57 villages• Household: Every third household in the village• Sample Size for Household Survey: District Sample Size Gaya 1037 Bhojpur 1000 Aurangabad 1000 Total 3037Household Survey was supplemented by Qualitative ResearchMethods like FGD, Semi-structured interviews, etc.
Occupation1. In all three districts the overwhelming majority of therespondents live as daily wage earners or as agriculturallabourers/marginal farmers.
Caste Status2. Majority of the migrant households are from ScheduledCastes and Other Backward Castes.
BPL Status3. Fifty Eight per cent of the families are located below theofficial poverty line.
Type of House4. Only 9 per cent live in concrete houses and nearly 60 percent live in kutccha houses, i.e. houses made of mud, strawand tin.
Possession of Land5. Sixty five per cent of the households do not possess anycultivable land.
Size of Land holding6. Eighty One per cent of those who have land, have less than oneacre of land.
Sources of Income7. In the absence of land or substantial amount of land, the twomost important sources of income for the households areremittances from migration and daily wage labour at the locallevel. Income from agriculture forms the third most importantsource of income in all three districts.
Access to Credit8. Only about 10 per cent of the households have access to creditfrom a bank. The majority rely on informal sources such asmoneylenders and neighbours for their loans.
Access to Subsidised Essential Commodities9. PDS shops are functional but not adequately. Forty per cent ofthe respondents have said that they do not get rice and wheat fromthe PDS shops.
Reasons for Migration10. The two most important reasons cited by the respondents ascauses of migration are inadequate fulfillment of livelihood andinadequate employment opportunity. 95 and 97 per cent of therespondents have cited these as reasons.
Sources of Information11. Migration is still predominantly based on caste and familybased networks. The source of information related to migration in38 per cent cases is from another migrant of the same caste whilein 41 per cent cases the informer is a member of the family. In only12 per cent cases the source of information is a member of anothercaste. The role of middle men or agent is negligible. It can also beseen that migration hardly ever takes place without any priorinformation. Only in 2 per cent cases migrants have moved on thebasis of information that is not directly from some source
Gender12. The migrant is almost without exception a single male. In 81per cent cases one person from the household migrates. In 15 percent cases the number of migrants is two. Thus the dominanttrend is for one person per household to migrate to urban areasin search of work. It is very rare to migrate with family. Ninetynine per cent of the respondents have said that women do notmigrate.
Destination Points13. The migrants are moving to almost all parts of India. The capitalof India, New Delhi, is the most favoured destination point with18.3 per cent of the respondents choosing the city as theirdestination point. Gujarat and Maharashtra, understandably comesnext as these are important industrial bases of India at present.
Remittances:14. It is rare (6%) to remit more than INR 50,000 in a year. Fifteenper cent remit less than INR 12000 in a year or less than INR 1000 ina month. Another 10 per cent sends between 12001 and 20,000INR. Thus about one-fourth of the total sends less than INR 2000per month.
Impact of Remittances15. Only in case of 15per cent of therespondents,remittances haveresulted in constructionof a concrete house.Nearly 50 per cent havehowever said that itleads to improvement ofthe resource base of thefamily. This means insome cases buying landand in some other casesbuying inputs foragriculture and alsopaying off family debts.
Benefits of Migration16. In 90 per cent cases the respondents have said that migration hasresulted in an improvement of living conditions of the household and 85 percent have said that it has led increase in family’s income. More than 30 percent have said that it has led to improvement of their ability to repay loansand 34 per cent of the respondents have said that it had helped to meetmedical expenses.
Problems due to Migration17. The emotional loss due to separation from the family is considered to bethe most important negative aspect of migration by the households. 92 percent have said separation from the family is the most important negativeaspect while 71 per cent have said migrant’s absence is felt by the familymembers.
Effectiveness of MGNREGS18. Gram Panchayats are not able to play any effective role in thelives of the migrant population. MGNREGS in the study districts is afailure. Seventy nine per cent of the respondents have said that theyhave received no work under MGNREGS. In case of Aurangabaddistrict the all the respondents have said that they have not receivedany work under the scheme.
Child Labour and Child Trafficking19. The study team has found evidence of child labour and child traffickingin Gaya district.Some children migrate locally or within the country to work in various smallrestaurants popularly known as “Hotels”. These children are used for washingdishes and as support staff for the cooks. Typically the children are paid lessthan adult males but are given food and shelter. They are exploited as childlabourers.However there is a more dangerous form of “migration” which takes place.Some foreign tourists visiting Bodh Gaya also work as agents who lure poorparents by giving them some money as advances to let their children goabroad with them. Usually the parents do not see their children again. Insome cases the agent who recruited the children calls the parents and saysthat their children have left and are missing or they have died. It is not clearwhether the parents willingly sells the children or not but there is no doubtthat this is a form of child trafficking.
SHORT TERM ( 0-2 YRS)• Union Government may set up a committee to review theimplementation of “The Inter-state Migrant Workmen (Regulation ofEmployment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979”.• Central/State Government may give a block grant to the GramPanchayats to support migrants through awareness generation, forhelping migrants who have fallen seriously ill due to work at thedestination point and for helping families who have suddenly losttheir migrant earning member.• Gram Panchayats may be given the authority to certify a migrantworker before he leaves for the destination point. The migrant maybe issued a certificate and a card with necessary phone numberswhere he can call in case of any distress at the destination point.
• Gram Panchayats may also be encouraged to declare in a GramSabha that migration of persons below the age of 14 for work isillegal. The certificate from the Panchayat may only be given topersons above the age of 14.• Gram Panchayats may be encouraged to maintain a data-base ofmigrant workers. This data may be shared with the District LabourOfficer.• State Governments should identify which migration prone districtsare doing poorly in implementation of MGNREGS. The DistrictMagistrate should be issued directives to address the problem on awar footing.• District Administration needs to be issued directives to address theissues of child labour and child trafficking in districts (such as Gaya)where such incidents are taking place.
MEDIUM TERM ( 0-5 YRS)• Union and State Governments need to develop a data-base ofmigration so that appropriate planning interventions can be maderegarding the problem of distressed migration. The migrationprone districts need to be identified on the basis of that data-base.• Donor Agencies may consider distress migration as a priorityissue to allocate more funds for Civil Society Organisations to playa greater role in the migration process. Civil Society Organisationsmay be involved in awareness generation, providing informationto the migrants on good employers in different destinations,provide hand-holding support to the migrants while migrating andkeeping in touch with them at the destination point in order toensure that they get the facilities that are their rights as workers.
• The migrant workers, although huge in number, are largelyunorganised. Trade Unions, Kisan Sabhas and appropriateMinistries/Departments need to find ways of organizing the migrantworkers. There are several small-scale examples of organisations tryingto improve the lives of the migrant workers. These need to bedocumented and replicated.
LONG TERM ( 0 – 10 YRS)• More branches of rural banks need to be opened so that the ruralpoor can have access to formal credit. A plan to improve coverage byrural banks need to be developed. A push is required regardingformation of Self Help Groups in the villages so that a lower rate ofinterest is available to the rural poor. Support of NABARD anddistinguished Civil Society Organisations may be sought for thispurpose.• The National Rural Livelihood Mission needs to be properlyimplemented in the migration prone districts.
• A comprehensive district-level plan is required to boost irrigationand power supply to the villages so that agriculture can be improved.• Union and State Governments may consider providing some inputsat a subsidized rate through the Gram Panchayats so that input costof agriculture is reduced.• Union and State Governments need to develop a plan for givingincentives to small-scale industries to develop in the region so thatmore full-time/part time jobs are created in the locality.• Union and State Governments need to start a process of re-thinkingabout current agricultural practice in densely populated parts ofIndia. It is clear that some form of co-operative farming would haveto be evolved in areas where the individual farmers own very smallplots of land in order to achieve economies of scale and makeagriculture profitable.