Migrants in India

Economic Survey 2016 – 9 million people annually migrate within India. NSSO – migrants constitute 30 % of national population as well as total working force.

Patterns of flow 

  • Less affluent states see more people migrating out while the most affluent states are the largest recipients of migrants.
  • The cost of moving for people is about twice as much as it is for goods.



  • Annual rate of growth of labour migrants nearly doubled relative to the previous decade
  • The flow within states is four times the flows across states.
  • It indicates that the returns to migration might have increased sufficiently to offset the costs of moving
  • Female migration for work not only grew far more rapidly than the female workforce, but increased at nearly twice the rate of male migration



  • They could not get the benefits of welfare schemes if they migrate to other states for ex. PDS scheme
  • Inter-State Migrant Workers Act, 1979 which aims to safeguard migrants, is obsolete & is hardly enforced anywhere
  • Lack of credible data on incidence of seasonal migration poses serious constraint in framing an effective policy.
  • Migrants may also be missed out in BPL Surveys
  • They are unable to participate in the formal electoral system and are denied a fundamental citizenship right – their right to vote



  • States should move away from the requirement of domicile status to prevent any discrimination in work and employment for the migrants
  • Caste based enumeration of migrants should be adopted, so that they can avail the attendant benefits in the States to which migration takes place
  • Post Offices, banking system and Payment Banks, need to be strengthen in order to reduce the cost of transfer of money and to avoid informal remittances channels
  • Underutilised Construction Workers Welfare Cess Fund should be used to promote rental housing & working Women Hostels
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