Friday, 18 October 2013

Internal migrants make up 1/3rd of India’s population

50% Of Global Figure, Twice That Of China


    Internal migrants in India are expected to touch 400 million in the 2011 census, over half the global figure of 740 million and almost twice as much as China’s estimated 221 million. These migrants, comprising a third of the population in India, are estimated to account for remittances an
ywhere between Rs70,000 crore and Rs120,000 crore. 
    The estimate of 400 million internal migrants, of course, far exceeds the total estimated Indian migrants to other countries, which is estimated at just 11.4 million. While there is more attention and 
policies for emigrants, internal migrants are accorded very low priority by the government whose existing policies have failed to provide legal or social protection to them. 

‘Half of world’s 30 million slaves in India’ Some 30 million people are enslaved worldwide—trafficked into brothels, forced into manual labour, victims of debt bondage or even born into servitude—and India accounts for almost half of them, a global index on modern slavery showed on Thursday. In India, slavery takes the form of forced labour in quarries and kilns, besides trafficking for prostitution. After India, China has the most slaves, at 2.9 million. 

‘80% of all migrants in India are women’ 
    The UNESCO report —“Social Inclusion of Internal Migrants in India” — was released by rural development minister Jairam Ramesh on Thursday. 
    According toNSSO2007-08 women constitute 80% of total internal migrants. “There isn’t enough data on women migrant labour because of the assumption that most women migrate because of marriage. This assumption blocks further analysis of the women migrants engaged in paid labour and an understanding of how their vulnerabilities are being compounded by contemporary economic 
practices and not just because of historicalor culturalbaggage.Thisleads to the “invisibilisation” and undermining of women in policies too,” said Indu Agnihotri of the Centre for Women’s Development Studies. 
    The report estimated that about 30% of the migrants are youth aged 15-29 years and another 15 million are children. The intensity of migration is likely to increase in future. 
    Internal migrants constitute a floating population, which is put at anywhere at 15-100 million by different estimates. These migrants often lose social protection benefits as most benefits are linked to the place of residence, pointed out the report. 

    The report says internal migrants faced discrimination as ‘outsiders’, which excluded them from access to legal rights, public services and social protection programmes accorded to residents. This is despite the migrants providing cheap labour and typically doing the mostdirty,dangerous and degrading jobs that locals do not want to do. Far from being a burden on society, migrants’ cheap labour contributes to the national GDP, stated the report. 
    Jairam Ramesh, who provided the estimates of remittances, pointed out that migrants constitute a significant share of a state’s gross domestic product, about 10% in the case of Bihar 
and 3-4% in the case of Uttar Pradesh. “Portability of legal entitlements could make a huge difference to the lives of internal migrants. The UID number could be the single most important intervention which could ensure portability of legal entitlements as well as financial inclusion. Legal entitlements should not be location specific,only individualor household specific and UID number could make this possible,” said Ramesh. 
    Financial inclusion, he said, was important also because barely 30% of the remittances currently flow throughformalchannels,the remaining 70% being dependent on informal channels.

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