ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Migration: A Propitious Compromise

Migration provides a pool of labour that becomes the backbone of any growing economy. A study on the status of migrants working in industries of Ludhiana city found that they experienced changes in their social, economic and cultural status after migration. Despite discrimination and exploitation they continued to work out of desperation. While they saved a meagre amount which they remitted home to their families, their overall economic condition improved post-migration.

Unlike in developed countries where growing industrialisation corresponds to growing urbanisation, the growth of the latter is not matched by industrialisation in developing countries (Subhiah 2001). Due to the increasing population in India and inability of the land to bear the burden, more focus is being laid on the non-agricultural sector; as a result more and more people are shifting from rural to urban areas (Sudan 1991). The rural outmigration has led to regional economic development, urbanisation and industrialisation both in developed and underdeveloped countries (Sharma 1991). The total number of rural outmigrants in India is about 74 million of which about 53 million migrated to other rural areas and 21 million migrated to urban areas (GoI 2011). Migration leads to improvement in socio-economic conditions, cultural and environmental status, availability of physical and social infrastructure, and improvement in the status of a country as a whole through the interaction of labour supply and demand conditions (Mehta 1991; Sharma 1979). It is found that people who migrate from rural areas do better economically than their non-migrant counterparts (Long and Heltman 1975).

Labour is one of the most important factor input for any sector in India. Various employment guarantee schemes like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) ensure the survival of individuals in their native villages and the number of non-migrant individuals increases since these schemes reduce both rural and urban migration (Parvatham 2013). Such schemes will also have a drastic effect on supply of migrant labour for not only agriculture but also industry. Therefore, there is a need to understand the socio-economic status of these migrants and to keep the cycle of development running by retaining them. Labourers migrate from their native states due to various economic reasons (Bhagat 2006) but how far are they able to achieve the desired economic standards and how far does migration help in improvement of their living standards? Most of the studies in Punjab on migration have focused on the agricultural sector. However, migration in the industrial sector too needs to be studied. The present study concentrates on the status of migrants working in industries in Ludhiana city which is also known as the Manchester of India. More specifically, the study examines the socio-economic background, the determinants that lead to migration, the nature and extent of employment and income, consumption pattern and nature of remittances of these labourers. Also, the employers’ behaviour towards migrant labourers was examined. A sample of 500 industrial migrant labourers was taken randomly from various large/medium- and small-scale industrial units of the hosiery and knitwear and cycle and cycle parts industries. The lists of the same were obtained from the District Industries Centre (2007). The primary data was collected on a specially structured questionnaire through the personal interview method (2009).

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