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Migrants' (Denied) Right to the City


Abstract and Figures

The history of cities in the Indian sub-continent goes as far as the middle of the third millennium BC with the emergence of cities like Harappa and Mohenjo Daro in the Indus valley (Champakalakshmi 2006:8). During different phases of Indian history, many new cities have emerged and many have declined, shaping the history of India (Ramachandran 1995). The dynamics of city growth shows that migration has been a very important component as cities were centres of trade, manufacturing and services. These functions could not have been sustained without migration and migrant labour. People migrate to cities not only for work, but also on account of business, education, marriages, natural disasters and conflicts etc. As cities have evolved through various migrations over a long period of time, they are characterized by diversity in terms of ethnic and religious identities, occupations, language, culture, food habits and so on. In fact heterogeneity is the hallmark of cities and innovations -in which migrants have played a very significant role -are central to their existence. Migration, especially internal migration, contributes significantly to the growth of Indian cities. The Indian Constitution guarantees freedom of movement and freedom to settle within the territory of India as a fundamental right of all citizens (Article 19). Yet migrants face several barriers in terms of access to civic amenities, housing and employment, as well as restrictions on their political and cultural rights because of linguistic and cultural differences. These discriminations are articulated in various parts of India in the theory of 'sons of the soil', which evokes anti migrant sentiments (Weiner 1978, Hansen 2001). Migrants are all the more vulnerable to discrimination and exploitation as many of them are poor, illiterate and live in slums and hazardous locations prone to disaster and natural calamities. As such, the condition of migrants in cities needs to be addressed squarely in urban policies and programmes.
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Migrants’ (Denied) Right to the City
Ram B. Bhagat
1. The Context
The history of cities in the Indian sub-continent goes as far as the middle of the third millennium
BC with the emergence of cities like Harappa and Mohenjo Daro in the Indus valley
(Champakalakshmi 2006:8). During different phases of Indian history, many new cities have
emerged and many have declined, shaping the history of India (Ramachandran 1995). The
dynamics of city growth shows that migration has been a very important component as cities
were centres of trade, manufacturing and services. These functions could not have been
sustained without migration and migrant labour. People migrate to cities not only for work, but
also on account of business, education, marriages, natural disasters and conflicts etc.
As cities have evolved through various migrations over a long period of time, they are
characterized by diversity in terms of ethnic and religious identities, occupations, language,
culture, food habits and so on. In fact heterogeneity is the hallmark of cities and innovations - in
which migrants have played a very significant role - are central to their existence.
Migration, especially internal migration, contributes significantly to the growth of Indian cities.
The Indian Constitution guarantees freedom of movement and freedom to settle within the
territory of India as a fundamental right of all citizens (Article 19).
Yet migrants face several
barriers in terms of access to civic amenities, housing and employment, as well as restrictions on
their political and cultural rights because of linguistic and cultural differences. These
discriminations are articulated in various parts of India in the theory of ‘sons of the soil’, which
evokes anti migrant sentiments (Weiner 1978, Hansen 2001). Migrants are all the more
vulnerable to discrimination and exploitation as many of them are poor, illiterate and live in
slums and hazardous locations prone to disaster and natural calamities. As such, the condition
of migrants in cities needs to be addressed squarely in urban policies and programmes.
Migration raises a central issue for the right to the city -i.e. the right for everyone, including
migrants, to access the benefits that the city has to offer - and how best to promote awareness
of, and representation for migrants within the city (Balbo 2008:132). The Right to the City
perspective seeks to improve the condition of migrants by providing an alternative view point
to counter the negative effects of neo-liberal policies (Purcell 2002). It advocates proactive
strategies to include migrants in the decision making process, recognizing their contribution as
valued urban citizens. This paper presents an array of cases of the denial of migrants’ right to
the city; it reviews the nature and process of migration to urban areas in the light of recently
available evidence, identifies the exclusionary processes operating in Indian cities influencing
migration and migrants, and suggests strategies for the integration of migrants in building
inclusive cities in India.
2. Migration, Urbanization and Cities: Spatial Pattern and Exclusionary Processes
Migration has been the main component of urbanization. In India, about one-third of the
population lives in urban areas (31 percent) according to Census 2011. The urban population,
comprised of 377 million out of the total population of 1,210 million enumerated by the 2011
Census, is spread over about 8000 cities and towns. These cities and towns are hierarchically
linked with each other, but predominantly embedded in the spatial organization of the national
economy. The spatial structure of the Indian economy is shaped by three port cities namely
Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai, established during colonial rule (Raza and Habeeb 1975). Delhi
also played an important role after it became the capital city in 1911. Together these cities
dominated the urbanization process and the inter-regional flow of migration. The 2011 Census
shows that the urbanization process is vibrant in North, West and South India with the three
largest cities, namely Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai forming a nucleus in their respective regions.
Hyderabad, Bangalore and Ahmedabad are another group of big cities that shaped the regional
pattern of urbanization. On the other hand, Eastern and North-Eastern India lagged behind with
the declining importance of Kolkata and the lack of any other megacity in the region. The next
ranking city in East and North-East India is Patna, which is about 7 times smaller than Kolkata.
The exclusion of Eastern and North-Eastern India on the map of urbanization is also evident in
the fact that the region as a whole is characterized by high inter-state out-migration, which is
largely due to the lack of vibrant cities in the region. The same is also true for the central region,
consisting of the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.
India has had a policy of economic liberalization since 1991. During the post liberalization phase,
the importance of cities and urban centres in India’s economic development, has been growing.
For example, the contribution of urban areas to India’s GDP has increased from 29 percent in
1950-51 to 47 percent in 198081, to 62 percent to 63 percent by 2007, and is expected to
increase to 75 percent by 2021 (Planning Commission 2008: 394). It is also being emphasized
that 9 to 10 percent of growth in GDP fundamentally depends on making Indian cities more
livable and inclusive (Planning Commission, Govt. of India 2008: 394). However, with increasing
economic growth, wealth is becoming concentrated in cities and urban centres, and the gap
between rural and urban India in income levels, wages and employment opportunities is
widening. Furthermore, increasing economic growth is also associated with growing regional
disparity and lopsided urbanization. Many have argued that the process of urbanization during
the post liberalization phase has been exclusionary (Kundu 2007; Bhagat 2010). It is not only
exclusionary in the regional sense but also as a social and spatial process within the city, and it
would be perilous to ignore the conditions of migrants in urban areas.
3. Internal Migration: Trend and Pattern
Indian cities are growing through internal migration, unlike some cities in developed countries
where international migration has been a relatively larger component. Because of the visibility
of international migrants in Western cities, international migrants have received more attention
from researchers, international organizations and funding agencies. It is now realized that the
proportion of internal migrants - those who move within the national territory is several times
larger than those who move beyond national boundaries. According to the Human Development
Report 2009, the number of those who moved across the major zonal demarcations within their
countries was nearly four times larger (740 million) than those who moved internationally (214
million), (UNDP 2009: 21). However, if we take smaller units such as villages and towns as a
geographical demarcation, internal migrants were as many as 309 million in India alone, based
on the place of last residence in 200,1 out of which 101 million were enumerated in urban
3.1 Migration to Urban Areas
India’s urban population was 79 million in 1961 and increased in a half century to 377 million in
2011. By 2030 it is likely to reach about 600 million (Ahluwalia 2011). The share of in-migrants
(all durations of residence) in the population of urban areas has increased from 31.6 percent in
1983 to 33 percent in 1999-2000 to 35 percent in 2007-08, for which the latest data are
available from National Sample Survey Office (NSSO 2010a). The increase in the migration rate
to urban areas has primarily occurred due to an increase in the migration rate for females (see
also Fig 1). Although females migrate on account of marriage, many of them take up work
sooner or later, joining the pool of migrant workers in urban areas.
On the other hand, the male migration rate in urban areas has remained constant (between 26
and 27 per cent), but employment-related reasons for migration of males increased from 42
percent in 1993 to 52 percent in 1999-2000 to 56 percent in 2007-08 (NSSO 2010a). This shows
the increasing importance of employment-related migration to urban areas. When we
disaggregate the reasons for migration into various streams of migration such as rural to rural,
rural to urban, urban to rural and urban to urban, employment related reasons go as high as 62
percent in the case of male rural to urban migration (NSSO 2010a; see also Fig 2). Further, within
the rural to urban migration stream, there is the increasing importance of inter-state rural to
urban migration for employment-related reasons (Bhagat 2010).
NSSO estimated the total number of migrants to be about 288 million in 2007-08, out of which 94 million were living
in urban areas. The NSSO uses a slightly different criterion in fixing the place of last residence, i.e. a person would
have lived at least six months in the place of last residence before arriving at the present place of residence. No such
condition is required in the census criterion defining migrants based on their last place of residence (see Bhagat
The migration rate is defined as the number of all duration migrants in a particular year divided by the respective
population. It is represented as numbers of migrants per 100 persons.
Figure1. Migration Rates in Urban Areas, India, 1983 to 2007-08 (in percent)
Source: NSSO (2010a).
Figure2. Employment-Related Reasons for Migration by Streams of Migration,
India, 2007-08.
Source: NSSO (2010a)
rural to
urban to
rural to
urban to
3.2 Migration to Cities
As mentioned in the earlier section, internal migration in India is influenced by the regional
disparity of levels of development established during colonial rule. City ward migration
became more important as cities of a million plus acquired new prominence on the urbanization
map of India. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Kolkata acquired the status of a million
plus city, followed by Mumbai in 1911. By 1951 Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad joined the ranks
of the million plus cities. By 2001 there were 35 million plus cities in India, in which about 38
percent of the total urban population resided. The number of million plus cities has risen to 53
and the population residing in them has increased to 43 percent by 2011
( The rising
importance of million plus cities, both in numbers, as well as the huge concentration of urban
population within them indicates the significance of migrants in the city space. The share of in-
migrants (all durations of residence) in the entire population varies from less than 15 percent in
million plus cities like Allahabad and Agra to 55 percent and more in cities like Surat, Ludhiana,
and Faridabad. Mumbai and Delhi had about 45 percent of migrants in 2001. When we look at
the share of the migrants across the million plus cities, it is quite evident that this share is
closely related to the economic position and vibrancy of cities (Bhagat, Das and Bhat, 2009).
Migrants in cities and urban centres are predominantly engaged in the informal sector, doing a
variety of work such as construction work, as hawkers and vendors, domestic servants, rikshaw
pullers/drivers, electricians, plumbers, masons and security personnel etc. The majority are
either self employed or casual workers. About 30 percent of migrant workers are working as
casual workers, are therefore quite vulnerable to the vagaries of the labour market and lack
social protection. Only 35 percent of migrant workers are employed as regular/salaried workers
(NSSO, 2010a).
3.3 Seasonal and Temporary Migration
Migration involves change of residence either on a permanent or semi-permanent basis, but
there are a large numbers of people who move for a short duration in the lean season from their
current place of residence, annually. Such migrants, known as seasonal and temporary or
circular migrants, are not fully captured by the conventional definitions based on the criteria
employed by the Census or NSSO, of place of birth or place of last residence criteria. An
additional definition of migration has been used by NSSO to capture seasonal and temporary
migration. A seasonal or temporary migrant is defined as the household member who has
stayed away from the village/town for a period of one month or more but less than six months
during the last 365 days, for employment or in search of employment (NSSO, 2010a). This
criterion estimated a seasonal or temporary migration of 14 million
additionally, as per National
Sample Survey 64
Round in 2007-08. The seasonal/temporary migration is predominantly, (63
percent), directed towards cities and urban centres (Keshri and Bhagat, forthcoming). Several
studies have pointed out that seasonal/temporary migration is more prevalent among the socio-
economically deprived groups such as scheduled castes and tribes, and among the poorest of
the poor and landless households. It is mostly driven by distressed circumstances and is a form
of livelihood strategy of the rural poor (Deshingkar and Akter, 2009; Keshri and Bhagat, 2010).
Priya Deshinker and Shaheen Akter (2009) estimated 100 million circular migrants based on their logic and
inferences and they have estimated that these migrants contribute 10 percent to the national GDP.
4. Migrants’ Exclusion and Denial of Rights
With some policy changes and programmes there could be enormous benefits from migration,
both for the areas of origin and for areas of destination (UNDP, 2009). Migration transfers
labour from areas of surplus to areas of deficit, raising the overall productivity of the labour
force and minimizing imperfections in the labour market. Migrants bring new skills and
innovative practices and are willing to take risks where the natives fear to tread. As noted in the
preceding sections, cities are important destinations for migrants and the rising contribution of
cities to India’s GDP would not be possible without migration and migrant workers. Employers in
many instances prefer migrant workers who are hard working, disciplined and pliable, and paid
Migrants contribute to the diversity of cultural life in the city. Bollywood is a living example:
successful actors or actresses and other artists are either migrants themselves or their parents
have migrated to the city of Mumbai. Without migration the success of Bollywood in the film
industry could not have been imagined. Similarly, the contribution of trading communities like
the Parsis, Marwaris and Gujaratis etc. in promoting trade and commerce in several Indian cities
has been possible in the wake of their migration. Also many of India’s leading statesmen such
as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and B.R Ambedkar had migrated before shaping the
history and destiny of India. There are many such instances which point to the fact that
migration should not be seen simply as a response to crisis, but as an instrument to fulfill the
aspirations of the people. It is not the result of a lack of development but a sign of people’s
desire to prosper.
Back home, remittances are vital for improving the living conditions of millions of households.
In India, almost all households use remittances for household expenditure in order to improve
their quality of life. A very high proportion of households use remittances on food items (76
percent) followed by health care (38 percent) and education (31 percent) in rural areas (NSSO,
2010). Apart from financial remittances, migrants bring back a variety of skills, innovations and
knowledge, known as social remittances, which contribute to the social and economic changes
in the areas of origin. These examples show that migration brings benefits to both areas of
origin and areas of destination.
Despite the enormous contribution of migration to national progress, it is not viewed positively
and sentiment against migration to the city has been growing (Nath 1986; Rajan et al 2011). As a
result, migrants face a variety of exclusionary forces both directly and indirectly. In India
exclusionary processes are more indirect and subtle, unlike China where migrants in urban areas
are discriminated against on the basis of the household registration system (hukou). In China,
migrants are not part of the urban hukou and face discrimination in access to employment,
pension, housing, health care and education. This has been a matter of intense debate in recent
years (Solinger, 1999; Li, 2010). On the other hand, in India the exclusion and discrimination
against migrants take place through political and administrative processes, market mechanisms
and socio-economic processes causing a gulf between migrants and the locals along ethnic,
religious and linguistic lines. India is a federal country of states which are, by and large,
organized on linguistic lines. Migrants generally originate from the low income states which are
also often linguistically distinct from the high income states which receive migrants.
The migrants’ right to the city is most strongly denied in the political defence of ‘sons of the soil
which aims to create vote banks along ethnic and linguistic lines, even dividing migrant
communities into those who belong to the state (same linguistic group) and those migrants from
other states (different linguistic groups)
. This leads to the marginalization of migrants in the
decision making process in the city, and exacerbates their vulnerabilities to the vagaries of the
labour market, the risks of discrimination and violence, health risks, and also the risks of
natural calamities like floods and landslides due to their places of shelter being located in
vulnerable sites within the city. As social protection programmes are hardly geared towards
migrants, they tend to be underpaid and exploited; they lack proper housing and access to
improved sources of drinking water, sanitation and health services. There are a huge number of
urban people living in slums
Slums are a manifestation of deprivation in cities and the migrants
who live in slums are hugely affected by the denial of their right to shelter, to potable drinking
water, to sanitation and to healthcare (see also chapter on ‘The Challenge of Slums and Forced
A recent study by the NSSO (2010b) in 2008 shows that, 25 percent of the urban households
have no access to drinking water within their premises, 22 percent have no bathroom, 15
percent have no access to a drainage facility and 11 percent do not even have any toilet facility.
Only three-fifths of urban households owned their dwelling in 2008-09. These figures for urban
areas as a whole are appalling and indicate deprivations and the denial of various rights to
vulnerable groups such as migrants within the city. The city restructuring and urban renewal
process, under the aegis of neo-liberal policy regimes, has also led to the huge displacement of
migrants, even from notified/recognized slums within the city, in recent times. Moreover,
squatter settlements of poor migrants are termed illegal in the eyes of elites, municipal
authorities and courts, and are increasingly subject to eviction. These are examples of blatant
violations of the right to shelter as well as of the human rights of migrants in cities.
Many migrants lack proof of identity and proof of residence in the city. This turns out to be the
biggest barrier to their inclusion. Due to a lack of proof of residence, many are not included in
the voters’ lists and cannot exert their right to vote. Lack of residential proof also leads to
exclusion from opening a bank account, getting a ration card and a driving license and so on, all
of which are very important documents since they are requested in order to benefit from
different government programmes. It is worthwhile to note that residential proof depends upon
a migrant’s ability to either own a house in his/her name or his/her family member’s name, or to
get a house on rent under leave and license agreement. The recent UID (Unique Identification)
project also insists on residential proof
The denial of political rights (of voting) for migrants is crucially linked to the denial of the right to
housing in the city. Due to the lack of proper housing, many migrants live in informal
settlements and are unable to acquire proof of residence. In addition, as most of them work in
the informal sector, they have no opportunity to get a proof of identity from their employers
unlike their counterparts who work in the formal sector.
Rajan et al (2011) present examples of “sons of the soil” movements from various states of India such as
Maharashtra, Assam, Meghalaya and Goa.
As per Census of India 42.6 million people lived in slums in 2001. The figure estimated by the Town and Country
Planning Organization (TCPO) was 61.8 million (International Institute for Population Sciences 2009:12). On the other
hand, according to UN-Habitat (2006: 193) there was a slum population of 158 million in India in 2001, which was
estimated to be 184 million in 2010. Estimates vary due to different criteria adopted in defining slum populations.
See also chapter on “Urban Governance: How Democratic?”.
Due to lack of identity and residential proof, migrants turn out to be non-citizens in the city.
They are subjected to police harassment and implicated in criminal cases. They face the lack of
physical safety and security at the work site as well as at their place of stay. Women, who
generally migrate to the city as companions to their male counterparts, face greater risk of
exclusion. Women generally work as construction workers, domestic or daily wage workers.
They are paid low wages compared to male migrants, have a limited access to drinking water
and toilet facilities at the work site, and face the risk of sexual harassment. There is also an
absence of crèche facilities to look after their young children at most of the work sites (see Box
10 for some good practices) .
Box 10. Mobile Creches in Delhi and Mumbai Mobile Crèches
Mobile creches provide childcare services to 6000 children in a year, at 21 day care centres at
construction sites across Delhi, NOIDA (Uttar Pradesh) and Gurgaon (Haryana), from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00
p.m., six days a week. It also ensures child care services for another 5000 children in a year, by setting
up neighbourhood crèches, functionalizing public services in the slums of Delhi and building capacities
of community women and grass root organizations in Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD),
in North India. Mobile Crèches work with corporate partners, including construction companies and
state/central governments ( In Mumbai, Mumbai Mobile Crèches
provide support and care related to health, education and the safety of the children of construction
workers (typically low skilled migrant labourers (
The children of migrants are denied their right to education as seeking admission to school is
cumbersome and the language barrier is difficult to overcome. The migrants’ language is
generally distinct from the local language and this adds to the baggage of their disadvantages.
The exclusion of migrants from access to health services is a very serious issue. Public health
services are not available and private health services are too costly to be used. Migrants in most
cases are neither able to reap the benefits of health insurance schemes nor they are provided
with health insurance by their employers. They also face greater risks of HIV/AIDs (Saggurti,.
Mahapatra, Swain , Battala, Chawla, and Narang, 2011).
5. Challenges of Migrants’ Inclusion
The exclusion of migrants is sustained through ethnic polarization and a negative attitude
towards the process of migration and urbanization. On the other hand, migration is not
recognized as a component in the planning process and in the various programmes of the
Government. This has happened due to the assumption that migrants are poor. While this may
be partly true, this assumption has obstructed the mainstreaming of migration into the
development strategies of the country. There is a need to recognize the component of migration
independently in national development strategies because migrants are diverse groups whose
vulnerability is determined not only by economic factors but also by a large number of non-
economic factors. These factors include political power, ethnic, religious and linguistic identities
and their social and cultural life in the city. It is important to realize that promoting the
migrant’s integration with the host community will be helpful in building a peaceful and
prosperous city. A rights based approach to building an inclusive city provides a philosophy and
strategies about whom to include, how to include and where to include, It has to be borne in
mind that enhancing the migrants’ inclusion deepens the notion of citizenship, expands the
horizon of freedom and a sense of equity which at its very core promotes and encourages
human rights in general and the right to the city in particular. It may be noted that the inclusion
of highly skilled and better paid migrants is far easier to accomplish than the inclusion of low
skilled rural migrants to the city. Further, migrants belonging to religious and linguistic
minorities need special attention.
5.1 Inclusive Urban Policies and Migrants’ Right to the City
5.1.1 Creating a Positive Attitude towards Migration and Migrants
In order to build inclusive cities and to promote migrants’ integration into the local populations,
the recognition of migrants’ right to the city by civic bodies, organs of governments, local elites
and other stakeholders is fundamental. Building a positive attitude towards migrants and
migration and, recognizing their contribution to the city, although a long term process, is
essential. A sustained effort to educate political and community leaders, municipal staff and
state bureaucracy through conferences, workshops and by electronic and print media would be
helpful. A positive attitude towards migrants will pave the way for their political, economic and
social inclusion in the city, reduce discrimination in accessing the services of different
government offices and even save them from police harassment.
5.1.2 City Planning and Migrants
City planning is virtually a failure in India. Due to this failure migrants are increasingly blamed
not only for the declining civic amenities but for almost all of the city’s woes. This not only
sustains a negative attitude but even incites hatred and violence towards migrants. City planning
is a very important instrument with which to realize the migrants’ right to the city. But in most
cities either there is no master plan, or it is so obsolete and inadequate that it is unable to
address the needs of the city inhabitants in general and of migrants in particular. The city master
plan hardly reflects concerns with inclusiveness because it is technically prepared and
bureaucratically envisioned with little involvement of citizens. A Right to the City approach
would democratize the preparation of the master plan, bring inclusiveness as a core city
development strategy and provide opportunities not only to realize the inhabitants rights
(including migrants)’ within the city (e.g. the right to housing, the right to water and sanitation,
the right to education and health etc) but also “their right to change the city according to their
heart’s desire”
. Doing so would require migrants to be placed at the core of the city
development agenda.
5.1.3 Migration and Governance
Migrants are often blamed for rising crime and problems of law and order in the city. Sometimes
they are even perceived as a threat to national security. The main reason for such a perception
is that many migrants are anonymous in the city because of lack of identity and inclusion into
urban citizenship. The political inclusion of migrants needs to be made easier by involving NGOs
and members of their neighbourhoods who could be allowed to certify the residential status of
those migrants having no formal document, so that they can get a ration card, a bank account,
and enter the voter list etc., all of which are often seen as a gateway to urban citizenship
According to Harvey (2008:23) the lack of freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is the most precious
but the most neglected of our human rights.
The recent experiment in which a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between a group of NGOs working
with migrant workers, known as the National Coalition of Organizations for Security of Migrant Workers, and the
A proactive role for municipal bodies would further help the political inclusion of migrants in the
city. In this respect the Citizen’s Charters prepared and declared by several municipal bodies is a
positive development (see Box 11).
Box 11. Citizen’s Charters Declared by Urban Local Bodies
Recently several Municipal Corporations like:
New Delhi (;
Vishakhapatnam (
and Coimbatore
have prepared and declared Citizen’s Charters on their website. This demonstrates the recognition
and responsiveness of civic bodies to the rights of citizens. Hopefully this will be helpful to the
migrants as well.
5.1.4 Government Policies and Programmes
Government policies and programmes are silent on the issue of migration and protecting the
rights of migrants. This is evident in the Five Year Plan documents. Both the 11
Five Year Plan
(2007-2012) and the Draft Approach Paper to the 12
Five Year Plan (2012-2017) recognize
urban transition in a positive framework, yet no reference has been made to the migration issue
in these documents, let alone to the safeguarding of migrants’ rights in the city.
Urban development is a state subject in India, but the centre formulates huge urban
development programmes giving opportunity to the states to take advantages of them. The
Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) are two
important examples. The Basic Services for Urban Poor (BSUP) component of JNNURM and RAY
are very significant steps in addressing the needs of the urban poor and slum dwellers. It is likely
that those who have acquired some degree of legal or quasi legal (recognized or notified slums)
status will benefit. However, these programmes do not address the migrants issue explicitly. For
example in Mumbai all those who have been living in slums but arrived after the year 2000
would lose the right to housing under slum rehabilitation programmes. These instances are
indicative of the manner in which urban policies and programmes are discriminatory against
migrants. These need to be changed in both their ideology and structure in consonance with the
principles of Right to the City in order to realize the vision of an inclusive city.
6. Policy Recommendations
Migration should be acknowledged as an integral part of development. Government policies
should not hinder but seek to facilitate internal migration. It should form the central concern in
city planning, and the city development agenda should seek to include and integrate migrants
politically, economically, socially, culturally and spatially. This requires enormous change in the
attitude of those who appropriate and dominate cities towards the process of migration and
urbanization. A historical understanding of the process of migration and urbanization and the
migrants’ role in building cities will go a long way, but it needs to be communicated and
propagated through workshops, conferences, print and electronic media in order to bridge the
gulf between migrants and local communities.
Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for facilitating the inclusion of migrant workers in the UID
programme, appears to be a significant step. See (accessed on 9th October 2011).
Policy documents such as the 12
Five Year Plan, JNNURM, and City Development Plans should
recognize the value of migration in very explicit terms and address the concerns of migrants and
their rights, unequivocally.
It needs to be emphasized that the democratization of city governance and the political
inclusion of migrants in decision-making processes are twin pillars of an inclusive city. A rights
based approach to city development would usher in a new era of freedom and human
development; it must begin in the city and must begin with migrants.
7. References
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... Both previous and contemporary research in India indicate that urbanization and economic development are inextricably linked. (Sovani 1966;Bhagat 2012). About 65% of GDP acquired from urban areas that compromise of one-third of India's total population (31% urban population according to 2011 census) (Bhagat and Mohanty 2009;Bhagat 2012). ...
... (Sovani 1966;Bhagat 2012). About 65% of GDP acquired from urban areas that compromise of one-third of India's total population (31% urban population according to 2011 census) (Bhagat and Mohanty 2009;Bhagat 2012). As a result of increased contributions of urban resources, large metropolitan cities have seen fast urban population expansion (Map 1). ...
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Economic, social, ethnic, racial, cultural, linguistic, occupational diversity is an inseparable feature of the city. For several years, urban sociologists recognized heterogeneity as one of the city's defining and important characteristics. Heterogeneity in population composition is connected with globalization, so increased connectivity between people and territories is the goal of this process. Globalization also makes a closer cultural, economic and political tie between different regions. Cities act as magnets for the flow of people by their capital, goods and information. This paper considers three aspects of city’s heterogeneity, namely ethnic, linguistic and religious characteristics of five metropolitan cities in India. The calculation regarding diversity is computed by Shannon's Wiener Diversity Index, Herfindahl–Hirschman Index, Simpson's Diversity Index, Pielou Index and Czekanowski coefficient for similarities between places. Using city level data from Census 2011, detailed description which deals with much smaller data components is absent. Finally, the article finds out that ethnicity, religion and language are significant predictor of cultural diversity in these five Indian metropolitan cities despite they constitute a homogenous and economically advantaged groups.
... In India, the literature suggests that there is a connection between urbanisation and economic development of the nation (Bhagat, 2012). Moreover, 65 per cent of the GDP is generated from urban areas which comprises one-third of India's total population (31% urban population according to 2011 census). ...
... For a fast-developing economy like India, which is also experiencing rapid population growth, efficient internal migration of labour may be even more important (Lagakos 2020). Still, in a large country such as India with different language groups, internal migration may also face political and administrative barriers as documented in Aggarwal et al. (2020), Bhagat (2012), Borhade (2012) and Kone et al. (2018). ...
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This paper uses Indian EUS-NSSO data on 32 states/union territories and 570 districts for a bi-annual panel with 5 waves to estimate how regional population reacts to asymmetric shocks. These shocks are measured by non-employment rates, unemployment rates, and wages in fixed-effects regressions which effectively use changes in these indicators over time within regions as identifying information. Because we include region and time effects, we interpret regression-adjusted population changes as proxies for regional migration. Comparing the results with those for the United States (US) and the European Union (EU), the most striking difference is that, in India, we do not find any significant reactions to asymmetric non-employment shocks at the state level, only at the district level, whereas the estimates are statistically significant and of similar size for the state/NUTS-1 (Classification of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS, the French abbreviation for "nomenclature d’unités territoriales 21 statistiques")) and district level in both the US and Europe. We find that Indian workers react to asymmetric regional shocks by adjusting up to a third of a regional non-employment shock through migration within 2 years. This is somewhat higher than the response to non-employment shocks in the US and the EU but somewhat lower than the response to unemployment shocks in these economies. In India, the unemployment rate does not seem to be a reliable measure of regional shocks, at least we find no significant effects for it. However, we find a significant population response to regional wage differentials in India at both the state and district level.
... This imbalance is probably because domestic migrants usually enjoy the same entitlements as local residents in most developed countries. However, in countries such as China and India, domestic migrants also suffer institutional discriminations and are excluded from welfare benefits (Bhagat, 2011;Chan, 1996;Kapur, 2007;Solinger, 1999). As the Global South experiences rapid urbanization at an unprecedented speed and scale, there is an urgent need to better understand domestic migrants' inclusion in cities. ...
China is rapidly urbanizing, with hundreds of millions of migrants leaving villages for cities. Under the discriminatory Household Registration (Hukou) System, migrants have been denied urban welfare benefits. The Chinese government has been promoting inclusive urbanization with significant policy changes in recent decades, yet its impact on migrants is not clear. This article examines whether housing is becoming more inclusive to migrants in Chinese cities. A review of recent policy changes at both central and local levels shows that although central housing policy is becoming more inclusive of migrants, local governments have largely remained exclusionary and exercise selective inclusion—allowing only migrants who meet additional, strict requirements to access subsidized housing. The empirical analyses, using two waves of the China Migrants Dynamic Survey, reveal that few migrants have access to subsidized housing despite the policy changes. Institutional barriers continue to exclude migrants from subsidized housing, although many barriers have become less important over time. It is clear that housing discrimination persists, and housing inclusion remains a distant dream for most migrants in China. This research highlights exclusion based on an important but uncommon birth-ascribed status defined by the government and provides a multiscalar perspective on the inclusion of domestic migrants.
The topic of public space, its definition and description, and its transformation is certainly extremely actual and relevant. If the identity approach helps to understand the essence of a place, today it is necessary to be aware that identity is something that can change over time. It is enough to have a look at the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, to understand that the Agenda focuses on these issues. The considerations presented in this paper, starting from a reflection on public space, reason on the themes of identity and value. The argument is based on the new forms of public space and how they are the result of many variables that need to be observed from multifaceted and multicultural points of view. If the inhabitant, by living in a place, contributes to defining its identity by imposing his way of living that place, if the inhabitants change, the identity changes. These changes should not be considered a problem just because they are produced by “others”. The so-called new inhabitants, and by new inhabitants our thoughts should not only be directed to migrants, can be bearers of other values that can enrich the place. The presence of the other; the relationship with the other; the space of the other are new values that, as part of the concept of inclusiveness, will enrich the changing city giving it that character of contemporaneity and responding to the current complexity that characterizes this organism.KeywordsIdentityPublic spaceInclusivityMultifaceted approach
Researching Internal Migration is a comprehensive guide for researchers and professionals to study internal migration in developing and underdeveloped economies. This book: • Explains key theoretical concepts related to migration • Guides students and researchers on how to design surveys and the utility of census data • Unravels the complexities of large data sets and their interpretation • Includes techniques for indirect measurement • Presents methodology for estimating remittances at the sub-national and national levels • Acquaints the impact of migration during emergency situations or pandemics like COVID-19 • Offers perspectives and tools for evaluating the policy impact of migration Accessibly written, this book will be an essential theoretical and empirical guide for researchers in development studies, public policy, population studies, human geography and migration and diaspora studies.
This book identifies population as a central issue of polity and examines its links to ideas of state and citizenship. It explores the relationship between the state, citizenship and polity by reexamining processes related to census enumeration, population and citizen registers, and the politics of classificatory governmentality. Religion, ethnicity, caste and political class play a key role in determining community identities and the relationship between an individual and the state. Contextualizing the arguments and controversies around the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 (CAA 2019) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the book examines the processes of inclusion or exclusion of minorities and migrants as citizens in India. It focusses on the classification of irregular and refugee migration since independence in India, especially in the state of Assam. The book highlights how political imagination, as a theoretical framework, shapes the processes and strategies for enumeration and classification and thereby the idea of citizenship. Underlining the relationship between instruments of government, political mobilization and the resurgence of communal polarization, it also offers suggestions for alternative constructions of citizenship and an inclusive state. This book will be useful for students and researchers of population studies, population geography, migration studies, sociology, political science, social anthropology, law and journalism. It will also be of interest to policy makers, journalists, as well as NGOs and CSOs.
Diversity is perhaps the most impressive feature of the Asian context, markedly of the Indian subcontinent. Currently, ethno-cultural diversity comprising religious pluralism, caste distinctions, gender bias, and racial-ethnic variations make the Indian population oscillate between discriminative communalism focused on the uniqueness of identities and secular democracy founded on human rights fostering cosmopolitan citizenship. The empirical research undertaken among students in Tamil Nadu, India, seeks to shed light on their attitudes towards the culture of discrimination associated with religion, caste, gender, and racial identities. In other words, it investigates if students belonging to diverse religious traditions, like the Christian, Muslim, and Hindu, view the discriminative system as opposed to human rights and to their religious beliefs. Overall, the students agree that the discriminative culture is opposed to both human rights and their religious beliefs, although their agreement is slightly stronger in the case of the former. We also find some significant differences between Christians and Hindus in their opposition to discrimination. The emerging findings point to some implications for the educational process.
This resource assesses the scale of rural to urban migration and its contribution to urban growth in India. It considers the major paradigms of rural to urban migration and highlights the salience of circular migration streams and forms of rural-urban circulation. Examining the connection between migration and the urban informal economy, it critically interrogates the ramifications of neoliberal transformations in contemporary India.
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There is a widespread occurrence of temporary and seasonal migration for employment purposes in India and it is one of the most important livelihood strategies adopted by the poorest people of the country. Between 1999 and 2000 (the reference period of the analysis), 10.8 million persons of all ages migrated seasonally or temporarily in search of employment in India. When comparing these figures with the 2001 census, in which recorded 14.4 million persons who moved permanently for work or employment in the previous decade, it could be argued that the volume of temporary migration on yearly basis is quite high. It is mainly resorted by poor, illiterate and scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
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The lack of data presents a fundamental challenge in measuring internal or international migration. Focusing on the case of India, this research note tackles the following aspects in the measurement of internal migration in India: a survey of migration-related questions included in various censuses, an assessment of the different criteria to determine migration status, and a comparison of migration data derived from census data and the National Sample Survey. Due to recent developments, there is a need to review these approaches to ensure that they capture new realities.
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India embarked on its new economic policy, popularly known as the liberalization of the Indian economy, in 1991. The basic features of the new economic policy were a reduction in government expen-ditures in order to reduce fiscal deficit, an opening up of the economy for export-oriented growth, the removal of government control and licensing, and a push for private participation to en-hance competition and efficiency. Both supporters and critics of the new economic policy believed that economic reforms would increase internal migration. Proponents believed that the new impetus would boost the economy and job opportunities, leading to increased pull factors conducive to accelerated rural-to-urban migration. By con-trast, the opponents of this policy were of the view that economic reforms would adversely affect the village and cottage industries Internal Migration in India: Are the Underprivileged Migrating More? The present study revealed that both in-and out-migration rates had a significant positive association with per capita income, percentage of workforce and share of state gross domestic product in the non-agricultural sector. This means that higher income and the sectoral transformation of the economy from the agricul-tural to the non-agricultural sector tended to be associated with both higher in-migration and higher out-migration rates. By contrast, poverty was not found to be strongly related to in-creased out-migration at the state level.
This paper attempts to review the recent performance of the economy and lists the priorities and challenges for the Twelfth Plan. The Indian economy will enter the Twelfth Plan period in an environment of great promise, but the next five years will also be a period of major challenges. The economy has done well on the growth front during the Eleventh Plan, but, going by the information that is at least currently available, not so well on inclusion. Much of what needs to be done to accelerate GDP growth during the Twelfth Plan will be done by the private sector, but the central and state governments have a crucial role to play in providing a policy environment that is seen as investor-friendly and is supportive of inclusive growth. Four critical challenges facing the economy in the Twelfth Plan, which are perhaps more serious than they were at the start of the Eleventh Plan, are those of (a) managing the energy situation, (b) managing the water economy, (c) addressing the problems posed by the urban transformation that is likely to occur, and (d) ensuring protection of the environment in a manner that can facilitate rapid growth. In addition, the efficiency in implementation of projects on the ground needs to be greatly improved.
The apartheid city is typically touted as a negative role model for urban planners in other parts of the world, largely because of the fragmentation that apartheid social engineering imposed on the lives of urban residents. Under apartheid, the lines of fragmentation were forcibly racialized. This institutionalised racialization has been demolished, while other sites of splintering remain. Yet the aspiration to a wholly unified and orderly city is not necessarily desirable, or attainable. This article argues, somewhat controversially, that the persistent legacy of fragmentation which marked the apartheid city offers unforeseen opportunities to those who live in the cities now and are engaged in daily struggles for survival and mobility. Ironically, such multiple and discrepant orders of urban life can be seen to characterize, increasingly, many cities around the world today.