‘Circular Migration in Madhya Pradesh: Changing Patterns and Social Protection Needs’

European Journal of Development Research (Impact Factor: 0.85). 02/2008; 20(4):612-628. DOI: 10.1080/09578810802464920
Source: RePEc


Resurveys in six villages in Madhya Pradesh show that contrary to mainstream perceptions, seasonal/circular migration has become more accumulative for the poor over the last five years as new opportunities in urban areas have reduced the uncertainty of finding work, wages have increased and the dependence on contractors has declined. Furthermore, migration is attracting more women and upper castes as traditional restrictions related to manual work break down. Migration has brought greater returns to those with skills or strong social networks. Others, relying on contractors or facing discrimination, have not benefited as much. Nevertheless, migration is viewed by the poor as a strategy for improving household well-being. Migration has reduced borrowing for consumption, improved debt repayment capacity and given migrants greater confidence and bargaining power. The paper concludes that policy should shift towards migrant support away from migration prevention. NGO initiatives that offer lessons for migrant support are reviewed.

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Available from: Priya Deshingkar, Feb 07, 2014
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    • "While longitudinal field studies in India indicate improved wages and income among migrants over time [2,48,51], the most economically and socially-deprived have remained in debt [50,52]. Deshingkar and colleagues summarized their observations in Madhya Pradesh: “…for the poorest groups of migrants, especially unskilled and uneducated Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) who still migrate through agents, or who cannot enter remunerative … work because of discrimination, working conditions and earnings are far from ideal and positive changes in living standards are less certain and slower” [2]. Though some studies suggest migrants are more able to resist exploitation [2,51], recent reports document illegally low wages and strenuous work hours [4,53,54]. "
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    • "In Palanpur in western Uttar Pradesh, higher castes were more prominently represented among migrants in 1983/84, but in earlier years lower castes had secured outside jobs (Lanjouw and Stern 1989). The re-survey by Deshingkar et al. (2008) also showed increased participation by higher castes (and women) in migration as opportunities became more rewarding (also Rogaly and Coppard 2003, for Puruliya). NSS data provide information about migration among different castes, though the earlier-mentioned problem of under-recording may be particularly pertinent here (as the types of migration of the most deprived groups may remain unrecorded more often than that of better-off). "
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