According to the latest Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) which also captured data on migration for the first time, nearly 88% of migrants moved within the same state in 2020-21 while 11.8% moved to another state during the same period.


About PLFS

Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) is an initiative aimed at generating estimates of various labour force indicators. The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation conducts the survey.


Findings of PLFS

  • The information on migration was collected as part of the PLFS survey to get a better picture about the migration situation in the country.
  • The massive migration triggered by the lockdown in the aftermath of the pandemic had prompted calls for better data on the issue to devise policies to combat a surge in such movement.
  • The migration rate (percentage of migrants belonging to male or female category of persons) across the country was at 28.9% during the July 2020-21 period, with male migration rate at 10.7% and female at 47.9%.
  • The survey looked at distribution of internal migrants by four types of migration streams, which includes rural-to-rural, rural-to-urban, urban-to-rural and urban-to-urban.


About migration

  • Migration is the movement of people away from their usual place of residence, across either internal (within country) or international (across countries) borders.
  • Article 19(1)(e) of the Indian Constitution, guarantees all Indian citizens the right to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India, subject to reasonable restrictions in the interest of the general public or protection of any scheduled tribe.
  • As per the 2011 Census, India had6 crore migrants in 2011 (38% of the population) compared to 31.5 crore migrants in 2001 (31% of the population).
  • Between 2001 and 2011, while the population grew by 18%, the number of migrants increased by 45%.
  • In 2011, 99% of total migration was internal and immigrants (international migrants) comprised 1%.


Patterns of migration

  • Internal migrant flows can be classified on the basis of origin and destination.
  • One kind of classification is — rural-rural (54% of classifiable internal migration), rural-urban, urban-rural and urban-urban.
  • Rural-urban and urban-urban movement accounted for around 8 crore migrants each.
  • There were around 3 crore urban-rural migrants (7% of classifiable internal migration).
  • Another way to classify migration is – intra-state and inter-state.
  • In 2011, intra-state movement accounted for almost 88% of all internal migration (39.6 crore persons).
  • According to the 2011 Census, there were 5.4 crore inter-state migrants. As of 2011, Uttar Pradesh (83 lakh) and Bihar were the largest source of inter-state migrants while Maharashtra (60 lakh) and Delhi were the largest receiver states.


Reasons for migration

  • Reasons for intra-state migration —
      • As of 2011, the majority (70%) of intra-state migration was due to reasons of marriage and family with variation between male and female migrants.
      • While 83% of females moved for marriage and family, the corresponding figure for males was 39%.
      • Overall, 8% of people moved within a state for work (21% of male migrants and 2% of female migrants).
  • Reasons for inter-state migration —Movement for work was higher among inter-state migrants (50% of male and 5% of female interstate migrants).
  • Size of migrant labour force — As per the Census, there were 5 crore migrant workers in 2011. The Economic Survey (2016-17), estimated 6 crore inter-state labour migrants between 2001-2011.
  • Issues faced by migrant labour —
      • Lack of social security and health benefits and poor implementation of minimum safety standards law.
      • Lack of portability of state-provided benefits, especially food provided through the public distribution system (PDS) is not effectively implemented.
      • Lack of access to affordable housing and basic amenities in urban areas.
      • Poor implementation of protections under the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979 (ISMW Act), which provides certain protections for inter-state migrant workers.
  • Impact of Covid-19The lockdown has severely impacted migrants, several of whom lost their jobs due to shutting of industries and were stranded outside their native places.