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Economic Conditions of the In-Migrant Workers in Kerala: A Case Study in the Trivandrum District

Saikia, Dilip (2008): Economic Conditions of the In-Migrant Workers in Kerala: A Case Study in the Trivandrum District.


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The major objective of the paper is to examine the economic conditions of the in-migrant workers in Kerala. This has been done by analysing their savings, income and consumption pattern and nature of work before and after migration. The analysis is based on data from a sample of 166 in-migrants workers in the Trivandrum district, which has been collected through a primary survey during September-October, 2008. While existing studies provide evidences for short distance migration from nearby states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to Kerala, our study observed that long distance migration from states like West Bengal and Assam dominated the inflow of migrant workers in recent years. Informal information networks through acquaintances that have already migrated plays important role in migration of workers to Kerala. Poor economic conditions along with several other overlapping factors have been identified as the reason of migration. There has not been any change in the nature of employment of the migrants even after migration. However, there has been a shift from the low-income brackets before migration to high-income brackets after migration. We observed positive relationship of skill level and instance of migration with income level. Notwithstanding the improved income level the living condition for most of them is deplorable, most of them live together in either poor rented houses or work sites with one room shared by many and no provision of hygienic sanitation. The amount and pattern of food expenditure is found to be more or less same for all the migrants, whereas that of non-food expenditure varies from person to person. The savings and investment habit among the migrants is found to be very poor.

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