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Push and Pull Factors of Migration: A Case Study of Brick Kiln Migrant Workers in Punjab

Kainth, Gursharan Singh (2010): Push and Pull Factors of Migration: A Case Study of Brick Kiln Migrant Workers in Punjab.

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Migration is a global phenomenon caused not only by economic factor but many others like social, political, cultural, environmental, health, education etc. It generally takes place from the area of less economic opportunities and retarded social development towards developed and fast developing areas. Punjab is among the smallest states of the Indian Union but it has achieved great heights in many fields like agricultural sector, industrial sector and so on. To cater the needs of agricultural and the industrial sector large scale migration has taken place from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Very little has been done at micro level to inquiries into the characteristics of individual migrants and the factors influencing individual’s propensity to migrate. The present study is an attempt to fill up the important gaps and to make a modest contribution to an understanding of socio-economic conditions of brick-kiln migrant workers. Majority of the migrant workers were young in age, illiterate or having low level of education and belonged to SC/ST, large number of whom came from big families. 86 per cent of workers belonged to Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. The wages of the workers were very low. They were provided rooms / huts by the employers within the premises of the brick-kilns. The majority of the brick-kiln workers migrated along with family. Further, almost all respondents kept their links alive with the place of origin. Majority of the workers were not registered as voter nor possessed ration card because they were not approached by the authorities. Those who possessed ration card were not getting regular supply of all the items supplied under the public distribution system. Majority of migrant workers were landless. The living conditions of the brick-kiln workers were very miserable. They were living in extremely dusty and unhygienic accommodation without water and electricity supply arrangements. The brick-kiln workers were not at all aware of the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979, and other labour laws. Facilities of canteen, rest rooms, first aid, medical and transportation were not available to workers. Migrant workers reveal no visible discrimination on account of wages, promotion and medical facilities. A better employment opportunity is the first and most significant factor with maximum percentage of variance, which motivates the workers to migrate. Better job opportunities, industrial development and comparatively higher wages in Punjab attract the brick kiln workers whereas lack of job opportunities at native place compels them to migrate. Fulfillment of self aspirations’ and ‘higher wages’ with percentage of variance equal to 11.02 have emerged as the second factors as a push factor .

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