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Workers on the move: migrated labour in post-reform india

Majumder, Rajarshi (2012): Workers on the move: migrated labour in post-reform india.

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Abstract

Migration is a universal phenomenon. From time immemorial women and men have travelled in search of better living. Historical nomadic instinct of man had been in tune with his necessities – more endurable climate, adequate water supply, fertile land and general availability of resources have attracted the human being always. It is expected that with development migration of due to Push factors will decrease while that due to Pull factors will increase. One of the important facets of labour market is therefore the profile of migrant workers and the nature of their movements. In spite of extensive work on migration in Indian context, recent studies on migration in India have focussed mainly on rural-urban migration or on migration from/between specific regions. The present paper explores the post reform nature of migration in India with special focus on migrant workers. Types of movement, profile of migrants vis-a-vis the natives, occupational distribution, and wages received by them have been examined. This has been contrasted with the pre-reform situation. Whether wage setting process is different for migrants is also examined through estimation of the wage function. Results suggest that migration among males are more of an ‘assured’ type rather than a ‘search’ type, in response to regular wage employment, where the better endowed / skilled / trained are moving. Pull factors are definitely playing more important role than push factors in this regard, though in post-reform period push factors have strengthened. Though better-off states with lower incidence of poverty and higher per capita income have higher migration rates, net out migration rates are considerably higher for poorer states indicating that condition of the source region is perhaps the most important factor in migration decisions.

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