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Migrant Workers in Kerala: A Study on their Socio-Economic Conditions

Saikia, Dilip (2010): Migrant Workers in Kerala: A Study on their Socio-Economic Conditions.

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Abstract

This paper examines the socio-economic condition of the migrant workers in Kerala. We analyse the income, consumption and savings pattern, and nature of work of the migrant workers in the Trivandrum district, based on data from a sample of 166 migrant workers. While existing studies provide evidences for short distance migration to Kerala from nearby states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, we find evidence for long distance migration from states like West Bengal and Assam in recent years. We find that informal information networks through migrant workers from native place plays important role in migration of workers to Kerala. Poor economic conditions in the native place and high wage rate and better employment opportunities in Kerala have been identified as the main reasons of migration to Kerala. Though there is barely any change in the nature of employment of the migrants even after migration, there has been a shift from the low-income brackets before migration to high-income brackets after migration. Notwithstanding the improved income level the living condition for most of migrant workers is deplorable, most of them live together in either poor rented houses or work sites with one room shared by many, without proper provision of hygienic sanitation.

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