Delhi, which is bursting at the seams, its next door Gurugram and Gautam Buddh Nagar, of which Noida and Greater Noida are part, have received the maximum influx of migrants between 2001 and 2011, according to the economic survey report released last week. They have topped the list of 22 high mobility districts in India.
During this period, Delhi has seen a large number of migrants coming from eight states, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, an indication that better economic opportunity continues to be a major pull despite infrastructure constraint plaguing the city.
It’s not only the Capital, the National Capital Region (NCR) has also become a popular destination for migrants. Based on the analysis of Census 2011 data on migration, the survey found a 29% jump in Gurugram’s in-migrant population between 2001 and 2011.
Among the 26 states, Delhi is closely followed by Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu as a top destination for migrants. “The trend does not come as a surprise. These places have attracted large number of migrants historically because of availability of job opportunities,” said Professor S Chandrasekhar of Mumbai’s Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research.
But experts caution the trend reflects more than ever the thrust city government and policy makers need to give to regions, including Delhi, that have seen large in-migration.
“Delhi’s infrastructure is crumbling and can’t take the pressure anymore. Policymakers will have to focus on bolstering basic amenities, proving affordable housing in the capital and its periphery,” said Prof Debolina Kundu of National Institute of Urban Affairs, an autonomous body under the urban development ministry.
Labourers and other workers play cards at Azadpur Mandi, one of Asia’s largest wholesale market for fruits and vegetables in New Delhi. (AP file photo)
Counter-magnet to Delhi
The survey noted another trend. While people are coming to Delhi by the droves, those from adjoining states are now also going to Jaipur and Chandigarh. These cities have become “counter magnet” region to Delhi. “These two cities have grown economically over the years leading to more job opportunities,” said an official involved with preparing the chapter on internal migration.
India on the move
Between 2011 and 2016, close to nine million migrated between states annually, up from about 3.3 million suggested by successive censuses, the survey says. In a first, the economic survey analysed the railway passenger traffic flow data. “Mobility within India has gone up, but not necessarily from rural to urban, which is the stream that accounts for urbanisation.,” said Prof Kundu.
The 2011 census data found that rural to rural migration is dominant and accounts for 55%, while rural to urban accounts for just 18% of all internal migration. The survey says the resulting remittance flow has not only increased the household spending in the region receiving the migrants, but also given a push to less developed regions from where the people have migrated.
Why are Indians moving?
According to Census 2011, marriage was the main reason, accounting for 49% of all migration in rural and urban areas. Relocating for work or employment was responsible for just 10% , from 15% in 2001. Only 1.8% of Indians migrated for educational purpose.