Migration to cities rampant in rural Rajasthan, half of families affected

Forty-six per cent of rural households in Rajasthan have one or more family members migrating to other place for work.

Lack of opportunities and resources, and absence of a strong policy are basic factors forcing nearly half of the rural households to migrate to big cities in Rajasthan and outside, says a survey by Aajeevika foundation in association with Unesco.

People from western and southern Rajasthan constitute the largest migrant workforce with districts like Jodhpur, Barmer, Dungarpur, Udaipur, Ajmer and Chittorgarh topping the chart, according to the survey of 40,000 households in the state. 

A major chunk of migrants belong to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. 

About 80 per cent of migrants move alone while 20 per cent take their families along. Around 12 per cent are women who are subjected to disparities like lower wages, atrocities and responsibility of managing their families.

“States like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Delhi are the top three destinations for migrant workers. In Rajasthan, they prefer to work in cities like Jaipur and Jodhpur,” said Santosh Punia of Aajeevika Foundation.

Tribals from Udaipur region prefer to work in Gujarat while those from western Rajasthan prefer Mumbai or Jaipur. Migrants from eastern and northeastern part of the state prefer working in Jaipur or Delhi, he added. The survey showed an interesting work pattern which varies from city to city.

In case of interstate migration, people mostly work in hospitality, construction, transportation, agriculture and furniture sectors and in intrastate migration mining, brick kiln, transportation and construction are the key sectors.

In Maharashtra, the migrants prefer to become vendors and most ice cream vendors in Pune and Nagpur are from Rajasthan.

The report said lack of strong migration policy, social awareness and government’s failure to deliver benefits under various schemes to this segment of population are the main reasons for migration.

“This is the population which is not even entitled to get free grains under Food Security Act. The reason is that they do not have basic documents as they keep on migrating,” said M L Mehta, former chief secretary of Rajasthan.

Similarly they are also deprived of most of the benefits under government schemes, Mehta said. He added that the migration will stop to a great extent if these people get the benefits of the schemes. 

The study recommended formation of Rajasthan Migrant Labour Protection and Welfare Authority and re-drafting Interstate Migrant Workers Act, 1979. 

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