Migration | VOL. 13, ISSUE 81, November-December 2013

Regional pattern of temporary labour migration in India

Being a spatial phenomenon, the major contribution in migration research has been made by geographers rather than by demographers. Most of internal migrations are labour centric with a significant proportion migrating on a temporary basis. Research suggests that temporary labour migration plays an important role in household survival and is used as an income diversification and risk-coping strategy in agrarian economies such as India. Prevailing uneven regional development impels temporary intra and inter-state mobility of labour in various parts in India. For instance, women’s labour mobility from Jharkhand and West Bengal in the transplanting season (boro) as well as the harvesting season (aman) of paddy crops (B Rogaly et al., 1998, ‘Workers on the move: Seasonal migration and changing social relations in rural India’; Gender and development) and the seasonal migration of tribal groups from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Gujarat to work in sugar mills have been well documented in literature (P Deshingkar et al., 2009, ‘Circular migration and multilocational: Livelihood strategies in rural India’, Oxford University Press). Temporary labour migration is thus predominantly a rural phenomenon dominated by rural to urban migration. Persons belonging to poor and disadvantaged caste groups (scheduled tribes and scheduled castes) with low educational attainments have a high propensity of engaging in temporary labour migration (Keshri and Bhagat, 2012, ‘Temporary and seasonal migration: Regional pattern, characteristics and associated factors’;...

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