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Sansad TV: Perspective- Human Migration: Reasons & Impact

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Introduction:

Human migration and mobility is an age-old phenomena touching almost every society around the world. However things have changed over time in various ways. Examining the shifts in scale, direction, demography and frequency can help us understand how migration is evolving and can further lead to effective policies, programmes and operational responses on the ground. A broad range of factors continue to determine the movement of people. They are either voluntary or forced movements as a result of the increased magnitude and frequency of disasters, economic challenges and extreme poverty or conflict. Approximately 281 million people were international migrants in 2020, representing 3.6 per cent of the global population. The theme for this year’s International Migrants Day is ‘ Harnessing the potential of Human Mobility’. In fact, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes for the first time the contribution of migration to sustainable development. 11 out of the 17 SDGs contain targets and indicators relevant to migration or mobility.

Causes:

  • War, conflicts and persecutions: Conflict is the most common factor for forced migration around the world and throughout history. The conflicts in West Asia, Africa and South America, and the extreme violence associated with them have forced people to leave their homes and seek a haven in foreign countries.
  • Climate Change Refugees: climate change effects also contributed to the growing number of migrants and refugees.
  • Droughts: A single drought can mean disaster for communities whose lives and livelihoods rely on regular, successful harvests.
  • Diseases: Contagious disease and outbreaks often follow in the wake of issues brought up by drought, flooding, and earthquakes. When crops are threatened and water supplies are either limited or contaminated, the risk for infection increases.
  • Earthquakes: In 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti’s capital city of Port-au-Prince as well as the surrounding area, leaving 1.5 million Haitians homeless.
  • Development induced displacement: Development-induced displacement is a social problem affecting multiple levels of human organization, from tribal and village communities to well-developed urban areas.

Challenges encountered by migrant workers:

  • Employment in informal economy: Migrants dominate the urban informal economy which is marked by high poverty and vulnerabilities.
  • Issue of Identification documents: Proving their identity is one of the core issues faced by poor migrant labourers at destination areas..
  • Financial Access: Migrant workers have limited access to formal financial services and remain unbanked
  • Access to healthcare: Migrant workers have poor access to health services, which results in very poor occupational health.
  • Education of children: UNESCO’s 2019 Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) shows that children left behind by migrating parents and seasonal migrants face fewer educational opportunities overall.
  • Social exclusion: There is a growing hostility of urban governments, as well as middle-class citizens, towards the urban poor, especially migrants to the cities.
  • Political exclusion: Migrant workers are deprived of many opportunities to exercise their political rights.
  • At policy level the major challenge is to formulate migration policies which must be linked with employment and social services, to enhance the well-being of the migrant living in urban area.

Measures to improve the delivery of services to migrant worker:

  • There is an urgent need to develop a coherent legal and policy framework on migration. Policy can have two dimensions: reducing distress-induced migration and address conditions of work, terms of employment and access to basic necessities.
  • Development strategies in backward rural areas should be strengthened to provide sustainable livelihood opportunities, food security programmes and creating opportunities for access to credit.
  • Further, focus should be given on improving rural infrastructure- health, education and connectivity.
  • A concerted national strategy that ensures access to entitlements and basic work conditions is necessary to address the plight of migrant workers.
  • Overall processes of governance need to be democratized in order to include internal migrants in decision making processes and planning
  • Education provisions should be sufficiently flexible to ensure that mobile populations are not left out.
  • Initiatives should be taken to foster social inclusion of migrants and reduce discrimination.

Way forward:

  • A national policy on migration should facilitate the integration of migrants into the local urban fabric, and building city plans with a regular migration forecast assumed.
  • Lowering the cost of migration, along with eliminating discrimination against migrants, while protecting their rights will help raise development across the board.
  • It should provide more space to local bodies and NGOs which bring about structural changes in local regions.
  • It should focus on measures enhancing skill development would enable easier entry into the labour market.
  • The policy should improve financial infrastructure to enable the smooth flow of remittances and their effective use require more attention from India’s growing financial sector.