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Migration  away from metros, towards small towns

GS Paper 1

 Syllabus: Geography/Society: Population and Related Issues


Source: TH

 Context: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a shift of IT and IT-enabled services (IT/ITeS) companies from major cities to smaller towns and cities in India.

  • This trend of going back to smaller towns has now become a major trend, and companies are moving their operations to smaller cities and towns to retain talent and bring down attrition levels.


About Migration in India:

About MigrationThe International Organization for Migration defines a migrant as any person who is moving or has moved across an international border or within a state away from his/her habitual place of residence.
Factors Determining MigrationMigration can be either voluntary or forced movements as a consequence of the increased magnitude or frequency of disasters, economic challenges, extreme poverty, or conflict situations.
Push FactorsPush factors compel a person to leave their place of origin (out-migration) and migrate to another place. These factors can include economic reasons, social reasons, Pandemics and lack of development in a particular place.
Pull FactorsPull factors attract migrants (in-migration) to a destination area. These factors can include job opportunities, better living conditions, and the availability of basic or high-level facilities.
Migration – 2011 CensusNumber of internal migrants (both inter-state and within state) in India: over 45 crores (37% of the country’s population)
Migration – Economic Survey 2016-17Relatively less developed states (e.g., Bihar and Uttar Pradesh): High net out-migration; Relatively more developed states (e.g., Goa, Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka): Reflect net immigration; Largest recipient region: Delhi (accounted for more than half of migration in 2015-16); Uttar Pradesh and Bihar combined: Account for half of the total out-migrants
Migration in India Report 2020-21Female migration is more than male migration. Reasons for female migration: Marriage; Reasons for male migration: Search for employment
Migration and its Impacts on CitiesAccording to a report by the World Economic Forum, smaller cities are rapidly growing but struggling to cope with infrastructure demands due to declining civic revenue resources.


Reasons for Migration to Smaller Cities in the IT/ITeS Sector:

Remote and hybrid work models Companies like Cognizant allowed employees to work from anywhere (during the pandemic), leading to a shift away from major cities.
Companies can establish satellite offices in smaller cities, supporting remote and hybrid work models.
Cost savingsMoving to smaller cities allows companies to reduce real estate costs and invest more in people and R&D.
Employees can save more in terms of rental costs and experience social benefits in smaller towns.
Rich talent pool Smaller cities have untapped talent with a potential talent drain to larger metros, providing opportunities.
Higher retention ratesEmployees prefer to stay in their hometowns, leading to higher retention rates in smaller cities.
Availability of office space and amenitiesSmaller cities like Coimbatore offer quality office spaces with amenities at lower costs compared to metros.
Rise of co-working spaces in smaller citiesCo-working spaces provide access to high-quality office space at a fraction of the cost in larger cities.
Counter-magnet dynamicsSurat and Pune have started acting as a counter-magnet region to Mumbai and attract migrants from the neighbouring districts of Maharashtra


Insta Links:

Human Migration


Mains Links:

What are the main socio-economic implications arising out of the development of IT industries in major cities of India? ( UPSC 2021)

Discuss the changes in the trends of labour migration within and outside India in the last four decades. ( UPSC 2015)