Migration of people from one geographic location to another for various reasons is an inevitable phenomenon. Delhi being the Capital of India generates enormous job opportunities for labourers, skilled and unskilled workers. So people who are not paid well or who do not have enough job opportunities in their native land or the ones who are looking for growth and better job opportunities are attracted towards Delhi. Women generally relocate after marriage.
This movement is benefiting migrants in terms of better wages and better lifestyle but this mass migration is somewhere inversely impacting the Capital. Delhi now has more number of slums, unauthorized areas, JJ clusters and jhuggis. It is estimated that more than half of the population of Delhi resides in unauthorized colonies and slums which lack even basic facility of water and drainage. The crime rate and other social issues have increased manifold in Delhi. Though it cannot be said with certainty that migration is the whole sole reason for all this but definitely there is a connection among all these.
Why do people migrate?
Population in both rural as well as urban India is growing rapidly but rural India is not able to provide sufficient employment and jobs.
Returns from agriculture are low and not enough to sustain the needs of a family. Some landholdings become so small that these become uneconomical. This is the result of father dividing his property among his children instead of giving it to the eldest like in England. With the rise in population the landholdings become even smaller.
Better connectivity and construction of roads have facilitated migration.
People also migrate for education and women migrate after marriage.
The world’s best known demographer Kingsley Davis had in a treatise on India in 1951 regarded the country as a relatively immobile society estimating that three out of every ten Indians migrate internally. But in the last one decade the Capital is seeing increased influx of people from other States. The widening developmental gap between the rural and urban areas has largely spurred the migration. Moreover, low profits in agriculture and high returns from industry is pulling people towards cities.
By 1951 Delhi along with Chennai and Hyderabad became the million-plus cities. In 2001 Delhi had approximately 45 percent migrants.
Type of migration
Broadly speaking, migration can be permanent and semi-permanent or long-term circular migration. In permanent migration individuals or households leave their place of origin to get settled down in another place. In case of semi-permanent or long-term circular migration they keep moving between two places. Economic reason is the foremost reason for this migration. Both types of migrations may result in chain migration, in which migrants bring their relatives and friends who then bring their relatives and friends and the chain keeps on building up in a somewhat geometric progression.
Impact of migration
One advantage of internal migration is a reduction of gap in terms of living standard and income. But certain factors and checks must be kept in place to define the extent of migration.
Migration impacts the population size and service provision. Housing for all is coming out as major challenge in the Capital because of increasing migration. Other problems such as lack of basic amenities like electricity, sewerage, sanitation and water supply are associated with this.
The problem of street children is also on rise in Delhi and can be linked to migration. When a family moves they bring their children along. Children even move with their friends and sometimes alone. Children leave their homes for different reasons. In Delhi, population of street children is increasing dramatically. These children end up doing odd jobs like rag picking, drug peddling, robbery etc. Girls are even sold and forced to become prostitutes.
Most of the time migrants do not get employment. They either keep commuting or some even indulge in crimes to earn. In Delhi, one woman is raped in every six hours. As per available data 393 rape cases had been reported from January to March 31, 2013.
On the other hand, migrants do not enjoy social security benefits associated with the residence. They are generally treated as second-class citizens and discriminated. Every such issue is directly hurting Delhi and its development. Hence migration to Delhi must be checked and steps must be taken to control it!
So, fix a date, and Delhi must belong to whoever was in by that date? And seal the borders as a former Chief Minister wanted! Dear reader, what is your take?