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

Q: Discuss the changes in the trends of labour migration within and outside India in the last four decades.


Migration refers to the movement of organisms like animals and birds in geographical space. There are several factors, which induce people to migrate.

The reasons may be economic, social or political.

When people migrate within the same country it is called internal migration. When migration involves crossing the boundaries of a given country, it is called international migration.

Trend of migration within India

a)  Inter State Migration (East to West Migration): The migration from eastern part of country which includes UP, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal or North Eastern states, etc. to western part which includes Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Punjab or Haryana etc. is almost a regular phenomenon from last four decades.
b)  Initially Maharashtra and Gujarat along with Kolkata were the only favourite destinations; but after destruction of industries in Kolkata during the rule of communists, green revolution, industrial growth and peace established in Punjab or Delhi area; Delhi, Punjab and Haryana become the major destination for migrants.
c)  Short term or temporary migration increased at rapid pace in last some decades in different areas due to agriculture after green revolution, construction sector especially after boost of real estate, etc.
d)  In last four decades, female migration rate has surpassed the male migration rate in both rural and urban areas.

Trend in Migration outside India

a)  West or Developed Countries: However international migration from India to developed countries like US, UK or Canada have continued unabated from long time but rate of migrants got substantially increased after period of globalization. Also considerable numbers of Indians are immigrating on a permanent basis to these industrialized nations rather than on temporary basis.
b)  Middle East: After increase in oil prices in 1973-74, Gulf region attracts a significant proportion of migrants from India especially semi skilled and unskilled labour. Initially, Saudi Arabia and UAE were major destinations as accounts for more than 60% of migrant workers from India but after 1990s migrant workers significantly declined in Saudi Arabia but continually unabated in UAE. Kerala, Tamil Nadu, AP and Punjab mainly accounts for out-migration to Middle East Asia.
c)  One of the striking trends in relation to the unskilled/semi-skilled emigration from India in the recent years is the phenomenal increase in the numbers migrating to Malaysia.
d)  Estimates of the number of international migrants by sex show that the volume of international migrants has been nearly equal for both men and women.