From Bharat To India: Understanding Rural-Urban Migration In a country with 600 million farmers, of which 40 percent are

willing to quit farming for various reasons, mass migration from rural to urban areas has increased rapidly. Between 1991 and 2001, 73 million people have migrated from the rural areas to elsewhere. Mass migration is a phenomenon that is a consequence of various problems in the rural India. Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, suggested that if people from the rural areas are brought to urban areas, the state could serve them better. But, this is a wrong notion which can lead to the destruction of agriculture on the whole, almost or completely damaging “Bharat”. There are umpteen number of reasons for this, namely: health, poverty and hunger, water and sanitation, women and children, education and employment, environmental problems, resources, industries and corporates, etc. Now, let us analyze each reason and how and why the proposal cannot turn into action. In terms of health, India has one of the most neglected health care systems in the world. India’s ranks among top five countries in the world with most number of HIV positive cases, present IMR in India is 52 deaths per 1000 live births and MMR is 230 per 100, 000 live births according to WHO statistics. Though, private and corporate hospitals are blossoming in the cities, villages in rural India still suffer from lack of proper health care services. Setting up public health centres (PHC) and community health centres (CHC) have solved a few problems in the villages. However, lack of proper equipment, operation theatres, paramedics, technicians and doctors are leaving most of these health centres in shams. Services like 108 have been introduced in villages in case of emergency, but the patient will be driven in a van through roads which almost kill the person before reaching the PHC or the CHC which is mostly located in towns, about an hour drive from any village. Population is another major problem in our country. In the name of family planning, forced sterilization, birth control pills and Intra-uterine devices (IUD) are used. The effects of these can cause hormonal problems in women or sometimes, death. Once we probe deeper into issues related to health, hunger and poverty stand tall in the list of factors affecting the health of people. India ranks 63rd in poverty Index and its rank in the standard of living compared to that of 186 countries is 126, which is much lower than many other developing countries. More than 320 million people go hungry to bed every day. Of these, many die, many suffer from various diseases. Most of them among the 320 million hungry people are the ones who live on less than Rs. 20 a day. Like Mr. Devinder Sharma (Food and Trade Policy Analyst) said, “the biggest challenge our country faces with is, the way it has defined the poverty line.” The government calls a family as below poverty line (BPL) family if a person consumes less than 2100 calories a day. And if it is greater than 2100 calories a day, it is an above poverty line (APL) family. According to Sharma, 2100 calories if converted into currency is equal to Rs. 17 per day per person in rural areas and Rs.20 per day in urban areas.

one teacher teaches many subjects irrespective of whether she knows the subject or not. P. 43. powerlessness in civil society and caste and gender based disadvantages. She also mentions an example of how a 15-year-old rag picker and a woman were buried under a heap of garbage dump in Jawaharnagar on the outskirts of Hyderabad. low educational attainments. The government sees this as an achievement of its own. causing joint pains. For example: In an article ‘Invisible environmentalists’. Schemes like the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) offer services to mother and child in every village through anganwadis. .In Everybody Loves A Good Drought. homeless and sleep on the roads. Depletion in ground water level and water pollution due to prevalence of toxics. While this is the status of women and children.” Apart from food security. Even today. The reason for high fluoride content is because of depletion in the ground water level. Girls are sold to agents from different states in the guise of marriage and prostituted. Kalpana Sharma states that “women and children do the more hazardous jobs of sorting and separating the waste. Apart from this. According to a report by International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) India ranks 11th in top 20 “hot spot” countries for child marriages in the world. Crimes against women and children are on the rise every second. what matters is the quality of education. This also brings out a point about gender sensitization in our country.5 percent of children under five are underweight. Sainath says “poverty line provides conceptual rationalization for looking at the poor as a ‘category’ to be taken care of. sewage and other pollutants is also a trouble. Most of the rag pickers are women and children. Women and children have a crucial role to play. the men deal with the dry garbage. Government schools in villages do not have enough teachers. fluorosis also decreases fertility rate in men and women. For example: Many districts in Karnataka like Kolar have high fluoride content in them which makes the bones of people brittle. The Right To Education (RTE) act that came into force last year made it compulsory for every child to get free education between 6 to 14 years of age. female foeticide and infanticide are prevalent in many parts of India. It does not take into account important aspects of poverty such as ill health. According to Child Rights Trust. Child labour is still practiced on a large scale in our country. As a result. education is another aspect one has to concentrate on. ineffective access to law. with 50 percent of girls less than 18 being married. They are infected with various diseases because of sanitation problems. geographical isolation. Human trafficking and abduction top the list of crimes committed in the country. many people in the rural areas walk 10 kilometers or more to get water from the nearest drinking water sources. Even today. However. 50 percent of women between 15 to 49 years of age suffer from anemia in India. She calls them “silent environmentalists” because they work during the night when the whole country sleeps and are landless. In some schools. According to WHO report. it is the women who are exposed to hazardous waste – none of them wear any kind of protective gear”. what we also need to look at is water and sanitation problems.

(Source) Even environment is one of the most significant areas one has to talk about when it comes to rural to urban migration. Even the ones who are educated do not have jobs. artificial inseminations were performed.’ he explains how people are displaced from their natural habitat. but the local language is Telugu.7% for females. The above instance exemplifies land grabbing in rural areas. in this whole process. and therefore. often damaging the crop. pesticides are sprayed which make the pests (like bollworm) immune to them. The trees made the soil infertile and useless. Sainath gives an example of a farmer in Surguja in Madhya Pradesh who is given land to grow Subabul trees for feeding their cattle to increase the production of milk. Presently. the schools in the cities demand high fee. weeds affect crops and weedicides. allergens. Crop failure due to the entry of GM crops. many battles are being fought all over India to avert this.036 farmer suicides. the government has been on a land grabbing spree. impart better quality of education. But.5% for males and 37. less rainfall or floods or drought. Be it Yamuna expressway or the Sardar Sarovar project. 17.The poor do not have enough money to send their kids to the school. ecosystem people are converted into ecological refugees. Unemployment is another section one has to explore about. leaving the farmers in distress. entire rural set-up is being destroyed. A recent report by P. but under few conditions. On the other hand. Sainath on farmer suicides stated that the past six years recorded the worst number i. in the past decade.e.000 farmers’ deaths were reported. Many farmers think they would produce high yield. Be it in Singur or Nandigram or in Mangalore. Forty million people in India are unemployed. This gradually led to the extinction of Khariar Bull in that village. scam billionaires. What we ought to know is that. With this came food crisis. 200. infertile soil. India has the largest share of illiterate women in the world. Apart from this. For Example: GM crops are being distributed in market. In Everybody Loves A Good Drought. food inflation and “agrarian crisis” as if they are new schemes introduced in the country. Many farmers followed suit and urged for forced castration in local bulls. This can be further categorized into two sections: Farming and land grabbing. the land that is grabbed from the poor people is resource rich and incomegenerating one. but the crop fails and the farmers cannot save some of it for their next cultivation. . Farming has been major occupation in India. The farmers followed the instructions of officials and fed fodder to cattle and in a few days. In the name of environmental sustainability. The farmer should not allow mating of cattle. in the name of Special Economic Zones (SEZs). soil erosion and many other aspects have take a toll on the lives of people in rural areas. The literacy rate (defined as those age 15 and over that can read and write) is 65. For example: The kids in the border areas of the state face problems with the language because the schools in Karnataka-AP border areas like Bagepalli are Kannada medium ones. In what is called as the “National Land Loot act” by Arindam Chaudary in his article ‘Blood billionaires. The production of milk fell drastically and the cattle born from artificially inseminated livestock were smaller in size. promising to rehabilitate the displaced ones.

What one needs to understand is that. they might die of hunger. transparency is required to so. these people have lived on those lands.For several years. . when we cannot provide food to those who provide us with food. Bhagyalakshmi Scheme. infrastructure and basic amenities. when we ask the World Bank for aid only to kill our farmers and not use the money for self-sufficiency. Though. the government in the name of development is destroying people’s lives and depriving them of basic rights they are entitled to. what is the guarantee that all this will be provided to people who migrate from rural to urban areas? Even in the urban areas. And. in our country. when we commercialize agriculture and ask the corporate giants to take over.’ the above mentioned factors make it almost impossible to bring the rural people to urban areas and think that it would serve better. So. Foreign direct investments are given more importance and the development is overlooked. Many of these migrant labourers dwell in slums. their homes demolished and they are asked to leave the place. The millennium development goals remain mere goals which cannot be achieved not only by 2015 but also in 2115. urban poor’s population is also on the rise. Proper implementation of schemes. mid-day meal scheme and funds pouring in from World Bank for ‘sustainable development of India. This deprivation leads to mass migration and therefore. unlike agriculture which is more a failure than success these days. Like Vanadana Shiva said “let us not promote ‘bio-imperialism’ in our country but suppress it. producing food for the country and now. Providing basic amenities and improving the facilities. there is migration from rural to urban areas. When we cannot feed 320 million people who are hungry. asking people to migrate from rural to urban areas is not ideal.” Indian Farmers: To Be Or Not To Be Recently released movie “Peepli live” begins with a farmer vowing to commit suicide and ends with his migration towards the city where he works as a labourer. They are farmers who work as labour for minimum wages in the cities with a notion that their job assures them a pay. As a result of migration. inclusive growth often means exclusion of neglected sections of people in the country. this is the grim reality. without displacing them from their land. proper planning. food is snatched away from them. After all every person has the right to live a dignified life. they might be neglected. Therefore. It may seem far-fetched to some but for a huge proportion of farming community in India. generating income through agriculture. National rural employment guarantee scheme (NREGA). All the above mentioned factors are better off in the cities in terms of facilities. we have so many schemes like the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). making them available to all at minimal prices would be beneficial to one and all. in the name of development. the migration rate has increased rapidly.

This will not only help alleviate the apprehensions in the minds of farmers and politicians against private sector but will also pave the path for much needed privatization of agriculture that will convert presently chaotic and tightly controlled “sustenance driven” economy into free and “market driven” economy. we all are aware of commitment of UPA-II towards women empowerment so why not use the platform of NREGS which already has one third of the jobs reserved for women to uplift condition of sericulture (a highly women extensive practice by integrating NREGS and agriculture)? This inclusiveness can be very sustainable if implemented carefully. We need to discuss rigorously the concept of crop diversification and contract farming by keeping farmers in the centre of our scheme of things. some of them are trying hard to work it out. It needs to be told a thing or two. Similarly. it will serve twin purposes. This engine of Indian economy needs answers in the light of changing paradigms in agricultural landscapes. It needs to be told that insisting upon growing cut flowers may sound very fancy and glamorous but it requires huge amount of water that earth is not in a position to provide. A Big Shift: From Villages to Cities . This enhancement in production of fish will also signal improvement in healthcare sector. Now. people employed under this scheme can be asked to make ponds. market doesn’t know everything. Of course. Remember. something which is not only in demand in India but outside as well. A more humane and informal structure may be the way out. It will invite a severe backlash given the political volatility of the state. These ponds can be used for growing in-land fish. This discussion is urgently required as borrowed concepts are not going to work in India. On the other hand is the school of thought that wants India to get rid of agriculture so that it can accelerate on the path of industrialization. In fact. our farmers are not free? Why are they still chained within the clutches of the vicious tyranny of poverty? It is not that people are not trying to answer this question. Thus.The question all of us need to ask ourselves is why even after two decades of liberalization. But. Asking them to leave agriculture and work in cities is akin to asking them to leave paradise and descend to hell. the design and shape of their answers tend to complicate the questions and don’t provide a plausible solution. there is no dearth of people calling NREGS a sheer waste of money. But now. so would we. as we are sure that it is here to stay so why not come out with something innovative within the confines of this scheme. They perhaps don’t realize the uselessness of vehicle in the absence of an engine. How else does one explain the success of Grameen bank in Bangladesh but its utter failure in West Bengal? How else does one explain the success of Panchayti Raj in West Bengal but its utter failure in Bangladesh? We need to devise something innovative and something of our own. we cannot move forward without farmers. adapting a hardnosed model of contract farming with all its legal and formal structure is not going to work. For instance. For example. If they go there. in the state of Uttar Pradesh. This is where government regulation comes into the picture and there is no denying that they are inevitable.

environmental issues and current affairs. Very similar to the ‘Freshman Fifteen. there is greater access for them to quality educational facilities. What many of our parents once experienced. While this is blamed for the escalation of certain unhealthy practices. It could also possibly be responsible for greater general awareness about public policies. Slum areas are often polluted and over-crowded and represent a lower standard of living. Another contributor is the lack of physical activity in urban settings. Another negative effect is the diminishing contact of urban dwellers with their aged family members still living in rural areas. but are sadly lacking when it comes to physical care and personal attention that only comes with the presence of their children. Moreover. The economic situation of most people is now. While urban migration might be a good thing in many cases. hypertension. Opportunity should be available and accessible to all.’ one can blame this on the easy availability of junk food and the resulting consumption of a higher amount of calories. One should be considerate towards the villagers who prefer to stay back in their native places. is now felt by thousands of students who travel far from home for higher education. On related issues. Recently. . While this is not always true. a study found that the occurrence of obesity in migrants to an urban dwelling is much higher than in people who reside in their hometowns. The untapped potential that remains hidden due to apparent “bad luck” represents a vast pool of talent that simply turns stagnant due to underutilization. it must be admitted that better facilities and prospects abroad have opened a lot of doors for the youth. when they migrated in search of jobs. One positive effect of urban migration is related to the role of women in a household. The culture shock in such an alien environment takes some getting used to. much more lavish than what they were used to earlier. within India. More households are open to women in workplaces. Rural couples are now likely to receive more in terms of monetary support. One very common reason for migration is Education. it is also responsible for better healthcare and education. Youth are said to be very open to change. Even more believe that foreign shores are their ticket to success. Excessive urban migration is responsible for an increase in slums in metro cities. there is more scope for conducting higher studies for women than before. And. it is not uncommon to see people flocking to metro cities expecting fame and fortune. This leads to lower living and working standards. especially if this change is expected to be permanent. regardless of their location and settings.How many of us have an opinion of how exactly opportunity or success is defined? How about where either can be found? Or what forms they take? Many youth are eager to travel abroad in search of fortune. The gender disparity that was often lamented is now less than before. and high blood sugar compared others. it is not so in totality. obese people are more likely to have diabetes. They are now rightly appreciated as integral members of a family and a workforce. Many of them see cities as their big escape into a world of opportunity. Also. This article focuses on a few of the aspects related to migration to cities from rural areas.

the Indian economy was substantially overhauled. Better and easier banking and micro-financing should be promoted. Our government doesn’t actually seem to be concentrating on this topic much.liberal import of agricultural products. unemployment in the agricultural was not profitable due to the fall in the price of farm products. Urban life is not a guarantee of a perfect life for everyone. which in turn caused a decline in rural employment. The suicide of farmers is the third fall-out of stagnation in agriculture. import of food grains. including at Nandigram in West Bengal. a country with the highest numbers of billionaires in Asia. Opportunity must be created. Therefore. What is highlighted today in the national scene is the image of ‘incredible India’ and ‘shining India’. The problems of agrarian sector have adversely affected the Indian agriculture. stagnation in agriculture. The most prominent manifestation of this is in the drastic decline in the growth rate of food grains. The main reason for agrarian crisis is. And India then started to import food grains at a much higher price than that in the domestic market. The rate of growth of agriculture was very less as compared to the increasing rate of population. Finally in support for the growth of the agricultural sector. Again. Bold steps must be taken to implement land reforms which are not implemented in . This is not quite true. But we do not hear enough about the serious problems in agriculture. Agrarian India and Crisis: Lest We Forget The people’s protest against Special Economic Zones in various parts of the country. When there is no season the farmers are left unemployed.all these are signs of simmering discontent in the agricultural sector. But we can’t easily ignore it. Based on this policy and the directives of the World Bank. our government should take up important measures to remove the hindrances. A periodic revision of the statistics of the growth and development should be made. Finally the number of people who are employed in the primary sector and the area under cultivation decreased. we are all aware that our farmers are in great distress. cutback in agricultural subsidies. lack of easy and low cost loan to agriculture. not chased indefinitely. restructuring of the public distribution system. widespread suicide of farmers. The export levels were drastically lowered and the government started reducing its investment on agriculture and industrial sector allowing the private sector to take over. It was with the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in 1991 that the policy of globalization was concretely introduced in India. Investment must be made especially in the farming industry.Many people are under the impression that the grass is always greener on the other side. special economic zones. We hear about India as a country with a very high economic growth. decline in government investment in the agricultural sector.

Similar dangers are present worldwide but the difference is that developed countries recognize the dangers of fatal infections and reinforce measures to prevent them. In our country. contours. Dinesh Gupta. resulting in devastating consequences. caused by regularly used items like reused surgical gloves. which is an irony considering patients are actually being paid a sum of Rs. He was admitted to a Delhi hospital . contaminated gauze. being expensive to the majority and free in very limited government hospitals. with its diversity in terms of cultures. was admitted in hospital for a relatively simple appendix operation. germladen instruments and medical products without proper certification. of course. Patients who come to a hospital or a clinic for treatment often face and suffer from a callous disregard of fundamental sterilization measures. Rajat Kumar. 8yrs. “In a country where 60% of people depend on agriculture for their livelihood. An effective way of helping out the farmers could be indulgence of the youth in social entrepreneurship concentrated in the agricultural sector. However. would be impractical to implement regularly for all surgeries and invasive procedures. actually. Swaminathan. Again the tragedy is the lack of funds set out for the use of disposable sterile equipment and gloves. The infections in hospitals are not caused by the use of some highly multifarious instruments whose use is beyond the comprehension of the common man.most states. The list of people dying and suffering from hospital acquired infections in India is mounting at a distressing rate. These actually just require basic preliminary investigations which tragically are not available to the common public. it is better to become an agricultural force based on food security rather than a nuclear force. 600 up to 1500 for a delivery in states like Uttarakhand. has a lot to boast about.S. traditions. due to the struggle to get its citizens treated by qualified personnel.” Health Care In India: Time We Thought About It! India. However. It is easy to say that medical personnel use badly serialized instruments… actually the tragic story is that these viruses require very special sterilization procedures which. hidden beneath these delightful pictures is the underbelly of a deprived India. Contracting infections in hospitals is a malady rising at an alarming rate in the country. he developed high grade fever after surgery which was proved to be an infection of the whole system and of a particularly virulent drug resistant organism picked up from the hospital and the little boy succumbed to it very soon. With thousands of feet treading long distances to avail the far and few medical facilities. 12. A very sorry state of affairs is evident in the rampant spread of Hepatitis B infections in hospitals. According to Dr M. hygiene and sanitation have taken a definite backseat. foods and crafts. these dangers are put on the back burner. is one of the many on that list. non-sterilized syringes and intravenous sets. They are.

with a huge shortage of academically and professionally proficient doctors needs more educational institutions directed towards producing them without lowering the academic standards. Despite all these measures. Do post your comments and let your voice reach out to everyone. This provides very highly myopic and short-term solutions. we talk about education. however. Besides focusing on trying to increase the productivity and efficiency of India as an economy. but the tender age also poses a number of risks to the physical being of the poor child.with a kidney problem. there will be countless opinions regarding the upgradation of medical services in India. A tradition prominent in the rural areas of India. So let’s know more about child marriage and it’s effects. visiting a private hospital and spending a fortune on the same medical treatment guarantees proper healing. The child not only suffers from a psychological shock. Despite India’s economic and educational reform efforts in the last decade. But when we talk of such progressive steps we forget that in the heart of the real India lives a tradition ruining lives of millions of children. child marriage destroys millions of lives every year. these hospitals do this because of irresponsible money making and due to lack of fear because of improper inspections and inadequate punishments. he got an infected catheter. Now he suffers from a chronic renal failure. graduates have to offer their services in rural areas for one year compulsorily. the prevalence of child marriage remains high. Statistics are elusive. Instead of cure. India has a long way to go where standard of living for the citizens is concerned. 25 – 35 per cent of patients admitted to city hospitals become casualties of hospital infection. Mumbai. Unlike popular perception. In areas where there are competent doctors. . Child Marriage In India: And You Thought it was Over… When we talk about children in India and their future. in India. Currently. In fact. a regular assessment of the functioning of the hospital must be done to ensure proper norms are being followed. but estimates are that 40 to 50 percent of marriages in India involve a girl under 18 or a boy under 21. According to the Hospital Infection Society. it’s time we think about enhancing the Human Development Index (HDI) of India-the country and starting with re-organizing and improving health sector seems like a fine idea. the legal ages for marriage. a long-term solution to the problem would be developing infrastructural base and providing doctors with lucrative offers for working in under-developed regions of the country in order to improve health-care facilities. sustainable development and much more. Strict punishment following any laxity by the doctors will deter loads of miscreants. reforms. A country like India. leading private hospitals in Delhi have come in the limelight for the very opposite reasons. Unlike financial constraint. The solution to this problem is neither straightforward nor can be effortlessly implemented.

Closely related to the issue of child marriage is the age at which girls become sexually active. Poverty. in Pakistan. the Population Council and UNICEF found that. infertility to still born fetus. Factors that influence child marriage rates include: The state of the country’s civil registration system. a substantial number of young married women indicated an interest in the use of contraception in the future. the existence of an adequate legislative framework with an accompanying enforcement mechanism to address cases of child marriage. child marriage is a violation of human rights. In actuality. An International Issue The literature suggests that many factors interact to place a child at risk of marriage. with little education and poor vocational training reinforcing the gendered nature of poverty. It has been that found little overall change in the average age at marriage for age cohorts born between 1950 and 1970 in most regions. strong correlations between a woman’s age at marriage and the level of education she achieves. Women who are married before the age of 18 tend to have more children than those who marry later in life. over 60 million (around the world) women aged 20-24 were married or in union before the age of 18. although noted that older husbands may be better providers for the household. particularly among the youngest of this cohort. Focusing primarily on Benin. At an age when all that a child must care for are his/her studies and play.From causing multiple pregnancies. Pregnancy related deaths are known to be a leading cause of mortality for both married and unmarried girls between the ages of 15 and 19. India and Turkey. the age at which she gives birth to her first child and the age of her husband. which provides proof of age for children. The age gap between partners is thought to contribute to these abusive power dynamics and to increase the risk of untimely widowhood. the girl child is often the one to bear the burden. Colombia. Women who married at younger ages were more likely to believe that it is sometimes acceptable for a husband to beat his wife and were more likely to experience domestic violence themselves. 97 per cent of women surveyed in India in 1992-1993 did not use any contraception before their first child was born. A Violation of Human Rights In many parts of the world parents encourage the marriage of their daughters while they are still children in hopes that the marriage will benefit the children both financially and socially and relieve financial burdens on the family. However. family honour and the provision of stability during unstable social periods are considered as significant factors in determining a girl’s risk of becoming married while still a child. as well as little change in the incidence of child marriage. According to UNICEF’s estimates. the children are married off and are buried with the burden of running a family. The right to ‘free and full’ consent to a marriage is recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – with the recognition that consent cannot be ‘free and full’ when one of the parties involved is not sufficiently mature to make an informed decision about a life partner. and the existence of customary or religious laws that condone the practice. . compromising the girls’ development and often resulting in early pregnancy and social isolation. protection of girls. female sterilization.

Mapping child marriage levels within countries may be a useful practice for programmatic purposes when determining where to launch new prevention campaigns. There is a need to develop methods to protect girls at risk of child marriage and to address the concerns of girls and women who are already married by ensuring the fulfillment of their right to a full education and providing them with life skills-based training to ensure that they can earn a livelihood. The success of the Indian urbanisation agenda will be hugely dependent on the poor migrants’ integration as urban citizens. If you have a view or thought in your mind then don’t let it go waste. the less likely she is to marry as a child. Increasing the level of compulsory education may be one tactic to prolong the period of time when a girl is unavailable for marriage. # Further data collection and research is also required to explore the impact of child marriage on boys and men. in order to inform programming strategies. as well as to expand Education for All programming beyond the primary level. Much of this growth will be due to rural-urban migration. Decreasing the pressure on young women to conceive through education and advocacy on the dangers of early motherhood should be considered. So please DO NOT just read this article and feel bad for the poor children who get married. While the bulk of scholarly work focusing on the “haves” and “have-nots” . India’s urban population is set to reach 590 million. # It is also important to capitalize on the window of opportunity created by the increasing gap in time between the onset of puberty and the time of marriage by providing substantive skills enhancing programmes and opportunities. programmatic and advocacy efforts to make education free and compulsory. The demand-and-supply relationship of child marriage should be qualitatively explored to illuminate dynamics. # Services for survivors of domestic violence should be accessible. Outreach efforts should consider targeting women who were married before age 18 as potentially in need of assistance. such as the reasons why households marry their children and why men prefer younger brides. It can also be used to track future progress by comparing child marriage levels at different points in time. India in transition: Urban migration and exclusion By 2030. Improving access to education for both girls and boys and eliminating gender gaps in education are important strategies in ending the practice of child marriage. Post a comment NOW and let your voice reach out to the world. are indicated by the strong significance of educational attainment in terms of reducing the number of girls who are married.Strategies to end the practice of child marriage # Evidence shows that the more education a girl receives. Similar consideration should be given to ways to improve access to effective contraceptive methods. Legislative. # Efforts are also required to protect girls who are in union. an addition of approximately 300 million to India’s current urban population.

who is conceived as the resident around whom the bulk of urban planning and development is focused. However. This “othering” of the socalled migrants happens through acts of labelling. India’s youngest urban centre. and neatly laid out residential complexes that provide a clean. People are free to move across States to escape destitution or in search of better opportunities. including casual labour at construction sites. attractive shopping arcades. While it conjures up images of glitzy buildings. when an undergraduate class of sociology students. Little wonder then that Gurgaon. gets hailed as the country’s Millennium City. There is a certain unsaid understanding about an ideal city dweller as belonging to a certain social and economic class. despite the fact that quite a few of them have relocated to Delhi for higher education themselves and are being taught by faculty who also belong to other parts of the country.” Urban development is a story of sharp contrasts. fancy corporate offices. they responded unanimously in identifying only those working in the informal economy. gave instances of migrants. Barring the residents of the traditional villages. THE NEW CASTES . the term migrant conjures up images of the poor and destitute that work in the informal economy and live in slums or jhuggis. almost everyone here is a migrant. While their contributions are indispensable to the smooth working of urban spaces. local governments and India’s middle class largely view economically poor migrants as outsiders making illegitimate claims to life in cities. there also exist shanty towns. Interestingly. on whose acquired lands Gurgaon has been raised. security guard duty. rickshaw pulling. there is comparatively little that we know and understand about its dimensions in the urban context. and the informal economy where people live in sub-human conditions and earn a living by doing odd jobs.” Such acts of labelling and categorising are not necessarily benign or apolitical acts. safe. street vending. They further the logic of the developmental agenda and are a justification for the urbanisation mission that India is steadfastly marching towards. such as “outsiders. However. slums. in a university in Delhi. MIGRANT IDENTITY This somewhat neat categorisation of India into the rural versus the urban also overlaps with stereotypical labels of “backward” and “modern. their needs are overlooked in the planning and vision of urban development. and hawking. domestic work. India does not stop its citizens from internal migration. and healthy existence. while it is actually far from that.” “encroachers. these India has traditionally focused on the rural.” and “criminals.” “illegal occupants.

Recently. towards the urban poor. especially migrants to the cities. schools. inextricably linked to this notion of the ideal city resident. bills. can enable social mobility and integration of migrants. where the state legalised exclusionary practices. The 2010 Common Wealth Games held in Delhi saw the forced eviction of large numbers of urban poor. The Right to Education Act has been a landmark intervention which has opened up private educational establishments to other economically weaker sections. However. if done in an inclusive manner. the most marginalised and poor also have to pay the most dearly. mostly rural-urban migrants.7 million. such as property lease or ownership papers. depends on a city’s ability to create an enabling environment for new entrants. water. So. the paperless migrant accesses basic goods and services at a premium in the black market economy. This involves planning for services such as access to safe housing. Ironically. there was an urban housing shortage in India of 24. The manner in which urbanisation is conceived and executed is. The caste anonymity of migrants is not enough to allow access to all urban spaces. where citizens are expected to become self-reliant and not be an economic liability for the State. Urban development. The underground economy is also indicative of the state’s absence in service delivery and lack of institutional support. one’s social and economic class has become the new caste. Ninety nine per cent of this shortfall pertained to the economically weaker sections and lower income groups in which migrants typically fall. In urban India. electricity. there is little being done towards the active enforcement of rights that allow for an integrated society. PAN cards. Much. as well as middle-class citizens. scholars have started pointing out the growing hostility of urban governments. the rights of citizens get operationalised through a host of official documents. bank statements. institutional and state policy efforts to this end seem to have been sparse. urban spaces are generating newer forms of inequalities and exclusions that go beyond caste. and voter IDs. therefore. while India may not be like sections of apartheid Africa. in urban India. as their social profiling restricts entry to most of these enclaves. Urbanisation in India subscribes to forces of the neo-liberal economy. and healthcare. . While most migrants would qualify as lawful citizens of the land. therefore. STATE NEGLECT At the beginning of the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-2012). While cities may be melting pots that have arguably helped mitigate traditional caste-based discrimination. Bereft of these.

Additionally. like the rural hinterlands. came out with a document to resolve problems of urban integration faced by young migrants. in January 2010. where the State Council of China’s cabinet. there is clearly an opportunity to offer them with necessary information on government services . Yet. An acceptance of the permanence of the poor migrant population is critical to better planning. Panchayats: There are 245. there is no single-window information feed on hundreds and thousands of government schemes. and labour rights sectors.500 panchayats (village councils) in India. it will not be long before the inequality in India’s urban centres. jobs. one can empower these three million and ensure better governance and revenue-oriented services. Poor: People in villages and small towns depend largely on government programmes. As rural mobile penetration touches more than 40% of them. Almost all of them have mobile phones. provisioning. There are interesting lessons to be learned from China. The country’s three million panchayat members embody governance at the grass roots. each covering 2-4 villages. it becomes mere eyewash. housing. THREE IDEAS THAT CAN CHANGE INDIA. schemes and provisions. social attitudes of urban elites need to be addressed through active campaigns. in turn. This. Excluded migrant populations would gain by seeking a collective identity that unites them on the basis of their exclusion. By developing all-round content and service-driven mobile applications.There is a long road ahead. Activism and awareness about their rights are key to overcoming some of the negative stereotypes they might have inherited or internalised. In the absence of proper execution or enforcement. and integration into India’s urban development. will help them to better stand up for their rights and exert demands for better living and working conditions. failing to help the most excluded. becomes engulfed by civil strife. and similar legislations are also needed in health. RAISING AWARENESS Good policy-making is only half of the solution. If schisms are left unaddressed. however.

small and medium enterprises employing 60 million people. towns and villages.through mobile phones. There is a huge opportunity in this business sector to reach out through innovative mobile applications. More than 70% of these do not have Internet connectivity and websites. financial inclusion and livelihood-oriented services. and are located in small cities. Small enterprises: India has more than 26 million micro. but they all have mobiles. . Specialized applications could be developed to target the 60 million employees. work in clusters. including services such as mobile money.

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