Some Policy Recommendations to Address the Issue of Out-Migration in Uttarakhand

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Out-migration is one of the most debatable issue confronting the policy circles in Uttarakhand. Why so many people chose to leave the place they were dwelling for generations? The answer is simple. When their present place of residence is unable to provide them the minimum acceptable sense of security; economic, social and political, their very survival comes at stake and migration is a survival strategy. The present article based on the MA Thesis submitted by the author to the School of Social Sciences, Doon University, Dehradun. Here, an attempt is made to present a few policy suggestions towards addressing the issue of migration in Uttarakhand.





The Ghost Village of Uttarakhand


It is rational that when people fail to satisfy their needs from existing resources at the current place of their residence, they move outside and migrate to those places where they can find those resources that can fulfill their needs and satisfaction. However, migration is not always a voluntary process. As Standing states, human species is not a migratory species, but it is a restless one1.

There are some factors which motivate people to migrate out. Destruction of social capital is one of the most significant factors in promoting migration. In the similar way, strengthening of the social capital also prevents people from migrating. Migration is always an emotional issue and people have to migrate due to some ‘push and pull factors’2. When people decide to migrate they break their social capital accumulated at the existing place over generations and no one would wish to break this social capital3. Cost of migration is another significant factor which helps to check migration. There is a cost also associated in the process of migration in social and economical terms5. Some threats like regional imbalance and lack of skilled labour in the emigrant place are also associated with migration simultaneously.

There are different reasons of people for migration which depends upon the necessity of them but mostly people try to avoid migration since significant risk and cost is associated with migration. Uttarakhand is a rich place in terms of culture, heritage, natural beauty, and economically most important natural resources. Even then people have to migrate from Uttarakhand especially from naturally rich places of hill areas and districts. Many people have raised their voices against the increasing rate of migration from the hill areas of
Uttarakhand. And the reason behind raising their voices is that they seem migration a result of huge regional disparities between hills and plains. The issue of migration is most vibrant in Uttarakhand politics, while migration, more or less, is present in every state, the  reason may be threat of damaging culture and heritage of the region or people have wish to fill up the regional gap in terms of development. And as a result observing the aspiration of the people of the state against the migration, an election party mentioned the word ‘migration’ and promised to address the migration through strengthening rural economy in its manifesto for assembly election 2012 in the state.6

The present write up is based on the MA Thesis submitted by the author to Doon University. In this study, it was found that migration in Uttarakhand occurs mainly due to lack of employment and lack of employment opportunities cause because of unfair labour market situations. However this study is not yet able to suggest any policy recommendations, though it would try to suggest some points on existing labour policies so that the effort in this study may contribute in addressing the out migration from Uttarakhand. The suggestion points are as following-

1. Labour policies should be implemented properly and adequate expenditure and utilization of funds available for programmes should be made to strengthen local labour market.

2. State government should achieve full utilization of funds and resources available for employment generation programmes.

3. Employment has become a right of every citizen after NREGA. This wage employment programme has created opportunities for rural people in very large numbers. The number of working days and wage for the work should be increased so that the income level of rural households may improve.

4. Government should promote and spread awareness about these employment generation programmes so that more people can gain benefits from these  programmes.

5. Self employment generation programmes are very useful in creating employment and higher income near to home and village and affects most in reducing out migration. These programmes are most effective tool in strengthening rural economy, therefore these programmes should be promoted in vast size and encourage people so that people get into these programmes as more as possible.

6. Training and skill development help in increasing productivity of the workforce and thus lead to economic growth of the region. So that in this state there is a great need of high expenditure in education and training. Expenditure on education especially in higher and technical education should be increased not only in absolute terms but also in proportion to state GDP and total state budget also. And government should make efforts in this direction; it would lead to high returns in long term for state economy and  citizens as well.

7. Employment services are in worst condition at present. These services assist in finding the matching job. Appropriate steps should be taken to restore the present status of these services.

8. Labour market policies should integrate local markets of commodities and services like horticulture and tourism into the overall labour market.

9. For the proper implementation of programmes at the ground level appropriate monitoring mechanism is necessary. Therefore both the centre and state governments should provide an effective monitoring mechanism so that inadequacies and unacceptable activities could be checked at any level.

10. Many programmes or policies in states are implemented with the assistance of centre. Therefore the success of any programme or policy depends upon the coordination between centre and state. Thus healthy coordination between centre and state is required for a successful outcome from the programmes or policies.

1 Cited in Chaudhuri Jayasri (2001).
2 Lee E.S. (1966), ‘Theory of Migration’.
3 Ray Debraj (2010), ‘Development Economics’, Oxford University Press.
4 Vogler and Rotte (2000).
5 Manifesto of the election party Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) in 2012 for assembly election of 2012 in

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  • Thank you Sukant for your comment. Sukant, we can not say that people in Uttarakhand are not interested to work under MGNREGA. If we see the data given at the nrega website only, the trend of numbers of HH demanded and provided the work has increased over the years continuously. Which indicate that people want to work in MNREGA works. However, under MNREGA people who complete 100 days of work in a year is very low. It may have some significant reasons. The reasons may be that people are not getting the satisfactory wage or lesser number of days of work and may be some others. To find out the significant reasons we need a close study. But increasing number of HHs demanding for work imply that more people are ready to work under MNREGA.

    from Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India
  • Tnnophoto N

    Guest - sukant

    Very good suggestions. Pointing to your suggestion no-3, it may not be a solution in uttarakhand. Even the 100 days of employment in MGNREGS, people are not interested. How can we expect more people to chip in of no of days increase

  • Tnnophoto N

    Very good suggestions. Pointing to your suggestion no-3, it may not be a solution in uttarakhand. Even the 100 days of employment in MGNREGS, people are not interested. How can we expect more people to chip in of no of days increase.

    Comment last edited on about 6 months ago by Super User

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