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India s Internal Labor Migration Paradox The Statistical And The Real

Internal labor migration rates in India
have been largely static and low in recent times compared
with those in other countries. This is a cause for concern
because internal migration for economic reasons can promote
the agglomeration of economic activity in more productive
locations and directly contribute to reducing poverty
through remittances. New evidence based on the India Human
Development Survey, which provides a more recent source of
data compared with the Census and other household surveys,
shows that labor mobility is higher than previously
estimated — the stock of labor migrants increased from 16
million in 2004-05 to 60 million in 2011–12. The absolute
number of circular migrants, at more than 200 million in
2011-12, is also much higher than previously documented
estimates. Tracking the same households between 2004–05 and
2011-12, empirical analysis based on the India Human
Development Survey highlights several socioeconomic factors
associated with the migration decision: household income,
the availability of information, as well as community
networks in source and destination areas. There is also a
possible administrative dimension to interstate migration
barriers, owing to domicile provisions for work and study,
lack of portability of social benefits, and legal and other
entitlements upon relocation.

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