Why a majority of Shramik Special trains terminate in UP, Bihar

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on May 11, 2020 Published on May 11, 2020

Migrants who had boarded a 'Shramik Special' train at Jaipur arrive at the Danapur junction in Bihar.   -  PTI

States with low Cohort-based Migration Metric values see significant out-migration

Post lockdown, several among the thousands of migrant workers now heading back to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar will not return to Mumbai, or anywhere else in Maharashtra, if they get employment in their own States. This was the sentiment shared by many of the migrants returning home that BusinessLine spoke to. What makes a large population from certain regions leave home and hearth to seek work in other States?

. An analysis of Indian Railway data released on Sunday shows that of the total 366 Shramik Special trains operated across the country, 58 per cent trains terminated in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

As on May 10, about 287 trains were terminated in States including Uttar Pradesh (127 trains), Bihar (87 trains), Madhya Pradesh (24 trains) and Jharkhand (16 trains). The majority of those who travelled in these were migrant workers.

CMM scores

The migration from a particular State reflect its economic development. “Internal migration flows in India are driven by the States’ important economic inequities,” said the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2017 report titled ‘Migration and its impact on cities’.

The Cohort-based Migration Metric (CMM) shows that less affluent States see more out-migration while the most affluent States are the largest recipients of migrants. The strong positive relationship between the CMM scores and per capita incomes at the State level shows that relatively poorer States such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have high net out-migration. Seven States have positive CMM values reflecting net in-migration: Goa, Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.

“Bihar, a State with one of the highest outflows of domestic migrants, has a per-capita income roughly equivalent to Somalia’s (approximately $520) and a birth rate of 3.4 children per woman,” the WEF report said. On the other hand, Kerala, a destination for in-migrants, has a per-capita income four times that of Bihar’s (approximately $2,350) and a birth rate of 1.6 children per woman, on par with Denmark.

Inter-State migration

One of the principal drivers of the growth is rural-to-urban migration as people search for better economic prospects. In cities such as Faridabad, Ludhiana and Surat, over 55 per cent of the total in-migrants are from other States.

India’s inter-State migration doubled between 2001 and 2011 compared to the previous decade, growing 4.5 per cent annually. Annual inter-State migration averaged at 5-6 million migrants a year.

A big chunk of migrant labourers come from farming as the share of the workforce engaged in the agriculture sector has come down from 58.2 per cent in 2001 to 54.6 per cent in 2011.

“Who likes to leave home and family?” asks Aslam Sheikh a migrant worker from West Bengal. Migrant workers who are leaving for their home States amid the lockdown will, however, mostly have to return, as livelihood prospects back home are rather bleak.

Job schemes

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Rural Development has claimed that out-migration from villages has gone down due to the implementation of employment scheme MGNREGS. Also, the Ministry is implementing the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission aimed at developing 300 rural growth clusters called Rurban Clusters. The objective is to bridge the rural-urban divide and to reduce migration from rural to urban areas and eventually to facilitate reverse migration.

Published on May 11, 2020

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