What is Circular Migration?

Circular Migration

Context: Circular Migration a common phenomenon in India society, which has intensified after industrialization.

Circular Migration

Circular migration is like a temporary back-and-forth movement of people between two places, countries, states, or even cities. They move to another place to work when there are job opportunities and then return to their original place when the work season ends. It’s a bit like going on a short-term work trip and coming back home when it’s done. This type of migration is common among low-income groups who are looking for jobs that are only available for a limited time, like seasonal work in farming or construction.

Why Circular migration happening in India?

  • Industrialization: India’s ongoing industrialization has led to the development of manufacturing and construction sectors in urban areas. This growth creates job opportunities that attract rural residents to temporarily move to cities in search of work. 
  • Growth of Services Sector: The services sector, including IT, hospitality, and retail, has expanded in India’s urban centers. This sector offers various employment opportunities, including short-term contracts and part-time work, which encourages circular migration.
  • Uneven Development: India’s development is not uniform across all states and regions. Some areas have seen more significant economic growth and urbanization than others in post liberalization era. #Western and Southern States benefitted a lot whereas West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha have witnessed the highest rates of out migration. 
  • Social Networks: Existing social networks play a crucial role in circular migration. People often have relatives or friends in urban areas who can help them find temporary work or provide support during their stay, making it easier for them to move back and forth.

Factors for Migration

Push FactorsPull Factors
– poverty
– high population pressure on the land
– lack of basic infrastructural facilities like health care, education, etc. 
– natural disasters such as, flood, drought, cyclonic storms, earthquake, tsunami wars and local conflicts also give an extra push to migrate.
– better employment opportunities 
– availability of regular work 
– relatively higher wages
– better opportunities for education 
– better health facilities
– sources of entertainment

Positive consequences of Migration

  • Employment Opportunities: Migration often leads to increased employment opportunities in urban areas, where industries and services are concentrated. Migrants, especially those with specialized skills, can find better-paying jobs than in their rural hometowns. 
  • Serve as Lifeline for Rural Economy: Remittances sent back by migrants to their families in rural areas can significantly boost the local economy. This money can be utilized for investment in education, healthcare, and local businesses, improving the standard of living in these areas. 
  • Skill Enhancement: Migrants often acquire new skills and experiences in urban environments, which can be valuable both for their personal development and for their communities when they return. 
  • Women Empowerment: Migration provides women greater autonomy and decision-making power in the family due to the absence of men who migrate. It gives them opportunities for economic independence and personal growth and challenges traditional gender roles.
  • Fulfilling the Demand for Low-Skill Jobs: Migrants often fill labor gaps in industries that require low-skilled workers, which can be crucial for sustaining these industries and maintaining economic productivity. #Especially in Western Countries.

Negative Consequences of Migration

  • Brain Drain Effect: When skilled individuals migrate abroad in large numbers, it can lead to a “brain drain” in their home country, wherein the most talented people of our country will use their intellect, skill and innovation for the advancement of another country.
  • Competition for Jobs: In urban areas, migrants may compete with local residents for jobs, potentially leading to increased job competition and lower wages, particularly in certain sectors. 
  • Stagnation in Agriculture: Rural-to-urban migration can lead to a decline in the agricultural workforce, potentially reducing agricultural productivity and food security in rural areas. 
  • Burden on Physical Infrastructure: Rapid urbanization due to migration can strain urban infrastructure such as housing, transportation, healthcare, and education. This can lead to overcrowding, inadequate public services, and increased environmental problems.

Circular Migration: A promising path to manage Migration effectively

  • As the needs of development and individual economic advancement can be balanced out. #Balanced Migration
  • It results into “brain circulation”, wherein individual can use his/her talent in both countries and also contributes to the remittances.
  • It offers flexibility to migrants, as they can return to their home country when job opportunities change or when they want to reunite with their families.

The effective management of migration requires well-designed policies that protect the rights of migrants, address issues of exploitation and precarity, and promote integration into host communities. Additionally, cooperation between origin and destination countries is essential to maximize the benefits of this migration pattern. #SDG target 10.7, which calls on countries to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration.

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