Statesman News Service
BHUBANESWAR, 5 OCT: The release of Human Development Report 2009 by the UNDP here today sparked off a lively discussion on two distinct aspects of migration ~ the one leading to prosperity and development and the other caused by distress leading to further torment and sub-human conditions.
While state programme officer UNDP, Dr Ambika Nanda highlighted the findings of the HDR 2009, Mr Jagadananda, state information commissioner, Mrs Manorama Mohapatra of Lok Sevak Mandal and Mr Jockin Arputham, the Magsaysay Awardee and social activist engaged in a discussion on the various shades of migration and the distress linked ones in Orissa.
The HDR report stated that one in seven people is a migrant and the bulk of the migration is internal rather than international. Sixty per cent of the worlds international migrants move either between developing countries or between developed countries while only 37 per cent move from a developing country to a developed one.
Another interesting finding was that six of every 10 migrant preferred to move to a nation where the major religion is the same as their nation and four of every 10 prefer country with the same donminant language.
Migrants from poor countries has a 15 fold increase in income, doubling in education enrolment rates and 16 fold reduction in child mortality after moving out, it said.
Remittances to developing countries are four times the size of total official development aid. Asian migrants moving to Gulf often pay 25 to 35 per cent of what they expect to earn over three years in recruitment and other fees.
India has 42 million internal migrants, 21 million development induced displaced persons in India, many of whom are people from SC and ST category.
Migration can help development but it is a substitute. The report suggests further simplification of regular channels of migration to allow low skilled people to seek work abroad, ensure basic rights for migrants, make mobility an integral part of development strategies.
Mr Jagadananda focused on Orissa and the distress seasonal migration that takes place. "It is terrible and the bulk of such migration is from SC and ST community," he said. Dearth of livelihood options and natural calamities are the main reason for such migration he said. The migrant worker often lives in sub-human conditions and a policy deficit to tackle the problem is there because there is a hug data gap on migration, he observed.
He called for joint strategies and planning by the recipient and the source states ~ like Andhra Pradesh and Orissa or Orissa and Gujarat, he said. He also felt that NREGA, if monitored does help check seasonal migration.
Mr Jockin Arputham admitted that initially he had felt that such reports were meaningless but now he realises that it helps educate policy makers and politicians to a certain extent.
He emphasised on simple targets and small things which could go a long way in making a better living. While talking of education, jobs and security of tenure, one tends to forget small issues like providing a toilet and thereby giving dignity to life in slums, he remarked. "It is a pity that people continue to die due to want of food and shelter in India," he said.
One in every four people in Orissa are migrants said a study conducted and released here today. It claimed that 7.9 million are intra-district migrants, 2.4 million are inter-district and 0.66 million are inter-state migrants.
The number of female migrants is higher than male in the state primarily due to social practice of marriage and movement, it said.
Recent trends suggest the high proportion of migrant workers to Surat is from the SC category. Migration also takes place to West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra and Andhra Pradesh is significant numbers. The Orissa specific study observed that vulnerability to AIDS, alcoholism is high for th single migrant worker population.
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