11.10.2013 - UNESCO Office in New Delhi

Myths and Facts about Internal Migration

On the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Hon’ble Shri Jairam Ramesh, Minister of Rural Development, Government of India, releases UNESCO publication, Social Inclusion of Internal Migrants in India, at UN Conference Hall, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi. The Hon’ble Minister says, “Internal migration is a force for good for the migrant family, a force for good for the local economy, and a force for good for the country”.  At this occasion, an expert panel composed of Government officials, researchers, social activists and partners, share their experiences on social inclusion of internal migrants and interact with the media. 

The publication, supported by Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and UNICEF,  focuses on the many positive aspects of internal migration and to this end displays ten key areas that are essential to the social inclusion of internal migrants: Registration and Identity; Political and Civic Inclusion; Labour Market Inclusion; Legal Aid and Dispute Resolution; Inclusion of Women Migrants; Inclusion through Access to Food; Inclusion through Housing; Educational Inclusion; Public Health Inclusion and Financial Inclusion. It provides an overview of existing innovative practices that help to increase the inclusion of internal migrants in society and dispels current myths and misconceptions about internal migrants. 

Approximately three out of ten Indians are internal migrants, accounting for a large population of 309 million as per Census of India 2001, and by more recent estimates, 326 million (NSSO 2007-2008), nearly 30 per cent of the total Indian population.  The many positive aspects of internal migration remain unrecognized. Internal migration is an integral part of the development and urbanization of cities; internal migrants are vital, yet invisible, key actors of socially dynamic, culturally innovative and economically prosperous cities. “There is an urgent need to raise awareness of internal migrants’ positive benefits to society. This will in turn lay the foundations for a more inclusive and integrated society, and balance economic prosperity and social diversity”, says Mr. Shigeru Aoyagi, Director and UNESCO Representative to Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka. 

The constraints faced by internal migrants are many and the current discourse does not adequately address pertinent issues such as seasonal and circular migration, gender specific, and child specific facets of internal migration. "Social inclusion of internal migrants starts with access to social services for men, women and children. Out of school children, exploitation, trafficking, child labour, separation from families and social stigma are some of the vulnerabilities experienced by children. Child-sensitive social protection measures are key to help address these vulnerabilities regardless of their location, whether at the source or at destination" says Mr. Louis-Georges Arsenault, Representative for UNICEF India Country Office.

"Internal migration requires much needed structural change for India to ensure faster inclusive and sustainable growth” says Shri Rakesh Ranjan, Advisor, Housing and Urban Affairs, Planning Commission, Government of India. 

To download the publication click here  

Myths and Facts about internal migrants 

For more information and a copy of the publication, please contact: 

Marina Faetanini, Chief, Social and Human Sciences (m.faetanini(at)unesco.org)

Rekha Beri, Documentalist and Public Information (r.beri(at)unesco.org)

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