Internal Migration (Research and Policy)

© UNESCO/Marina Faetanini

Internal Migration in India Initiative (IMII) 

Internal migration in India accounts for a large population currently estimated at approximately 400 million, or nearly 30 percent of the total population.  These figures are indeed staggering when compared with estimates of Indian emigrants, i.e. 11.4 million. The constraints faced by seasonal migrants in particular (estimated at 100 million) are many – lack of formal residency rights; lack of identity proof; lack of political representation; inadequate housing; low paid, insecure or hazardous work; extreme vulnerability of women and children to trafficking and sexual exploitation; exclusion from state-provided services and entitlements such as health and education; inability to access banking facilities; and discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, class or gender. Being constantly on the move, migrants, of which nearly 70 percent are women, lose access to social security benefits linked to the residence, falling through the cracks of development policies and programmes focused on settled populations. The underlining assumptions of a majority of city officials and local authorities are that inhospitable and harsh cities are the best deterrent to migration flow.

The Internal Migration in India Initiative (IMII) was therefore launched in 2011 to address the multiplicity of challenges faced by migrants, men, women and children, and support their social inclusion in the economic, social, political and cultural life of the country, using a three-legged approach combining research, policy and advocacy. The informal network created under the IMII has been recently transformed into a new web-portal titled Gender, Youth and Migration (GYM). 

Links to related publications:


For further information contact:

Ms Marina Faetanini
Section Chief and Programme Specialist in Social and Human Sciences
UNESCO New Delhi Cluster Office

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