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Monday, Oct 21, 2019

Agenda 2011 Uttar Pradesh: Pull ’em back

Homeward ho! Locals move to other states for greener pastures. It is time Uttar Pradesh, the land of hope opportunities, is itself made greener.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2011 14:11 IST
Manoj Dixit
Manoj Dixit
Hindustan Times

Everetts Lee (1966) has divided factors responsible for migration into two groups: push factors and pull factors. Push factors are the bad facets about the country that one lives in while pull factors are things that attract one to another area. Paul H Landis calls them forces of ‘attraction’ and ‘compulsion’. The main cause of migration, of course, lies in rural poverty, the one factor that comprises all the pushes in it self.

There are some pushes that work in the rural area while there are some pulls that are active in urban areas. These pulls are the lust of urban life that includes better work opportunities, attraction of city life and better civil amenities, which sometimes impel young people to migrate. All the pull factors are particularly applicable to migration of middle class people, yet it is quite possible that people from the lower strata of society are moving to cities under the influence of these ‘pull factors’.


One set of reasons responsible for migration comes under the pull factors that are active in the city. These are active in urban areas and pull rural people out from rural areas and compel them to migrate. First among them is expected higher income. According to Harris Tadaro, the essential feature of rural to urban migration is the ‘expected higher income’.

Wage disparities have always been the major reason for migration whether, it is inter-country, inter-state or inter-district or it is rural to urban migration. One of the pioneering studies conducted by the US Department of Labour points out that ‘a significant portion of labour mobility can be explained in terms of lack of alternative employment opportunities’.

Sundaram also advocates that income differentials between rural and urban areas are the major pull factor responsible for migration. The study provides empirical evidence from India to show that the extent of rural to urban migration in search of employment is negligible even though there exists a marked difference between the income foregone in the rural areas and the expected income in the urban areas. According to this study, the proportion of rural migration in search of employment in urban areas, at the all India level, is estimated to be little less than 45 per 10,000 urban populations.

After expected higher income, the major pull factor is improved urban infrastructure or civic amenities that include better education opportunities, modern medical services and urban markets. All these pulls will function for the middle class families rather than the lower strata of society while higher income is the pull that is active on lower strata of society.

The glamour of city life lures the rural population from rural areas to urban areas.

Well developed urban market pulls the rural migrants from rural areas to urban areas.


All the push factors form the single major push factor, which is rural poverty. Whether it is lack of job opportunities, poor education facilities, poor medical service or rural market, they all are the components of rural poverty. Rural poverty, in terms of insufficient farm sectors and non profitability of agricultural land, forces rural people to quit farming and migrate to urban areas. The small size of agricultural holdings in conjunction with low intensity of population has also been noted as a factor ‘driving the cultivator to abandon farming’ and migrate to urban areas.

Uttar Pradesh, unfortunately, suffers from both the reasons of migration. Though Uttar Pradesh as a state is too big to be clubbed in one reason, at the same time both the reasons seem to plague the state.

A deeper look reveals different trends of migration from different regions of the state. There is virtually no migration from two regions of the State; Western UP and Bundelkhand. Both these regions are diagonally opposite on the scale of development. This proves that no development or significant development do not cause migration in any substantial manner.

In fact, eastern UP contributes significantly to migration. It has both the reasons – the push factors are lack of development, lack of land reforms, caste based land holdings and employment patterns, lack of infrastructure, lack of quality education institutions (there are no IITs, IIMs or ISC in the region, though in all such institutions persons from these regions outnumber others) and the pull factors include significant presence of people from Mumbai, Delhi and Punjab coupled with opportunities. Once uprooted from their homeland, they prefer to settle in the lands of opportunities.

There are other reasons too. UP has shown negative growth in industrialisation, particularly in Central and East UP. This has led to migration from Kanpur and other such cities to indutrialised cities like Mumbai and Pune.

Half-baked education is also forcing people to leave the area. After completing their graduation, youths do not wish to become farmers and so, they end up becoming ‘industrial labourers’ in other cities.

Uttar Pradesh needs equitable development of industries, national level infrastructure, if not world class, creation of institutions of higher learning in backward areas (not private ones, the public institutions), roads, electricity, connectivity, etc.

The failure of the cooperative movement in eastern UP is a significant contributor to migration of the agricultural labourer, particularly to Punjab. We actually need to learn from west UP and only then will we be able to make migration based on choice rather due to lack of opportunities and other such factors. Agriculture based income in UP is abysmally low and unless cooperatives start working, agriculture based migration cannot be checked.

Tourism can be another area, which, if properly developed (people-based), can significantly check migration and also provide enough employment opportunities. This is evident from Rajasthan, Goa and Kerala. UP’s tourism is Agra-centric and then it spills over to Rajasthan. With better infrastructure and good marketing of UP’s image, a lot can be achieved in a year’s time.

How can this exodus be checked

*There should be an urgency to take up infrastructure related projects and complete them in time. The road network must be a priority – with a particular focus on Bundelkhand and eastern UP.
*More roads would mean more opportunities – better access to market and more employment.
*Immediate setting up of a SEZ for agro-based industries. Gorakhpur could be the best place for this.
*Immediate setting up of a PGI like super-specialty, tertiary-care institution in both eastern UP and Bundelkhand. Health is a major reason of permanent migration to cities with better healthcare facility.
*Setting up of at least three Universities in east UP and Bundelkhand, preferably one in Azamgarh, Ballia, Gonda and Banda.
*ITI like institutions and more vocational stress on education will be the key. Even for migration, this could get people better remuneration.
*Requesting the Central government to announce one IIT in eastern UP and IIM in Bundelkhand.
*Revival of industries in Kanpur and Lucknow would be crucial for checking migration and this revival is not very difficult.
*Create tourism promotion board consisting of representatives from all the three partners – government, industry and people. This should be the highest decision-making body with regards to strategising tourism development in UP.
*Electricity is a major crisis area. UP seems to have woken up now. Energy deficiency would be a roadblock to development. This must be addressed without any delay.
*Small towns and small to mid-sized cities should be vehicles of development. This would help boost small businesses, small-scale industries and the demand for professionals, such as carpenters, plumbers, electricians, masons, and the like.
*Immediate launch of e-governance programmes. Launch of e-Seva and Lok Shikayat, SMART, LOKVANNI, MAHITI SHAKTI, etc have done wonders in other states – why cant UP be one of them.

Study findings

The Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, recently conducted a study on migration patterns in Mumbai. Here are some of the key points vis-à-vis Uttar Pradesh.

*About 59 % of these migrants came to Mumbai from mainly 34 districts in the country, primarily from the state of Uttar Pradesh and the state of Maharashtra.

*Highest number of migrants moved from Jaunpur, Azamgarh, Basti, Siddartha Nagar,Allahabad and Varanasi of mainly eastern part of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri, Satara. The migrants from districts of UP recorded a lower sex ratio as compared to districts of Gujarat and Maharashtra.

*The most noticeable change in contribution of migrants to Greater Mumbai over the last 50 years is observed from Uttar Pradesh, which shows an increase from 12% to 24%. The states of Gujarat and Goa indicate continuous decline in their share of migrants. The migrants from Gujarat reduced from 16.9% to 9.6% while migrants of Goa indicate a decline of 3% to 0.6%.

*In 2001, more than two thirds of all migrants that entered Mumbai were reported to have moved from rural areas. This is something to worry about.

*Nearly five lakh (4.7 lakh to be precise) persons came to Mumbai during 1991-2001 from Uttar Pradesh. While only 1,134 people from Mumbai migrated to Lucknow and just 676 persons from Mumbai migrated to Jaunpur.

Time to take lessons from Bihar

Uttar Pradesh must begin learning from Bihar. Some recent trends and observations about Nitish Kumar’s Bihar could be taken as a lesson in UP.

Ever since Bihar embarked on the development path, migration from the state to other states dipped, so much so that construction and farming began feeling the pinch of their absence. Even the habitual seasonal migrants’ percentage of exodus from Bihar fell drastically because they began getting better livelihood in their own state.

And Bihar government did not take a decade or years to make Bihar a better employment place for its people. Some wall writings and hoardings in the countryside and factories in Punjab or Haryana caught attention of people in the country through the media. Those wall writings and hoardings actually invited Bihar agricultural labourers and factory workers to ‘Come and work on premium wages. And better amenities too’.

So, development in Bihar not only helped its people to prefer working in their own state but also got better wages to those who still migrated.

About the Author
Professor Manoj Dixit is the Head, Department of Pubilc Adminsitration, Lucknow University. He has experience from different countries like China, Ethiopia, Middle-eastern countries and Thailand. He has authored numerous articles and books and is actively involved in policy advocacy and tourism management.

First Published: Jan 09, 2011 14:07 IST

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