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Campaign on rural-urban migration

Full report can be downloaded migrarion campaign report feb 2013.

The Mobile Vaani campaign topic for February 2013 was on rural-urban migration. The campaign that was run for 10 days was the result of a month long preparation by the JMR team and their volunteers who collected lifestories and experiences from migrants through interviews and focussed group discussions. Panchayat Nama as a media partner for the campaign circulated a questionnaire form in their Suno-suno weekly page to elicit the readers’ responses on migration. The major objectives of the campaign were the following:

  • Principal reasons for distressed migration
  • Any major trends regarding distressed migration, like, seasons or specific months when it occurs, whether the whole family migrates or only one or some members
  • Past and present status of migration, as noticed by villagers
  • Kind of activities/ work the migrants take up after migrating to other places
  • Living conditions and health facilities available at the place of migration
  • Any major issues/ problems/ concerns the migrants face at their place of work
  • People’s perspective on government schemes designed to tackle distressed migration

 

JMV received significant participation from 9 districts and from four different states other than Jharkhand over the 10 day period that shed crucial light on the condition of migrants, reasons for migration, and the state of affairs on the ground. Significant feedback on the performance of government schemes, reasons for migration, and stories from the mouth of people from Jharkhand who had migrated, were all featured prominently on JMR. The feedback has been conveyed to several district authorities all across the state.

Stats related to the campaign

Duration – 26th January to 4th February (10 days)

Number of items published – 140

Number of active contributors – 50

Number of users who heard these items – 6500

Media partner – Panchayat Nama, Jharkhand

Districts from which callers participated –Dhanbad, Giridih, Bokaro, Ramgarh, Ranchi, Latehar, Khunti, Palamu and Chatra.

Participation outside Jharkhand - Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana.

 

1.    Campaign process

The contents collected through interviews and FGDs, along with comments, views, experiences and stories from the JMR users were assemble in 10 separate episodes, each focusing on certain core issues related to migration. The questions circulated among JMR field representatives and among the Panchayat Nama readers are attached as Annex – 1.

Episode – 1: Reasons for Migration

The first episode of the migration campaign highlighted the varied perspectives around it, as presented by JMV users. Vasudev Turi, a caller shared his concern about unemployment being the main reason for migration in spite of the fact that Jharkhand is a state where industries and factories are flourishing.  Umesh Kumar Turi from Mahuda seemed more concerned about the fact that females are also migrating in large numbers, never to return back to their native land. Kailash Giri added to the episode by taking the opinions of the native people by soliciting their views on reasons for migration. This episode also adds the song of Rajmani Yadav on migration, who rhythmically expresses his anguish on the same. And lastly, Birbal Mahto recited poetry where he vividly explained the reasons behind migration.

Episode – 2: How effective are government schemes in tackling migration

In the second episode we played the self-designed audio clip of Umesh Kumar Turi of Mahuda, Dhanbad, where he amalgamated the interviews of native people on several issues related to migration, like unemployment, illiteracy, ineffective implementation of government schemes in the rural areas, corruption and involvement of middle men, lack of infrastructure, etc. Most of the people he interviewed mentioned that the government needs to keep a proper track on the schemes to ensure proper implementation.

Episode – 3: Initiatives that could help reducing migration

The third episode provided information about several government schemes, so that people do not migrate to distant lands to earn their livelihood. In this episode information related to schemes such as MNREGA, agriculture practices, farming and entrepreneurship was circulated. Further, an overview on how bank loans could be availed by the natives was explained in this episode.

Episode – 4: First-hand account of difficulties in availing government schemes

In the fourth episode we amalgamated the opinions of the native people who expressed their views on what difficulties they face in availing the government schemes. Several opinions from the natives provided a vivid scenario that the government officials did not take the queries of the villagers seriously, thereby not providing them with employment. In the concluding part Radhu Rai from Mahuda sang a beautiful folk song on the same.

Episode – 5: Migration, a harsh reality: Life-story of a bonded labourer

Episode five was a mix of interviews of migrants, their stories and experiences. The most touching story was of Surendra Kumar Mahto who migrated from Chandrapura Block, Bokaro district of Jharkhand to Assam in hope of getting a good job. Contrary to his hopes he was kept as a bonded labour over there. In this episode he expressed how he lived through the experience and eventually escaped. It was also learnt that a lot of people were unaware of government schemes for their benefit, to stop migration. The other voices in the episode were from people who are stuck in the vicious cycle of migration, enduring the pain that they have to live through in order to have a better future. Does that hope turn to reality is still a question they are themselves finding answers to?

Episode – 6: Poverty in the wake of Industrialization, Unemployment in the wake of Education

Episode six focused on the state of affairs in Jharkhand that forces people to seek livelihood in distant lands, in spite of being a mineral rich state in itself. It elaborated on the perspectives of the people of Jharkhand and highlighted the rising numbers of educated unemployed, corruption in the state, and growing poverty.

Episode – 7: Migrants speak

The seventh episode presented the issue of migration from different standpoints. While Raju Kumar from Chatra gave a word by word account of his financial crisis at home that forced him to migrate to Maharashtra twice, Amit Kumar from Palamu shared his accounts of migration when he migrated to Tamil Nadu and expresses his helplessness and anguish over being an educated unemployed. This episode also explained how women of the village and anganwadi workers see migration in its totality – the cause and effect. Shankar Ramani’s organization working for empowerment of the unemployed in Mahuda shows a ray of hope to tackle the issue of migration. On an entertaining note Rajmani Yadav from Palamu presented a one act play on Jharkhand’s statehood- how the state viewed itself on being separated from Bihar.

Episode – 8: Problems associated with migration

In this episode of migration, there were four interviews, one of them is of Mr. Mahindra Kumar Turi, who is a migrant labour in Hyderabad and who described how it feels to stay away from the family and native place. He also stressed that with proper implementation of existing schemes the problem of migration could be reduced. That was followed by the interview of Sh. Ganauri Ram, who shared why in spite of Jharkhand being a mineral rich state there is so much migration among the people. He also explained how this leads to other problems of trafficking and mental distress. Thereafter there were two interviews of Elected Representatives of Panchayati Raj who unequivocally expressed that the money meant for different schemes do not reach the intended beneficiaries. These interviews were followed by messages from Shivpujan Hazari and Niraj Kumar Turi who shared how both the Govt. and private companies are creating havoc in the lives of people through land acquisition and unemployment. In the end there was a poem on migration by V.K.Verma.

Episode – 9: Migration: a vivid scenario

The ninth episode elaborated several perspectives of migration, highlighting touching stories of people who migrated to distant lands. Interviews of the migrants from Jharkhand were put together to provide a vivid scenario of state of affairs around migration.

Episode – 10: Labour commissioner addresses JMV users

The last episode of migration campaign brings together the views of the Labour Commissioner of Jharkhand informing people about the benefits of registering with their Panchayats if they are migrants. The other sections of this episode include migrant’s views, some facts on migration and the episode ends with a song on the long-term damages that migration brings with it.

 

2.    Community feedback and major findings

 

Shivpujan Hazari from, Dhanbad District, Baghmara Block, Tetulia Panchayat says:

Shivpujan Hazari from Baghmara block of Dhanbad district called to share his opinion on migration. He said that he lives in Tetulia Panchayat where twenty percent of the people have migrated to other places in search of better employment opportunities. He also mentioned that schemes such as MNREGA are not useful in their area, as people do not receive any help from such schemes to continue a proper livelihood. He concluded saying that the middleman are polluting the whole work scenario of MNREGA scheme, and also requested the concerned officials to solve the matter.

Punit Mahato, Dhanbad District, Topchanchi Block, Kherabera Panchayat says:

Punit Mahto from Kolhapur, Maharashtra originally from Kherabera village of Topchanchi block, Dhanbad called up to share his opinion on why people migrate to other states. He said that the daily wages in Jharkhand are very low, which is not enough to sustain livelihood. He said that although he is away from his native land yet he is happy to earn a proper wage in Maharashtra.

 

Binita Topo, Latehar Districts, Balumath Block says:

Binita Topo from Balumath block of Latehar called to share her opinion on migration, she said that the prime reason for migration is unemployment. The government has failed to provide employment and schemes like MNREGA have become a toy in the hands of middlemen of the state. She said that, there are several vacancies in almost all the departments in Jharkhand, if the government starts recruiting then half the unemployed would be consumed here itself. She also said the farmers need help for proper irrigation, and methods for scientific farming and mechanization should be encouraged via these schemes to create farming activity and put an end to migration. The need of the hour is proper decision making by the government to keep the people of the soil in their respective places and put a stop to migration.

Jaisaran Puri, Bokaro District, Bhandaridah Block, saysJaisaran Puri from Bhandaridah block of Bokaro district shared his data on migration. He said that more than 17,000 thousand people migrate from Jharkhand to different states to earn a livelihood. Among them the youth, aged between 20-22 years constitute a major percentage. He said that although Jharkhand is a self-sustained state but the citizens of this land are not provided with any facilities. He mentioned that even after migrating to other places, people are not happy or satisfied, because they are mentally and physically tortured. It is seen that of the total women who migrate out of Jharkhand, 10% of them are the exploited who then fail to return to their houses. The middlemen take this opportunity to indulge in flesh trade and trafficking and send women to destinations like, Delhi, Mumbai, UP, West Bengal and Odisha. The scenario is very pathetic, as the government doesn’t provide any facilities to help these women to return to their normal life, as most of the times their families disown them. He said the only way to stop such migration is by providing self-sustained opportunities to the citizens of Jharkhand, so that they do not migrate to distant places. He also said that, to top everything the issue of naxalism is a major reason for common people to migrate. The people live in the threat of the naxalites, the government is unsuccessful to provide safety and security


Karan Kumar Thapa, Palamu District, Daltanganj Block, saysKaran Kumar Thapa from Daltonganj block of Palamu district called up to share the interview of Reeta Kujur who is a social worker and a teacher in the Model School of Barwadih, Latehar. She said that many of the tribal people who migrate to other states such as Delhi, Mumbai and Punjab are victims of mental and physical harassment. Therefore, she requests the listeners of JMR and the migrants who are currently listening to JMR to try and  search job opportunities in their own village or start a small scale enterprise  in their native place.


Raju Kumar, Chatra District, Simaria Block, says

Raju Kumar from Simaria block of Chatra district shared his story on migration with the listeners of JMV. Narrating his story, he said that, he migrated to Mumbai with his elder brother to earn a livelihood. Firstly, he found it very difficult to get accustomed to the fast lifestyle of Mumbai. Then, to add to it, he was paid only hundred rupees per day, as labour charges. He exclaimed that he was very unhappy about the fact that even after being literate he was living the life of a daily wage earner. He concluded his message by saying that the people who migrate are considered outsiders even in the same country and are always looked down upon.


Umesh Kumar Turi, Dhanbad District, Baghmara Block, says

Umesh Kumar Turi shared grim stories of families who have lost their children after they migrated to other states in search of livelihood. He shared that a family in Bokaro’s Nawadih block lost their first son, who was 20 years of age in an accident, when he migrated to Mumbai.. Fate does a double-take with them when another member of the family died while staying away from them in search of work. The grieved family revealed that they have no other way to sustain themselves other than migrating to other states for employment. Similarly, Sujeet Kumar of Latehar district died in an accident while he migrated to Nainital in search of livelihood. Shri Turi further shared an incident of Bhaghmara block, where a youth called Saiyad Ansari migrated to Mumbai and met with an accident at the place of his work, which eventually became the reason for his death. He stressed that none of these families have got any compensation from the employing agencies or the government and in many of the cases like these the reasons for death do not even get investigated. What they get back is life-less body of their dear ones.

 

Major findings and observations:

  • 11 percent of the callers cited poor infrastructure – roads, electricity, water, education, as the major reason behind migration, while 38 percent held unemployment and consequent poverty as the prime reason behind distressed migration. 19 percent of all the callers blamed ineffective implementation of government schemes and associated red-tapism and corruption as the major contributing factors for which people are forced to seek livelihood through migration.

  • Rest of the participants cited reasons like displacement due to construction of dam, mining etc, directionless youth and their trend of not willing to work in villages, hostile social environment for entrepreneurship and farming, lack of awareness about government schemes and entitlements, uneducated youth population, unstable Government and rise of Naxalism, erosion of traditional employment skills, influence of middlemen and family and peer pressure to be contributing factors for distressed migration
  • Some of the major trends as observed by the people suggested that educated youth migrate for better employment opportunity, while the poorest of the poor belonging to the tribal and schedule caste community mostly migrate to fight hunger and poverty. As many as 40 percent of the respondents held dire poverty responsible for their migration.
  • 55 percent of the respondents migrate to work as unskilled-labourers in brick kilns, tea gardens and for casual labour. 23 percent migrate to work as drivers, accountants, watchmen or to work in call centers or supervisors at construction sites. 22 percent of the respondents mentioned that women migrate to work as house-maids.

  • 30 percent of the participants mentioned that the living conditions at the place of migration could be as bad as staying on foot-path at times. 30 percent of them yet again stressed that lack of health facilities and lack of spending capacity from their side often have severe health consequences related to migration. AIDS has been highlighted as major concern for the migrants, who often lack knowledge about it and hence fall prey to this deadly disease.

  • 57 percent of the participants mentioned about physical, mental and financial exploitation as the major issue they face after migration. 17 percent specifically mentioned about over-time work with less payment, lack of proper food and forced labour as experienced by them.
  • 11 percent of the contributors mentioned about human trafficking and kidnapping as a major reason for concern related to migration
  • 10 percent of the migrants who participated in the campaign complaint about not getting their due wages
  • Major issues highlighted by the caller regarding government schemes include, lack of awareness, corruption, delay in wage-payment, not giving work in writing, involvement of middle-men, unstable government, improper monitoring and implementation. 10 percent of the participants, including government officials, social workers and community people, expressed that there are good government schemes in place to tackle migration. However a major chunk (28 percent) held faulty formulation and implementation of the existing schemes for migration induced by unemployment and poverty.

3.    Concrete steps and recommendations

 Government Schemes

  1. Proper implementation and monitoring of government schemes, including checks on corruption and interference by  middle-men
  2. Knowledge dissemination and awareness building around the existing schemes

Employment

  1. Creating employment for the educated youth
  2. Encouraging traditional skills and local entrepreneurship initiatives
  3. Building proper infrastructure for farming and agriculture
  4. Generating employment for unskilled-labourers in the existing and upcoming industries of the state

Infrastructure

  1. Better infrastructure and accessibility towards basic services like education, drinking water, roads, electricity etc
  2. Tackling problems related to mining and displacement

Other

  1. Tackling issues related to naxalism
  2. Special schemes/ services for towards the tribal and scheduled caste communities

 

3.    Media and partnerships

 

The campaign was covered in every detail by Panchayat Nama through its weekly Suno-Suno page, where the comments and experiences shared by the callers of JMR were featured along with their names and locations. Many of the reported experiences have been taken up by the field-level volunteers of JMR and are in the process of being followed up for effective service-delivery.

Significant offline activity was also conducted via partners, to hold FGDs, interviews of people from the field, and bring active partnership from organisations working on these issues. This helped collect more detailed information and also brought more intensive outreach.