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Rural-Urban Migration in India

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This report investigates the key reasons why the figure for of Indian rural-urban migrants of India has increased steadily. Firstly, a job deficiency is so serious that rural Indians move to cities in search of better careers. In addition, that health care system is substandard is one of contributing factors of rural-urban migration in India. Finally, rural education system cannot meet many citizens’ demands, so they have to migrate to urban areas with a view to further education. It is recommended that the Indian government should support family planning and non-farm employment, liaise with philanthropic organizations and found their own charitable organization.
According to International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences (2014), approximately 2 million people migrate from rural to urban areas worldwide every year and the total number of rural-urban migrants has been around 22 million people since 2001. Also, it is the most fundamental issue that makes a significant change in one country’s demographic structure. Rural-urban migration is such a chronic issue because it leads to a series of effects where this effect results in another effect, which has put negative pressures on community development. What is more is that the proportion of rural-urban migrants in developing and poor countries has witnessed a more remarkable growth than that in developed countries. India is one of the countries which have the highest rate of rural-urban migration. The statistics of rural-urban migrants in India showed upward trend from 18.8% to 19.5% of the total migrants between 1999-2000 and 2007-2008 (India Council of Social Science Research 2011). Indian rural-urban migration is constituted by reasons relating to employment, health care and education.
The increasing rate of rural-urban migration has raised concerns about Indian future development. This report will identify reasons why more and more rural Indians move to urban areas and offer the Indian government some solutions to slow this trend.


Table 1: Reasons for the rural-urban migration during 2007-2008
Adapted from National Sample Survey Office Ministry of Statistics 2010
4.1 Employment related reasons
Rural-urban migration for employment related purposes has been cited as one of the most important reasons, especially among male migrants. It can be seen from Table 1 that economic motivation migration accounts for 61% of the male migrants. This is the result of natural calamities and growing population pressure (Aier & Kithan 2011). According to India weather (n.d), rural Indian agriculture largely depends on good Monsoon rains, which puts it in trouble during drought periods. Therefore, droughts reduce such a huge number of job opportunities that rural citizens have to move to urban areas where they can find a wide range of good jobs. Furthermore, overpopulation is so serious a matter that there is not enough land for the young to cultivate. In European countries, property tends to be inherited by the eldest but in India all children have to share their father’s property together, which results in heavy shares in lands (Tulloch 2011). Hence, their lands are too small for them to cultivate effectively, so they move to urban areas with the hope for better occupation. As a consequence, the heavy dependence on good Monsoon rains and the large land division have severe impacts on rural citizens’ job opportunities. As shown above, all of these are involved in the high prevalence of rural-urban migration in India
4.2 Health related reasons
According to Deccan Herald (2010), Dr H.S.Ballad, Pro-Chacellor of Manipal University stated that lack of health care amenities in rural areas was the core reason for rural-urban migration. Medical care in rural areas is too substandard to guarantee citizens’ healthy life. Most rural Indians die of preventable and curable diseases such as diarrhoea, measles and typhoid because critical medicines are not accessible to 66% of rural Indians (Gram Vaain 2013).

Table 2: Health Status of India
Reproduced from MohmmedirfanMomin 2012
As shown in Table 2, in 2011 the death rate and the infant mortality rate in rural areas were 7.8% and 55% respectively while these figures in urban areas were 5.8% and 34% respectively. This is the result of the shortage of facilities and medical personnel. The research, released 2013 in Gram Vaani, comes to conclusions that the medical facilities that the Indian government has provided do not meet standards of quantities and qualities to serve rural citizens well. What is more is that this study also shows that rural health centres critically lack trained medical care man power. It goes on to state that 8% primary health centres are deficient in the number of doctors while many PHCs lack lab technicians and pharmacists. Thus, the slow speed of rural healthcare development is one of contributing factors of rural-urban migration in India.
4.3 Education related reasons
Education inequalities between rural and urban areas cause many rural citizens to move to cities in India. The percentage distribution of rural-urban migration for education given in Table 1 depicts that it accounted for 8% of the male migration. The disparity in education investment triggers differences in the literacy rate between rural and urban areas in India. Table 2 shows that the proportion of urban citizens who are literate was 84.98% in comparison with the proportion of literate rural citizens which was only 68.91%. This is the result of lack of teachers and facilities. According to YouthKiAwaaz (2011), there is a serious shortage of teachers in villages, so in some schools one teacher teaches many subjects no matter how much they know about the subject. Besides, only 27% of rural schools have access to electricity compared to 76% of schools in towns or cities and only around 50% of village schools provide enough toilets for girls (Info change 2008). Therefore, many rural citizens have moved to cities with a view to a better education system.
To conclude, the rural-urban migration has become so serious a problem with a huge number of rural Indians moving to cities year by year due to the Indian government’s failure to meet rural citizens’ demands of employment, health care and education. First, the high rate of unemployment due to the heavy dependence on good Monsoon rains and the land sharing customs is linked to the increasing prevalence of the rural-urban migration in India. Second, the shortcomings of the rural health care caused by the shortage of facilities and human resources results in the growing number of rural-urban migrants. Finally, the rural education system with the lack of teachers and facilities causes many rural citizens to move to cities. This report will now go on to offer the Indian government some recommendations to slow this trend.

6.1 The Indian government should liaise with other local authorities to promote family planning and non-farm employment in rural areas with a view to a decline in rural citizens’ heavy dependence on agriculture.
The family planning can help to reduce the number of children in every single house. The less children one family has the more lands each child owns. If children have larger lands to cultivate, they can be more prolific and make more monetary contributions to rural development.
Moving to cities does not mean definitely having a job. Hence, during drought periods, rather than migrate to urban areas with the hope for better jobs rural citizens can stay at their hometown to do off-farm jobs. This can not only reduce the rural-urban migration rate but help rural citizens depend less on agriculture and have a stable annual income. The research, released 19 August 2014 in Faculty of Economics, University of Kragujevac, comes to the conclusions that the increasing participation in rural off-farm development can lead to a growth in one country’s development. It goes on to state that between 1997 and 2007 that Vietnamese urbanization caused the loss of two-thirds of the agricultural lands lead to the advent of non-farm employment which took up from 60% to 80% of the total household incomes.
6.2 The Indian government should ask for charitable healthcare organizations’ help to raise citizens’ awareness by rural free healthcare campaigns which should take place every six months to guarantee rural citizens’ healthy life and provide medicines and knowledge about symptoms, prevention and treatment of common diseases. Besides, the government should hire a consultant to analyse the current budget, the need for healthcare equipment so that he can write a report to adjust the budget to invest in facilities or send it to international organizations to ask for monetary support.

6.3 The Indian government should form their own charitable organization to raise funds and attract volunteers because the government’s image is strong enough to draw people’s attention.
Thanks to closed relationships between the government and big businesses, the government can persuade businessmen to build schools and provide teaching and learning equipment such as projectors and computers. This is a mutually beneficial cooperation. If businesses invest in the government’s charitable projects, the government can promote their images through advertisements of organizations’ activities. As a result, citizens have positive attitudes to these businesses and buy their products, which can help to increase their profits. Zimmerman (2008) claims that Toms Shoes campaign that every single pair of shoes purchased is a new pair of shoes for children in remote countries has enhanced Toms’ reputation, so Toms has gain such a number of potential clients who help to increase its profits.
The government organization is likely to be so reliable that it can attract a huge volunteer resource including mainly retired teachers and university students who have an acquisition of knowledge of each subject.

Aier,A&Kithan,T 2011, “Rural-Urban Migration”, Department of Planning and Coordination
Government of Nagaland, viewed 20 November 2014,
Deccan Herald 2010, “Lack of healthcare, education in rural areas cause for migration”, 30 may, viewed 26 November 2014,

Faculty of Economics 2014, “A review on the link between nonfarm employment, land and rural livelihoods in developing countries and Vietnam”, viewed 27 November 2014,
Foradian 2014, “The Challenges of Education in Rural India”, viewed 26 November 2014,

Gram Vaain 2013, “Rural Healthcare: Towards a Healthy Rural India”, viewed 26 November 2014,
India Council Social Science Research 2011, “National Workshop on Internal Migration and Human Development in India”, Internal Migration in India Initiative, 6-7 December, viewed 20 November 2014,
India Weather n.d, “Monsoon and its impact on Indian Agriculture”, Indian Economy and Monsoon, viewed 20 November 2014,
Info Change 2008, ”Major gaps between rural and urban schools: UNESCO report”, Education, viewed 26 November 2014,
International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences (IJHSS) 2014, “ RURAL URBAN MIGRATION IN INDIA ”, viewed 26 November 2014,

Nation Sample Survey Office 2010, “Migration in India 2007-2008”, Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation Government of India, viewed 20 November 2014,
Tulloch,J 2011, “India's massive migration crisis”, Open Knowledge, viewed 20 November 2014,
YouthKiAwaaz 2011, “From Bharat To India: Understanding Rural-Urban Migration”, 30 January, viewed 20 November 2014,

Zimmerman,M 2009, “The Business of Giving: Toms Shoes”, Success, viewed 2 December 2014,

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