1.2 Agriculture labour migration is also one type

1.2 MigrationMigrationrefers to the movement of people from one geographical location to another,either on a temporary or permanent basis (Ekong 2003).Migration is a both oldand new human practice. There is no place or time, in which migration does notoccur.

However, the scale, type and implications of migration vary greatlybetween individuals and societies. Migration can be of any nature, i.e., eitherrural-to-rural, rural-to-urban, urban-to-rural and urban-to urban migration, itis a common observation all over the world that rural-urban migration is adominant pattern of internal migration. Migration is a selective processaffecting individuals or families with certain economic, social, educationaland demographic characteristics. People migrate in response to prevailingconditions and the reasons for it differ from one individual to another. Thereare two main types of migration: first, internal migration, i.e.

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migrationwithin one country, and secondly international migration, which means themovement from one country to another. Agriculture labour migration is also onetype of labour migration from one place to another place for their livelihood.Agricultural labourers, especially in smaller villages away from towns andcities, are generally unskilled workers carrying on agricultural operation inthe centuries old traditional ways. It has been acontinuous phenomenon in countries like India where over population exists andpeople find it difficult to find a permanent job for their living.

It, for along time, has been understood as temporary or permanent exchange or transferof labour between regions or countries in the recent times. Growth of population,development of civilization, emergence of towns and cities, industrial growthand development of communication have widened the gap between rural and urbanareas. Moreover, lack of job opportunities, reduction of cultivable area, lackof development of the agricultural sector, lack of transport, governmentintervention, high debt and education facilities push/pull rural people tourban areas. In this way, movement and settlement have been the inherent natureof human beings since the dawn of civilization and it has taken place in alarge scale in the modern society. Migration is one of the true components ofpopulation change in size as well as quality.

Movement of individuals impliesan element of disassociation from the usual and familiar world. Moreover, itleads to an involvement with a new environment, a new context of physical spaceand social relationships. Thus, migrants may be known to the new environment ortotally unfamiliar with the place. InIndia, migration of agricultural labourers from villages to towns is not a newphenomenon, but its magnitude in the past one decade due to liberalization hasattracted the attention of policymakers and theyare trying to find ways to arrest this migration.

Hence, studying the impact ofliberalization at the micro level on agricultural labourers, on theiremployment opportunities, working and living conditions and trends, is of vitalimportance. However, the magnitude of rural labour circulation is of recentorigin and is a direct consequence of structural changes, which have takenplace both in the origin and destination areas of migration. However, Rural tourban migration is an inevitable component of the development process, and doesnot necessarily have to result in adverse impacts. With the right mix ofpolicies, this process can occur at a socially acceptable level. As an economy matures, there is a natural movement of excessworkers from low productivity agriculture to higher productivity manufacturingand services, where both productivity and therefore wages are relativelyhigher. This rural urban shift and away from agriculture steadily gathers paceas the economy develops. Elaborating this phenomenon in greater details iscrucial, as it is also supplemented by a wide variety of factors.

There are twocritical factors that affect the movement of labour away from the agriculturesector. The first is the “Pull” factor. With accelerated economic growth, jobopportunities in non-agricultural sector are created much faster and this leadsto a pull on labour away from agriculture to higher productive and higherpaying manufacturing or services sector. On the other hand, the supply oflabour from agriculture to other sectors is also affected by wages in the ruralareas. Social welfare programs such as MGNREGA (the National Rural EmploymentGuarantee Act), has in effect been boosting rural incomes and incentives,thereby reducing the ‘Push” factor of movement away from agriculture. As ruralwages rise, the urban labour market gets distorted and the ‘Push’ factor getsweakened.

 1.3 ChildrenThe United Nations Convention on the Rightsof the Child defines child as “a human beingbelow the age of 18 years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attainedearlier” A comprehensive approach to child well-being will take intoaccount four different non-monetary components, namely: health, education,economic activity (child work), and psycho-social effects. These componentsreflect the principles defining the obligations towards each and every childwithout discrimination of any kind (including migrant status), as outlined inthe Convention of the Rights of the Child, a nearly universally ratifiedinternational convention. These principles include, among others, the right tothe highest attainable standards of health and education, and the right to befree from discrimination, exploitation, and abuse. Migration uproots a family’s stability and, as a result ofseparation, reduced care and resources may negatively impact the social andpsychological development of left-behind children. Two different broad groups of children affected by migration can beidentified as migrant children and children left behind at the home town.

Thefirst group includes migrant children who directly experience mobilitypatterns, together with their parents. Migrating labourers accompany theirchildren especially when no one is there to look after them. The second groupincludes children who do not move but are left behind by one or both parentswho have migrated. These children are taken care either by their own mother’sor by relatives in case both the parents migrate.

However, migrant childrenmove away from their original households and thus experience mobility directly,whereas children left behind continue to stay at their home town until theparent returns. Children who migrate engage in less paid and unpaid work,Compared to children who did not migrate, child migrants have worse educationaloutcomes. Children may drop out of school and there is very little possibilitythat the schools may admit them when they get back. The negative relationshipbetween child migration and education is robust to a variety of specificationsand controls. If parents do not know about this disadvantage, or at least donot consider it when deciding whether or not to take their children when theymigrate, then it constitutes a negative externality of migration. Suchmigration may lead students to forget what they have learned in school, or preventthem from developing relationships with teachers and classmates that help themprogress through school. It may simply break the habit of going to school.

There is a clear divergence in the educational trends of non-migrating andmigrating children, with the children who migrate getting less education foreach year of age than the group that does not migrate. Children brought toworksites face the risk of injury, illness, and exploitation, while missing outon educational opportunities that might have helped them escape the cycle ofpoverty. On one hand migration shows the positive effect of increasedaccess to health centers at the destination place, on the other hand, however,the negative side of migration is the transmission of diseases. Theworking conditions at the destination place can cause harm to both the migrantsand their children. Their habits may have to change when moving to a new placeand their regular activities may have to be altered according to therequirements and thus to greater risk of poor health outcomes of children, italso causes serious effect on the mental health of the children regarding theprocess of migration, which causes stress due to the loss of family, friends,and habitual surroundings. Questions about their identity and sense ofbelonging, the fear of deportation, and discrimination cause problems that aretaken into adulthood.