India has always been a country of migrants. The migration phenomena brutally came in the public imagination during the April 2020 nationwide lockdown when millions were forced to walk back to their villages from the cities they worked in. The 2011 census data, which is the latest nationwide dataset on migration, puts the number of internal migrants in India at 450 million, an increase of 45% from 2001. Between 2001 and 2011, while population grew by 18%, the number of migrants increased by 45%. While the reverse migration crisis of 2020 highlighted the magnitude of migration in the country, it also highlighted the need for government policies to shift the assumption that most Indians are static. It became important to address the needs of a population on the move. Globally, multiple studies document the role of migration in alleviating poverty and contributing to the host and home economies. In India, lack of reliable data and research meant limited understanding of these impacts. For the poorest households, the invisibilisation in the policies also meant barriers in accessing government subsidies and benefits. At IMN, we aim to mainstream migration in India's development ecosystem. We center migrants in our research and advocacy work and our project Chalo Network provides last mile financial, identity and health related services to low income migrant households in India. We advocate for the need of better policies, products and services for migration so that the most prominent phenomena, the one that is good for the economy as well as for the culture and diversity, can happen seamlessly. IMN wants to cut through the noise, better quantify and understand the nature and impact of migration in India, and help make migration a beneficial choice for migrants in India.
Migration, Inter State Migrant Policy Index, Internal Migration, Emigration