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19 Migration in Bengal delta driven by livelihood issues, social factors

Wed 20 Mar, 2019

  • According to the 2011 national census, West Bengal is the fourth-most-populous state in India with a population of 91,347,736 (7.55% of India’s population).
  • As of 2011, West Bengal had a population density of 1,029 inhabitants per square km making it the second-most densely populated state in India, after Bihar

 What pulls migrants towards Bengal?

  • Economic reasons are the precipitating factor for migration in the Indian Bengal Delta that comprises the Sunderbans reveals an international study.
  • The study is titled Deltas Vulnerability and Climate Change: Migration and Adaptation (DECMA).
  • It points out that there is huge gender disparity when it comes to those migrating from the region.
  • The study reveals that 64% people migrate because of economic reasons, unsustainable agriculture, lack of economic opportunities and debt;
  • 28 % of the migration from the region is for social reasons and about 7% for environmental reasons like cyclones and flooding.

 Highlights of the study

  • The DECMA report also finds that most migrants both in case of men and women are young, in the age group of 20-30 years.
  • When it comes to migration in the Indian Bengal Delta, the study finds a huge gender disparity, with men outnumbering women by almost five times.
  • It shows that of the people migrating 83% are men and only 17 % are women.
  • While most of the men migrate due to economic reasons, women do so, driven by mostly social factors.
  • It shows that 57% of migration is seasonal, where people move once or twice a year;
  • 19% is circular where those migrating move thrice a year irrespective of reasons and 24% permanent where people intend to stay for at least six months in the place they are migrating to.