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|Title:||IMPACT OF OUT-MIGRATION OF HUSBANDS ON LEFT BEHIND WIVES- A STUDY OF RURAL GARHWAL|
|Authors:||Negi, Nalin Singh|
|Publisher:||Dept. of Humanities And Social Sciences iit Roorkee|
|Abstract:||Migration as a phenomenon is not a new event, rather, it has been seen and felt since the beginning because humans have always moved from one place to another in search of a better or improved livelihood which is indeed one of the key features of the history of human evolution. Like elsewhere, in India too, there has been a significant rise in rural out-migration to urban areas during the last several decades because of the presence of better economic conditions in urban areas. Uttarakhand, a state in India, is primarily characterised by its sparse population, and engagement of the people in predominantly primary economic activities, coupled with inadequate infrastructure and negligible presence of secondary and tertiary sectors especially in the hilly part of the state. Bereft of any employment opportunities and credible source of earning, the hill population has been migrating to plains for a long time. An overwhelming majority of the migrants work in the informal sector with low paid jobs. Outmigration, thus, is seen by most households primarily as a way for survival than an accumulation strategy. However, the heavy out-migration of the male work force from Garhwal has had serious implications for local development. While this permanent kind of migration has resulted in the remittances inflows, not regular and substantial by any standard, it has also led to the collapse of agricultural and many other economic activities. Besides, it has given rise to many socio-economic and psychological problems that are generally associated with the leftbehind elderly people, wives and children. The broad objective of the study is to examine the socio-economic, physical and psychological welfare aspects of the wives of out-migrants by taking wives of non-migrants, as the reference group. Besides examining the socio-economic characteristics of households, the study attempts to find out the impact of out-migration on the farm/ non-activities, general and reproductive health status, work and decision making process in such households. It also endeavours to capture the perception of the wives of out-migrants about the migration of their husbands. The primary data for this study was collected in 2011 from nine villages from three development blocks, enumerated in 2001 Census, located in Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand. Considering that the impact of migration is strongly felt only after certain period of time by the families and communities, a minimum period of 3 years of out-migration was ii considered to determine the status of the household as migrant/non-migrant. The total sample size comprised of 518 households (252 households with non-migrant husbands and 266 households with out-migrant husbands). While analysing the data on socio-economic characteristics of the sample population, it was found that out-migration households have higher household savings, income and monthly per capita expenditure (MPCE) as compared to the reference group. Out-migrants are also younger, and better educated than their counterparts. However, though educated, most of the outmigrants did not possess any professional skills to get engaged in skilled jobs at destinations. The migrants in the cities are basically engaged in occupational categories of transport, production and related works and other services. They are mostly engaged in low-skilled, generally low paid jobs. Employment in the Indian Armed Forces is reported to be a great attraction among the youths of Garhwal. The outflow of people is mostly to the state of Delhi. The left-behind wives are relatively younger, and have lower duration of marriage, less age gap with their spouses, higher age at marriage, more educated, and have fewer numbers of living children than the wives of non-migrants. Most of the left-behind wives are found to be living in non-nuclear households as compared to the reference group. This, however, may be attributed to relatively younger age group of the wives of out-migrants when there is a higher probability of parents-in law living with the families. Also, it may be migration strategy of the husbands that their wives and children continue to stay with their parents, firstly to look after their aged parents in their absences and secondly their wives and children to get support from the other household members to cope up the out-migrants’ absence. The study has not found any statistically significant impact of male out-migration on the cereal production and investment in farming. Though, the operating expenditure in agriculture is found to be higher among the out-migrant households due to the fact that they have to hire labour to compensate for the loss of labour due to out-migration of the male members from the households. No statistically significant impact of husbands’ out-migration on the general and reproductive health has been found among the wives of out-migrants as compared to the reference group. It was assumed that the left-behind wives would enjoy better health condition as compared to the wives of non-migrants. However, the former has more awareness of the RTI/STDs than the latter. With regard to the stress level of the wives, the left-behind wives are found to be far more stress prone than the reference group. These wives have reported the iii feelings of loneliness and depression due to the long absence of their husbands. No statistically significant impact of husbands’ out-migration could be found on the left behind wives regarding participation in wage labour market. Also, no statistically significant impact of husbands’ out-migration could be seen on the number of working hours as compared to the reference group. The study, however, did not find any evidence of the statistically significant impact of husbands’ out-migration on the decision making power of the left behind wives vis-avis agriculture. Though the women are actively involved in agricultural activities, they are not necessarily involved in decision making. The households lease in or lease out the land to prevent the land from becoming barren. It has been found that ‘lease in’ land is particularly prevalent among the households with non-migrant husbands, while ‘lease out’ land is common among the households with out-migrant husbands. However, higher proportion of left-behind wives is found to own bank/post office accounts than the reference group, indicating the compulsion to operate bank/post accounts in the absence of their husbands. It also suggests more autonomy whether out of choice or compulsion. Also, it can be concluded that the wives of out-migrants have higher mobility than the wives of non-migrants. Comparing the costs and benefits associated with migration, the respondents have emphasized larger benefits when it comes to current survival strategy and future financial security of the family. It appears that they have accepted the reality and are content to be left behind. Even the reference group favoured migration as it is perceived to be bringing greater financial security. The appreciation of migration as an attractive economic strategy is further corroborated by well expressed desire of almost all the respondents to encourage their children to migrate either by seeking employment outside the place of origin or through marriage. However, they also insist that their sons, if out-migrate, should not leave their wives behind implying their well concealed grief about the long conjugal separation. Although in the academic and policy making domains, the measures to de-incentivise migration of work force have gained far more prominence, there is a need to understand and recognise the centrality of out-migration, as a survival and growth strategy for the local inhabitants of Garhwal. Given that the formation of Self Help Group (SHG) interventions in different parts of India have played a critical role in transforming lives of women in the rural areas and is considered as one of the most significant tools in participatory approach for the economic empowerment of women and improving various aspects of the social structure, the experiment is worth undertaking in this part of India as well. Further, the existing public outreach services iv and ‘information education and communication’ (IEC) activities need to be strengthened by reworking on the village-level health workers and primary health centres. The region, due to its agro-climatic conditions, does have great potential for generating high income per unit of land by diversifying agriculture into horticulture, production of cash crops like soyabean and high value off-season vegetables and floriculture. This, however, requires resurrection of extension services and effective promotion along with the required infrastructure facilities in the form of soil and water conservation measures, irrigation facilities and credit and marketing support.|
|Appears in Collections:||DOCTORAL THESES (HSS)|
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