[Editorial Analysis] We the Migrants

Mains Paper 2: International
Prelims level: Labour migration
Mains level: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora


• Labour migration is a central phenomenon in South Asia.

• Large number of citizens of various countries in the region (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Afghanistan) are continuously on the move, essentially in search of a living.

• While a good chunk of these job seekers move within their countries, some of them travel across borders.

Poverty and widening inequalities:

• The countries in South Asia have many commonalities in their migration profiles.

• Internal migration is a striking feature for all South Asian countries.

• In recent decades, intensified poverty and widening inequalities have been propelling large-scale urban-bound migration from rural areas.

• Though employment prospects and higher wages boost such migration, the most palpable driving force is the deepening employment-crisis in rural labour markets.

• The recent spike in rural distress throughout the region is destabilising the erstwhile rhythms of seasonality in rural-
urban migration.

• Landlessness, debt-bondages and farmer suicides have increased considerably.

• In some countries, socio-political tensions, climate change and resource-depletion have compounded the agrarian crisis.

Family background report (FBR) system:

• Familial/societal norms based on deep-rooted patriarchal values shape the patterns and trends of women’s migration.

• The governance frameworks of migration in South Asian countries are also influenced by gendered notions.

• The controls imposed on women’s migration range from banning migration for certain categories of employment to keeping job-specific age-restrictions for women.

• Even in countries like Sri Lanka, where women migrants outnumber their male counterparts in the international migration stream, the situation is not different.

• The recently introduced Family Background Report (FBR) system in Sri Lanka stipulates that the women obtain clearance from a local official.

• Due to restrictive practices, women’s migration (especially international migration) is considerably low in countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan.

• In other countries (Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka) such restrictions are found prompting employment-aspiring women to take illegal routes.

• Often, these undocumented migrants fall prey to pernicious practices of illegal recruiters, including trafficking and sexual abuse.

Failure of state mechanisms:

• GCC countries are the most prominent migrant destinations for most South Asian countries, with the exception of Maldives and Bhutan.

• In the Gulf countries, migrants from different parts of South Asia are found competing for jobs by mutually under-cutting wages and accepting deplorable working and living conditions.

• In many other destinations (for example, Jordan, Singapore), workers from different South Asian countries share work-conditions and worries.

• Inadequate support from the state to facilitate informed and rights-based migration is yet another feature of South Asian countries.

• Most of these countries do not even have reliable data on migrants.

• Inadequate social security systems, absence of effective protective legislations and regulatory systems are also common features.

• Shared-destiny of migrants in the region has become all the more prominent during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

• The failure of state mechanisms to provide a modicum of income support, social security benefits and healthcare to migrants was glaring.


• Large scale migrant-receiving countries in the region like India, Pakistan and the Maldives can ensure that immigrants from their South Asian neighbours are provided fair conditions at work.

• Ensuring dignity to intra-regional migrants also requires considerable efforts in terms of establishing peace within the region and finding amiable solutions on long-standing disputes around legality and citizenship of cross-border migrants within South Asia.

• These countries could collectively negotiate with major migrant-receivers like the GCC countries.

• For this, there is a need for reviving larger solidarities in the line of SAARC.

• Strengthening of protective frameworks, including labour laws, and signing/honouring of relevant international labour conventions and guidelines on migration are equally important.


Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the National Cyber Security Policy 2013, consider the following statements:

1. It provides for effective public and private partnership and collaborative engagements through technical and operational cooperation.

2. It aims at encouraging all organizations whether public or private to designate a person to serve as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

Mains Questions:

Q.1) Describe the different types of migration. What is reverse migration? What are the causes of migration? What are the concerns associated with migrants?

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