variety of skills, innovation and knowledge to their areas of origin. These are the social remittances. In the long run, migration could play a positive role. With the right type of policy, it could benefit both the areas of origin and the areas that receive migrants. The UNESCO publication points out that migration cannot be stopped. It is a historical process that shapes human civilisation, culture and development. Article 19 of the Indian Constitution grants citizens the fundamental right to move.
There are about 15 million seasonal and temporary migrants, according to the National Sample Survey (NSS). They are not able to exercise their political and economic rights because rights and entitlements are place bound. Lacking formal residential and identity proofs, many short-duration migrants are barred from exercising their voting rights. They are also excluded from the PDS and other government programmes. The UNESCO report highlights the urgent need to ensure that internal migrants are issued a universally recognised and portable proof of identity, which can be used to claim socio-economic entitlements anywhere in the country. Our political and economic rights and entitlements must also be made portable.
Gender is an important dimension of migration. Although most women migrate along with their family members, many also move independently. The statistical database on these independent migrations is extremely poor. The census and the NSS usually cite marriage as a reason for these migrations. But a large number of such women do work before and after migration. Migrant women and adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and trafficking. Many of them come from poor, illiterate and tribal backgrounds. There is an urgent need to ensure safe migration for women workers particularly those joining the domestic workforce.
Seasonal migrants often take their children along when they move to other places for work. This affects regular and continued schooling. These children could be kept in the source region, in seasonal hostels. Another option is to set up work-site schools in the places they migrate to.
As the Indian economy grows, urbanisation is inevitable. Shelter is an important issue for the migrant and homeless population