Monday, May 22, 2006

Mumbai, migration and population

One issue that’s getting continuous attention in Mumbai – apart from reservations – is its crumbling infrastructure and the need to build better and better systems to cope up with it. One of the main causes for all the infrastructure and population problems in Mumbai, and for that matter Delhi, is migration. It’s not only migration from smaller places in Maharashtra but since the states around Maharashtra are poor, lots of people find livelihood in Mumbai. Of course, most of them end-up staying in shanties alongside roads and under bridges, but looking at the population growth in Mumbai, one could safely conclude the conditions here in Mumbai, which is bad, is better than the states from which they migrate from. After reading the news clip yesterday that commented on how major roads can be widened, I was immediately reminded of another news clip about the population growth rate that I read some 3 days back. From "Population grows North"

At 0.96 per cent and 0.91 per cent Tamil Nadu and Kerala, for instance, have recorded population growth well below the national average of 1.6 per cent. In sharp contrast for the northern States such as Bihar, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh the rate was 2.2 per cent with Madhya Pradesh a shade better at 2.06 per cent.

This forebodes are far reaching problem. Even with the booming economy, the growth has been out of reach for a whole lot of people in the BIMARU states and hence hordes of them opt to migrate into richer cities. And the upper half of the country has few options – such as Delhi and Mumbai. With population growing in these states, the migration doesn’t seem to be stopping anywhere in the near future. Unless the conditions in these states improve, migration would continue. Net-net, I don’t think we’d be very better off with new flyovers and widened roads since there is always a good bunch of people who are waiting to get in.

The other front running cities in the country – Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad etc – are heavily insulated against this migration due to two reasons – distance from these states, and more importantly, language problems. With population saturating in these states and the limited problems of migration, I think the quality of the living would certainly get better and better in these cities – and we do see some glimpses right away. On the other hand, cities like Mumbai and Delhi have to accommodate the migrating population from neighboring states.

The only real long-term solution to Mumbai seems to be the overall, not regional, betterment of the country – including the states like Bihar, MP and UP. Before I close, I too realize how this post has become a 'economic analysis' kind of one. I certainly didn't plan to write it this way, but then, I guess that's what you end up doing if you really let your thoughts fly. Long live blogdom!


At Monday, May 22, 2006 9:03:00 PM, Blogger Jam said...

Hey Govar,

I personally feel you are looking at this population issue too one-sidedly. If the Govt takes up enough initiatives both to curb the growth of population, as well as to improve the infrastructure conditions in these states, maybe the migration will not happen.

Another reason for this migration is the lop-sided development of industries, jobs and hence, employment opportunities in these states.

This is not just a phenomenon in the BIMARU states, but almost the whole of India, but these states experience more of it, I guess.


At Wednesday, May 24, 2006 9:26:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Govar,
Nice blog...
Migration is a major issue....
Each day many people migrate to cities for their livelihood....
If better oppurtunities are opened in their place the migration should reduce...
Keep the blogs flowing...

At Thursday, May 25, 2006 1:37:00 PM, Blogger Vimal said...

I guess u have ended up providing more arguments for the likes of Mr.Bal thackeray, who beleive migration into Mumbai must be prevented. Though overall betterment is nice to talk about, I don't see it happening.
And as far as the southern cities go, migration does happen but fortunately of the educated, middle class. Hence it is not that easily seen except perhaps in the rise of property prices :)

At Saturday, May 27, 2006 3:07:00 PM, Blogger Govar said...

@Jam: Its not one-sided da. My point is that although population control mechanisms are in place, they dont seem to be working where it matters the most - Northern India, where population is teeming.

@Vimal: Rise of property prices is an inevitable fallout.. and yes, you are right, one of the reason why Southern India is much more 'cleaner' - in terms of paan spitting and wall-graffiti etc - is because the migration pulls in people who are educated.

At Tuesday, June 06, 2006 11:50:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ur absolutley right. But migration not only pulls educated dear many uneducated and poor people come in mumbai.
Look at over-all mumbai now very dirty and populated and back when Mumbai was beautiful and calm and when it gave marathi-matrubhoomi feeling.

At Monday, July 24, 2006 11:14:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mumbai and Delhi are just facing now what Kolkata faced since 1947 - migration of unskilled, illiterate and poor people from UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Bangladesh. Noboday in the Government cared then because it was the problem of backward east. People just criticized Kolkata and looked the other way. Hopefully now that Mumbai and Delhi have been swamped with same problem, the problem will get more attention that it deserves.

Thankfully for Kolkata, migration has reduced (as opportunities have declined) and population growth has been low in the city.

Unfortunately Kolkata is witnessing a boom again and migration has again started with people just coming in and pitching up shanties. Such migration negates any development done by the state by lowering literacy rates, per capita incomes, life expectancy and increasing school dropout rates, crime and shabbiness.

Economic migration in a free country is a right of every citizen. But such unchecked migration is putting a strain on states that are trying to do better by states which have no will to do any better.

Unless the Central Government takes care of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh by investing more in those two states, they will continue to pull down India's development.

The two states account for 25% of India's population and most of India's backwardness and failures. Yet at one time they were the cradles of Indian civilization. The downfall of these two great states can be reversed if there is will. And really there is no other choice for India.

At Tuesday, March 16, 2010 9:07:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

A large number of people are migrating from to Maharashtra it creates problems for the local people and their culture. This issue must be addressed. Violance that is happening in Mumbai is absolutely wrong but that does not mean their point is not valid. The same can happen in any other state.


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