Within Mahashtra—the western Indian state in which Mumbai is the capital—more than 74 percent of the migration is from rural to urban areas. Sixty percent of all migration within the state is into Mumbai from four nearby districts, Ratnagiri, Satara, Pune and Raigad. However, according to Strategic Foresight Group Asian Horizons, this trend is changing rapidly.
“The last census in 2001 revealed that the migration from districts farther away from the city, i.e. the other parts of Maharashtra, such as Latur, Nanded, Solapur, Parbhani, Jalna, Osmanabad and Beed is on the increase.”
The reason for this shift, SFGAH posists, is increased hardship for farmers—agriculture is the main source of livelihood in the state of Maharashtra.
“The average annual profit from cultivation in the state is the lowest when compared to all other Indian states. Farmer suicide rates are amongst the highest in the country; 34,000 farmers took their own lives between 1997 and 2009…. an estimated 45,000 children in Maharashtra die every year due to malnutrition.”
SFGAH also identifies the following factors:
- below average rainfall, which resulted in repeated crop failure
- relative absence of irrigation facilities
- heavy load-shedding
- rising costs of cultivation
- lack of credit availability for small farmers
- ignorance of auxiliary occupations for raising income
- unemployment of farmers' children
- poor health care and education facilities in rural areas
- decreasing interest of younger generations in farming
Implications from SFGAH:
“As more locals jostle with citizens from other states in India for limited jobs and resources in Mumbai, there is a possibility that existing tensions in the city could be further exacerbated. Mumbai is already bearing the brunt of various political factions exploiting the ‘sons of soil‘ idea. The proponents of this idea are against migrants from other states, and demand reservation for Maharashtrians in government and private sector jobs. Linguistic extremism has increased in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra which is manifested in the current political rivalry and violence against and between various groups, and which is likely to further increase. Poverty and unemployment in rural Maharashtra has given birth to sectarianism and religious fundamentalism which is likely to increase and spill over into urban areas within the state”
Implications from IFTF:
The rural to urban migration is a phenomenon that exists in most of the world. The conflicts in Mumbai could happen in any number of places.
Strategic Foresight Group Asian Horizons March 2010, page 3