Circular Migration

Circular Migration

This article covers “Daily Current Affairs” and the topic details “Circular Migration”. This topic has relevance in the “Social Issues” section of the UPSC CSE exam.

For Prelims:
What is Circular Migration?

For Mains:

GS1: Human Geography
GS3:  Economy


Why in the news?

The concept of circular migration is gaining prominence in discussions on human mobility, particularly in the context of India’s internal migration patterns. 


Definition of Circular Migration:

  • Circular migration is a form of human mobility characterised by repeated, temporary movements of individuals or groups between their origin and a destination, often driven by economic opportunities or seasonal employment. 
  • It involves multiple entries into the destination area, temporary residence, and the freedom of movement between the origin and destination regions.


Impacts of Circular Migration:

  • Economic Impact:
    • Positive Economic Contribution: Circular migration can positively impact the economies of the origin and destination regions. Migrants often send remittances back to their home communities, which can boost local economies and improve living standards for their families.
    • Labour Market Flexibility: In destination areas, circular migrants can help fill low-skilled, labour-intensive job vacancies, contributing to economic growth and labour gaps.
    • Cyclical Economic Patterns: The cyclical nature of circular migration aligns with the ebb and flow of demand for labour, making it a flexible workforce solution.
  • Social Impact:
    • Community Development: Remittances from circular migrants can improve infrastructure and access to education and healthcare in their home communities.
    • Cultural Exchange: Circular migration fosters cultural exchange and diversity as individuals from diverse backgrounds interact in origin and destination areas.
    • Challenges for Families: Separation from family members due to circular migration can have social and emotional implications, including challenges in maintaining family ties.
  • Labour Rights and Welfare:
    • Exploitation and Precarity: Circular migrants are sometimes vulnerable to exploitation and precarious working conditions, particularly in host regions where they may lack legal protections.
    • Access to Services: Access to social services and healthcare for circular migrants can be limited, leading to health disparities.


Circular Migration Within India:

  • In India, internal circular migration involves the movement of people within the country, primarily from rural areas to urban centres, driven by employment opportunities. This phenomenon has specific implications:
  • Economic Implications in India:
    • Increased Employment: Circular migration has led to a significant increase in employment opportunities, especially in the construction, manufacturing, and services sectors.
    • Wage Disparities: Circular migrants earn higher wages in urban areas than their rural counterparts, improving household welfare through remittances.
  • Challenges Faced by Circular Migrants in India:
    • Precarious Work: Jobs taken by circular migrants tend to be seasonal and irregular, causing economic insecurity.
    • Exploitation: Language barriers and reliance on middlemen can lead to exploitation and unsafe working conditions.
    • Urban Infrastructure Strain: Crowded circular migrants into urban areas can strain infrastructure and services.



Way Ahead:

  • Policy Reforms: Implement and enforce labour laws and protections to prevent exploitation and ensure fair treatment of circular migrants.
  • Skill Development: Invest in skill development programs to enhance the employability of circular migrants and reduce their vulnerability in the labour market.
  • Infrastructure Development: Improve urban infrastructure to accommodate the growing population of circular migrants.
  • Family Support: Develop support systems for families affected by circular migration, such as counselling and social services.
  • Data Collection and Research: Conduct research better to understand the patterns and dynamics of circular migration, enabling evidence-based policy decisions.
  • Cross-State Collaboration: Encourage collaboration between origin and destination states to ensure the welfare and rights of circular migrants are protected.
  • Public Awareness: Raise awareness among both host communities and circular migrants about their respective rights, responsibilities, and contributions.


Effective management of circular migration can harness its economic potential while addressing the social and welfare concerns associated with this dynamic form of human mobility.


Sources: Circular migration: looking at both sides of the debate  – The Hindu 

Download Yojna daily current affairs eng med 5th Oct 2023


Q1. Which of the statements given below correctly explains Circular Migration?

(a) Circular migration is a term used to describe the circular movement of migratory birds from one location to another. 

(b) It is a form of permanent relocation where individuals or groups move once from their origin to a destination and stay there indefinitely.

(c) It refers to the migration of individuals in a circular shape, forming a circular pattern of movement across different countries or regions.

(d) Circular migration involves repeated, temporary moves between origin and destination, often for economic or seasonal reasons.

Answer: (d) 


Q2. Define circular migration and discuss its significance in the context of India’s internal migration patterns.


Q3. Discuss the policy reforms and measures required to address the issues associated with circular migration in India and ensure the welfare of circular migrants.

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