Bihar’s highest migrant earnings come from Delhi

April 11th, 2008 - 12:43 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) Biharis working in the national capital account for the highest monetary remittances to their home state, amounting to millions of rupees, says a study. Trailing them closely in the list are Bihari migrants in Punjab, West Bengal, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, according to the London-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

Ajay Kumar, a social researcher who along with Priya Deshingkar of ODI conducted the study, said that money orders were the main instruments used to send money to rural Bihar.

It is not only poor labourers and small-time self-employed Biharis in New Delhi who send money to their families in Bihar. Everyone does.

Why does Delhi figure on top of the list?

The Indian capital and surrounding areas are home to nearly one million Biharis. Many work at construction sites or drive rickshaws or auto-rickshaws. Many are engaged in petty business. The educated are into white-collar employment.

According to ODI, the total value of money orders sent to Bihar from other parts of India was Rs.4.5 billion in 2005-06. But this represents a fraction of the total.

Money orders are slowly losing appeal as other remittance mechanisms are becoming popular.

“Until recently migrants used to send remittances through money orders, friends and relatives. But money orders are slow and inefficient (they can take up to 30 days in rural areas), and sending (money) through friends … is risky.

“Private agents who transfer money electronically through social contacts are becoming more popular,” the report said.

Banks are also becoming a safe route to send money, with more and more migrants opening bank accounts in places where they work.

Figures of migration from Bihar run into millions but no exact figures are available.

According to the 2001 census, the number of migrant labourers going out of the state in search of work was over 2.4 million. This does not include seasonal migrant labourers whose figure runs into millions.

An officially accepted fact in Bihar is that there is hardly a household without one or two members having migrated outside for jobs or education.

Both the census and National Sample Survey (NSS) reports suggest that Bihar has the highest rate of gross inter-state migration in India.

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