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Seasonal Migration and Moving Out of Poverty in Rural India: Insights from Statistical Analysis

Rural households in many countries have used temporary or seasonal migration as a strategy to cope with natural shocks such as drought, means of employment and income generation during lean season, and to move out of poverty. This paper studies the linkages between migration, employment in economic activities, asset accumulation, and poverty reduction among rural households in a droughtprone village of India over the last four decades. The Dokur Village of Mahbubnagar District in Telangana State of India experienced persistent drought over a decade. To cope with this situation, many households of the village temporarily migrated to the nearby and faraway cities. ICRISAT had conducted household surveys in Dokur under the Village Level Studies (VLS) and Village Dynamics Studies (VDS) program since 1975. The present study has used the VLS-VDS dataset (1975–2012) and reorganized sample households into 46 dynasty households. Based on their participation in migration, sample households were grouped into two categories: migrant and non-migrant households. Household income was computed by sources for all households for all the study years. Contribution of migratory income and remittances to the total household income was quantified. To identify the factors responsible for migration decision, probit analysis was carried out. For each year, sample households were grouped into poor and non-poor category using both lower (USD 1.25 ppp per day per person) and upper (USD 2.00 ppp per day per person) poverty line. The study revealed that seasonal out-migration helped many households to come out of poverty even though they had experienced a decade of drought. In-depth analysis of asset accumulation behaviour of the households over time revealed important insights regarding their coping mechanism and the process of moving out of poverty.
Vol. 13 No. 2, December 2016

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