Unlike the impression created by political parties of Mumbai being a city under siege from migrants from other states, the urban agglomeration of Mumbai, including Thane, has seen a drop in the share of migrants coming from outside Maharashtra.
Recently released 2011 Census data shows that the three districts of Mumbai City, Mumbai Suburban and Thane, which have a total population of 2.35 crore, have 1.01 crore people who are migrants. They constitute 43.02 per cent of the population. As per the 2001 Census, the share of the 0.71 crore migrants in the 2.01 crore population of these three districts stood at only 35.51 per cent.
Rising intrastate migration a worrying sign
The socio-economic development of other states, especially in Southern India, is taking the pressure off interstate migrants away from cities like Mumbai. The increase in intrastate migration towards Mumbai, however, is a worrying sign and is reflective of growing regional disparity within Maharashtra with rural distress and lack of employment pushing Maharashtrians towards Mumbai.
While the share of migrants may be growing, the growth in the share of migrants coming from outside Maharashtra has been slowing down. In 2011, 46.44 lakh people were enumerated as migrants from outside the state in the Census. This was a 13.22 per cent increase over 2001 when 41.01 lakh people were deemed to be migrants from outside Maharashtra.
The share of interstate migration, however, has increased at a far rapid rate with the number of those having migrated from other districts of Maharasthra growing by 52.78 per cent from 28.16 lakh in 2001 to 43.02 lakh in 2011.
Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat are the two states which send the maximum migrants to Mumbai. Of the 46.44 lakh m igrants from outside Maharashtra, UP accounts for 18.89 lakh of these migrants while Gujarat accounts for 6.35 lakhs.
Unlike in the past when Mumbai would see a large number of migrants coming from southern states the number of migrants from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh has been declining.
“There is a theory of intervening opportunities which states that the amount of migration is directly proportional to the number of opportunities at the place of destination. Over the years a number of other destinations including Delhi and South India have emerged which have attracted migrants away from Mumbai,” said Dr Abdul Shaban, chairperson of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences Centre for Public Policy, Habitat and Human Development.
Shaban also said that rural distress in Maharashtra may also be the reason for driving more people from interiors of Maharashtra to Mumbai in search of jobs.