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Why pregnant women migrate? Pilot survey cites availability of agricultural jobs among the reasons

A pilot project to track the migration of children (0-18 years), pregnant and lactating women is under way in the state to streamline a process to ensure that no child or mother falls of the net of nutrition.

Written by Parthasarathi Biswas | Pune |
Updated: January 19, 2022 10:40:22 am
A pilot project to track the migration of children (0-18 years), pregnant and lactating women is under way in the state to streamline a process to ensure that no child or mother falls of the net of nutrition. (Photo: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

THE FIRST ever survey on migration in Maharashtra has thrown some interesting facts on various aspects of this complex process. While a greater percentage of pregnant women do travel to their mother’s home, large variability exists between districts. Chandrapur has seen a higher percentage of pregnant women for the above reason, while districts like Nandurbar, Jalna and Amravati see much higher migration of pregnant women for work either in the same district or out.

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A pilot project to track the migration of children (0-18 years), pregnant and lactating women is under way in the state to streamline a process to ensure that no child or mother falls of the net of nutrition. The project is spearheaded by the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) which is responsible for fighting malnutrition in children and expecting women. The pilot project is being run in Chandrapur, Palghar, Amravati, Nandurbar, Jalna and Sironcha block of Gadchiroli districts. A software-based system is in place where source and destination of migrants are keyed in to help in portability of services.

A total of 36,456 entries which includes 3,930 pregnant and lactating mothers and children have been identified in the pilot phase. Staff at the source had keyed in the details which were accessed by the destination staff. Multilevel monitoring has been put in to help in dovetailing the benefits to help malnutrition in children. Data like age, immunization details of pregnant women and children are covered under the pilot scheme.

Preliminary data shows that 42.8% of the pregnant and 32% of lactating women have travelled to their mother’s home. However, large anomaly exists in each of the six places which are under the pilot scheme. A single reason can’t be ascertained for this migration.

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Nandurbar, the district which reports the highest number of migrations, has reported the lowest percentage of women traveling to their mother’s home. Of the 361 pregnant and 322 lactating women who were captured in the source data as potential migrants in the district, only 159 and 172 had actually migrated. Only 1.3% of them had gone to their mother’s home while majority of those who had migrated had gone for work which ranges from sugarcane harvesting, agricultural labour etc. Chandrapur, on the other hand, had reported 42.4 per cent of the pregnant and lactating women travelling to their mother’s home. Similarly, 8.6% of pregnant and lactating women in Amravati, 0.6% of women in Palghar and 1.8% women in Jalna have migrated to their mother’s home. In Sirroncha taluka of Gadchiroli, 31.1% of women have migrated to their mother’s home.

This pattern of migration of pregnant and lactating women other than being an indicator of economic status is also an indication on how easily work is available. Dr Mittali Sethi, CEO Zilla Parishad, Chandrapur and member of the state migration committee, said in Chandrapur that jobs such as agricultural labour is easily available there than in Nandurbar.

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