Chanakya IAS Academy Blog


Source: 2014 Mains question paper- 4

Note: this answer has been written for the purposes of explanation; Hence, it may not adhere to word limit. For examination purposes, phrases instead of full sentences could be used.


Rural to urban migration in India has been increasing. While the migration is aimed at better living conditions and opportunities, it ironically is creating many serious problems hampering the quality of life.

Analysis of the problem

The high rates of rural-to-urban migration has generated several problems both at the rural and urban levels

  • Rural level
    • Decrease in population engaging in agriculture and associated activities threatening the food security in the future.
    • Skewed sex ratios in rural areas- male members migrate to cities leaving the female members behind to cater to children and the elderly
    • Stress and anxiety for female members due to immense family responsibilities.
  • Urban issues
    • Over-crowding of cities; increased slum growth and poor living conditions
    • Stress and alienation for the migrants
    • Declining employment opportunities in cities; exploitation of labour
    • Increased crime in cities- due to alienation of migrants and poor living conditions
  • Socio-economic factors
    • Push factors
    • Lack of income generating opportunities at village level
    • Low agricultural incomes and indebtedness
    • Lack of physical and social infrastructure such as schools, hospitals etc
    • Lack of basic amenities and services such as electricity, roads etc
  • Pull factors
    • Greater opportunities for employment in cities
    • Better living prospects and conditions; better infrastructure
    • Better education prospects for children
  • Emotional and Attitudinal factors
    • Prosecution of certain communities/individuals on the basis of caste, gender etc.
    • Demonstration effect: Perception of a better life in cities as shown via media and various agencies
    • Dissatisfaction with traditional occupations and decline faced by the same. Eg artisans giving up traditional occupations

Examining the reasons behind some of the prevalent practices

  • Educated rural youth trying to shift to urban areas
    • Lack of job opportunities in the rural areas and better income prospects and living conditions in the cities
    • Youth from marginalised sections of society find it easier to take up new professions and move across barriers of caste and class
    • Practices of discrimination and untouchability in rural areas
  • Landless poor people are migrating to urban slums
    • Due to prospects of finding employment in the city as labourers etc
    • Due to falling remuneration and risks associated with agriculture
    • Sometimes minorities migrate to escape prosecution as well
  • Even some farmers are selling off their land and trying to settle in urban areas taking up petty jobs
    • Due to falling remuneration and risks, uncertainties associated with agriculture
    • Emotional and attitudinal factors associated with city life- due to image of city as represented by media
    • Better facilities for healthcare and education of children

Feasible steps to control this serious problem

  • Providing for better agricultural remuneration by addressing risks associated with agricultural, provision of integrated markets and greater food processing. The National Agricultural Market via e-platform is a good step forward.
  • Incentivising industrial development especially small-scale industries to set shop in rural areas. This would protect and incentivise traditional arts and crafts as well provide employment at the local level.
  • Provision of basic amenities such as electricity, good roads, transport systems etc in rural areas eg schemes such as Shayama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban Mission is a step in the right direction
  • Addressing the wrongful prevalent perceptions associated with city life. Promoting rural India as a calm and clean environment to live in. Media campaigns could be targeted towards same.
  • Addressing problems of caste and gender based discrimination and prosecution of minorities via community sensitisation and effective law enforcement
  • Increasing the capacities of the cities to cater to increased population. The smart city mission and AMRUT mission are positive initiatives which if implemented well, would substantially improve the carrying capacities of cities.
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