Breaking the myth that internal migration is burdening the cities, a new study says migrants are in fact contributing largely to the gross domestic product (GDP) and proving to be a subsidy.
A Unesco report on social inclusion of internal migrants in India released on Thursday says migrants are looked upon as "outsiders" and considered a burden, but the fact is that internal migrants contribute cheap labour for manufacturing and service and, in doing so, contribute to national GDP.
"Far from being a drain and burden, migrants are in fact proving subsidy".
The report says migrants do the dirty, dangerous and degrading jobs which the locals do not want to do. It is "different from stealing jobs".
"By not accepting migrants or providing facilities to them, governments are merely increasing the risk and costs of migration and reducing its development potential," the report adds.
It also says the migrants, in practice, do not have "freedom and dignity that the constitution promises".
"Policy makers and urban planners mostly view migration as negative process and have therefore created an inconducive and unsupportive environment through neglect and inaction," it says.
Internal migration constitutes about one-third of India's urban population and this proportion has been increasing.
In Asia, Africa and Latin America, approximately 40% of urban growth results from internal migration.
In India, Surat, with 58%, has the highest percentage of migrant population. For both Mumbai and Delhi, this percentage is 43.