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Explain the causes of out-migration of population and low level of urbanization in Bihar with examples.


Explain the causes of out-migration of population and low level of urbanization in Bihar with examples. ( 63rd BPSC, 2019) 


Low economic opportunities are the main push factor for the out-migration in Bihar. It is estimated that at least one member from each family is mainly men migrants.

According to estimates, the proportion of migrants to the total workforce increased from 15% in 1988 to 25% in 2009. About 43% of migrant workers migrants for three to eight months, there is seasonal migration.

Following are the major causes of population migration in Bihar:

  • economic stagnation
  • widespread poverty
  • low level of urbanization
  • semi-feudal existence
  • Militant Peasant Movement

Economic Stagnation:

  • Agriculture contributes only 20% to the state's GDP but accommodates more than 62% of the state's population and the development of agriculture is negligible due to the devastating effects of floods and droughts.
  • 50% of farmers of Bihar do not have land. Due to the abundance of labor in the agricultural sector and negligible development of agriculture, people are migrating from the villages on a large scale.
  • A large part of the land in Bihar is not suitable for large industries because of the effect of floods. Even if the land is useful for industries, no one wants to invest there because there is not a favorable environment as investors find in other states.
  • For this reason, the manufacturing sector contributes only 20% of the state's GDP and employs 16.6% of the total workforce.

Widespread Poverty:

  • Bihar's per capita income (INR 41000 in 2019) is less than one-third of India's per capita income (135000 in 2019).
  • In Bihar, due to a lack of diversification of the economy, productivity is low.
  • As of now, about 54% of the population of Bihar is living below the poverty level whereas poverty at the national level is around 32%.
  • Poverty is a push factor for out-migration.

Low Level of Urbanization:

  • As per 2011 census, the level of  urbanization is just around 11.3% in Bihar as compared to 31.2% in India. 
  • The urbanization pattern Bihar is not uniform.
  •  For example, Patna (43.1%) and Munger (27.8%) are highly urbanized districts while banks (3.5%) are sparsely urbanized.

Semi-feudal existence:

  • Political empowerment without economic development is leading to the migration of the wealthy class.

Militant Peasant Movement:

  • Due to the extremist peasant movement in southern Bihar from 1980 to 1995, people migrated in large numbers from this area.

Following are the reasons for the low level of urbanization in Bihar:

Primacy (large population in an area):

  • Primacy is a feature in the urban development of Bihar. for example,
  • Patna is the largest populated city of Bihar.
  • Gaya is the second largest city of Bihar.
  • As per the 2011 census, Gaya has about one-fifth of the population of Patna.

Fewer economic opportunities in urban centers:

  • Bihar's urban center offers fewer economic opportunities than other states, which is why rural-urban migration is not like other states like Tamil Nadu. In Bihar, urban development is generally driven by fertility.

No systematic plan for urbanization in the state:

  • Only Patna city has a systematic plan for urbanization, other cities or states do not have a systematic plan for urbanization.

Less urban infrastructure and urban transport:

  • The infrastructure is very less as compared to other states.
  • Urban public transport in Bihar is almost nil. Bihar's urban road transport network covers 43 percent of the total as against the national average of 73 percent.
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