Rural urban connectedness and commuting for work

S. Chandrasekhar, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR)
Ajay Sharma, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR)

In 2009-10, 8.05 million workers not engaged in agriculture commuted from rural to urban areas for work while 4.37 million workers not engaged in agriculture commuted from urban to rural India for work. These aggregates have typically slipped under the radar since these people are not migrants. A disaggregation of the number of commuter workers by residence reveals that size of the commuter work force is higher wherever rural-urban connectedness is higher. The states adjoining Delhi have a large number of rural residents reporting working in urban areas. The four southern states account for nearly 25 percent of such workers while Maharashtra and Gujarat account 11 percent of workers living in rural but working in urban areas. These states have higher level of urban population. Of the 5,161 towns in India, the four southern states along with Maharashtra and Gujarat accounted for 2091 towns while these states accounted for 161 out of 384 urban agglomerations. Hence it is not surprising that along with the states adjoining Delhi and above mentioned states account for bulk of rural-urban and urban-rural commuters. In this decade, three factors could lead to a steady stream of commuter workers. The first factor is an increase in the number of towns. Second, an expansion in construction, manufacturing and the wholesale and retail trade sectors, will boost the phenomenon. The third factor is greater transport linkages between rural and urban India. The dynamics between the rural and urban areas will be different across the towns and villages of India. Hence it will be incorrect to focus only focus on urban engines of growth. The paper proposes to econometrically model rural connectedness and its implication for movement of workers by merging data from nationally representative survey on employment and unemployment and GIS data from India e-geopolis project <>.

Presented in Poster Session 2