Migration is a major factor in economic development and non-power planning.It has acquired special significance in the context of commercialization of agriculture. It is important to consider migration and settlements as inter-related aspects of social and cultural life of people.According to M S A Rao, the movement/mobility from one place to another for a length of time is termed as migration.Because of the growing importance of the industry and diminishing importance of the agrarian sector of the economy, migration is important.Bulk of migration studies focus on the effects of migration but the sociologists look at the life processes of the migrant communities.Migration has become a common phenomena.People migrate with the belief that the urban centers provide better economic opportunities and facilities.It is an area of analysis that transcends discipline boundaries.
Studies of migration stemmed from two theoretical backgrounds.First being the cultural perspective that looks at migration through the intermingling of two or more distinct cultures.Second being the Marxist perspective,entailing that people migrate in search of improved opportunities,because of unequal wage allocation, and economic push and pull factors.An important element included in the study of migration is the “problem of ethnicity”; specially in the urban context.Migrants belonging to a particular region,religion,or caste tend to live together in separate neighborhoods in the cities and form ethnic groups on the basis of shared elements of culture and ideology.The migrant groups try to recreate their culture of place of origin at the place of destination which results in cultural pluralism.However, urban ethnicity is just a case of cultural pluralism.Ethnic groups get politicized and act as vote banks and pressure groups articulating their interests.This leads to conflicts within the ethnic groups and sometimes,between migrant ethnic groups and locals.Another consequence of large scale migration of unskilled and semi-skilled workers to cities is the development of SLUMS.They have no resource to pay for basic civic facilities.This leads to the formation of SLUMS.The problems in this context include: Most skilled and semi-skilled rural migrants to metropolitan cities seek jobs in the informal sector of the urban economy.Seconly,the job structure here is governed by region,religion and caste.Thirdly, there are two faces of economic and social aspects of migrant slum dwellers:-
1.Slum is a community.It holds possibilities of social and occupational mobility.
2.It is a den of vices and a home for urban poor with a distinct sub-culture of their own called the CULTURE OF POVERTY.
The phenomenon of SLUMS have come to be regarded as the major problem of urbanization.Slum has been studied from a multi-dimensional perspective.It is a burning issue studied by social workers,economists,political scientists,town planners,doctors etc. According to a report of the United Nations urban land policies, a slim is a ‘building,group of buildings or an area characterized by overcrowding,deterioration,insanitary conditions or absence of facilities or amenities,which because of these conditions or any of them,endanger the health,safety or moral of its inhabitants or the entire community.’ A SLUM refers to an area or a situation and does not constitute an isolated building.The main physical attributes of a slum area are: Substandard houses,high density and congestion,overcrowding insanitary conditions,absence of basic amenities like water supply,drainage,sewerage and clearance of garbage.
Broadly, three sets of situations can be identified with the growth of slums:
- A slum develops a result of squatting of poor migrants.A majority of migrants coming to the cities are unskilled workers.
- The set of conditions under which a slum develops is the deterioration of a group of buildings in the old part of the city.The area gets congested and overcrowded and in the absence of adequate municipal services slum conditions increase.
- As the city expands,it sucks in the colonies of the fishermen,herdsmen and the like, and the villages situated at the periphery.In this process, the agricultural land of the village is put to urban land use,whereas the inhabited area of the village is left intact with infrastructure facilities.
Inequality is very severe and harsh in big cities.The real rich also live in the cities,so do the real poor.This creates a polarization between the rich and the poor.On one side is the ostentatious display of wealth and possessions and on the other side is the poverty of a large bulk of people who are poor.These poor contribute to the swelling population of the city as they are in majority.Increased density of population is creating congestion in the cities.The city is unable to provide infrastructure for a number of people attracting it.No city today is able to provide people the basic amenities,sanitation,hygiene,health education.Areas are automatically becoming slums due to lack of such facilities.Hence,slumification is taking place in the cities due to abject poverty.Slum people are so self absorbed that they do not enter the mainstream culture.This results in what we call the “CULTURE OF POVERTY.”It is important to note that the concept of slums must be addressed as a social problem and not as a sociological problem.Slums are generally associated with the social problems such as crime, juvenile delinquency, prostitution, and gambling.Hence, they are considered as areas lacking in community organization and sometimes even promoting disorganization.
So we come down to the conclusion that the problems in the slums must be done away with:
- There is a minority section of people living in the slums who are willing to move out and reside or build houses if suitable places are available to them.These are the people who are in salaried songs.The municipalities and the employing agencies together should take a lead in this direction.
- Financial assistance in building impoverished huts to casual labourers (also called mutha labourers) would be an additional attraction to them.
- A carefully worked out programme of slum development needs to be planned and implemented.
- The growth of new slums and deterioration of the condition of existing slums need to be controlled through co-ordinated planning.One way out is to directly restrict and direct the inflow of immigrants into the city.
By following a civic culture, slum conditions can be avoided.Under conditions of urban living a minimum of infrastructure namely drainage, water, sewerage and toilets, clearance of garbage and other municipal services is necessary.Hence, it is a question of the poverty of civic culture that characterizes slum conditions rather than a culture of poverty.