Illegal Migration into Assam: Magnitude, Causes, and Economic Consequences
Hiranya K. Nath
Sam Houston State University - College of Business Administration - Department of Economics and International Business
Suresh Kr. Nath
Cotton College, Guwahati
January 28, 2011
This paper examines various aspects of illegal migration into Assam from Bangladesh. We first attempt to define an illegal immigrant in Assam by discussing the parameters set by history and polity of the state over a long period of time. Various estimates put the number of illegal immigrants anywhere between a few hundred thousands to 4 millions. The study finds that environmental crisis caused by population pressure in Bangladesh and relatively greater economic opportunities in terms of higher lifetime income, acquisition of land and assets in Assam, have been the primary motivations behind large scale migration. Among the beneficial effects, the immigrants have contributed to the rise of agricultural productivity by introducing better techniques, crop diversity, and multiple cropping. The supply of cheap labor by the immigrants in the informal labor market have benefitted the consumers and producers alike. These immigrants do not seem to compete with the native workers who are generally educated and seek employment in the formal labor market. However, they have put tremendous pressure on land, creating socio-political and environmental problems that have indirect adverse effects on the economy. Finally, the immigrants hardly contribute to the government revenue while the government spends a substantial amount to maintain this significantly large fraction of the population.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44
Keywords: Illegal Migration, Immigrant, Assam, Bangladesh
JEL Classification: J11, N35, O13
Date posted: January 29, 2011
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