Seasonal migration in tank irrigation communities of South India

Vijayakumar Kuttappan

    Research output: ThesisMasters Thesis

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    This research explored the extent, drivers and impacts of seasonal migration in tank irrigation communities of South India. Given the conflicting information, dearth of data availability and increasing trends with regard to seasonal migration, this research is important and timely. This research investigated seasonal migration in tank irrigation communities of South India. The data generated from this research contributes to a better understanding of seasonal migration in South India in general and tank irrigation in particular. The application of migration theories to the case study area was also explored.This research is based on pragmatism and multiple methods, using four case study villages in Tamil Nadu, South India. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with 60 respondents including villagers, seasonal migrants and government officials. Quantitative data were also collected in the same period with 1640 household respondents across the four case study communities. An interview guide and survey guide were developed in order to guide the semi-structured interviews and collect data for the household surveys. To narrow the focus of the thesis, seasonal migration was explored in terms of three stakeholder groups: villagers, officials and seasonal migrants. These data were collected during the second field visit that was completed during March to July of 2013. The first field visit during December 2012 to January 2013 was devoted to scoping studies to locate the study area and develop relationships with the communities.The findings indicated that seasonal migration is an important component of villagers'' livelihood strategies. Seasonal migrants have greater access to multiple sources of income than nonmigrants. Seasonal migration was practiced both as accumulative and coping strategies. To participate in seasonal migration, an individual needs to have access to resources. These resources could be either economic or social. The findings revealed that more small scale farmers and educated adults were participating in seasonal migration compared to landless and illiterate people. The study also found that seasonal migration was a popular choice among young female seasonal migrants.The findings indicated that government policies were ineffective in influencing seasonal migration and that a closer examination is required to develop better policies and implementation practices.Seasonal migration could improve a villager''s livelihood however negative impacts were also found. One of the major negative influences was tank abandonment. Though tank irrigation was alienated for various reasons, seasonal migration seems to be having a greater impact more recently. While this thesis will not make the life of the study communities easier nor provide concrete solutions to government, it provides a comprehensive framework of extent, drivers and impacts of seasonal migration that could be used by decision-makers to consider while developing policies for the betterment of rural population such as tank irrigation communities of South India.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationMaster of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Charles Sturt University
    • Wilson, Ben, Co-Supervisor, External person
    • Horta, Ana, Co-Supervisor
    • Laird, Shelby, Co-Supervisor
    Award date19 Nov 2015
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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