Livelihood Strategies in a Marginal Area of Nepal (Far West Nepal) with an Emphasis on Labour Migration to India

Based on research conducted in Bajhang and Bajura districts in far western Nepal in 1998, this paper explores Nepali labour migration to India. More specifically, it considers Nepali migrants who work as watchmen in Delhi and discusses the complex process of their migration and the importance of networks in securing employment and maintaining livelihoods in Delhi. The paper notes that financial self-help associations established by migrants to ensure financial security and support families in Nepal operate in two forms: chits and societies. Although these associations are dominated by men, women are also gradually establishing similar associations. In addition, the authors also analyse the opportunities and constraints of migration, opening up avenues for further research such as the effects of remittances in marginal areas, utilisation of the Indian education and healthcare facilities, breakdown of traditional institutions such as the caste system, effects of separation from families, the existing bad living and working conditions of Nepalis in Delhi, etc. In conclusion, the authors call for the strengthening of and effective implementation of measures that have already been agreed upon by the government of the two countries. Further, they also stress the need for increased attention and awareness on the issues that confront undocumented labour migrants from Nepal to India.

Müller-Böker, U. and S. Thieme. 2007. In G. Jones, W. Leimgruber and E.N. Grahamstown (eds.) Issues in Geographical Marginality: Papers presented during the Meetings of the Commission on Evolving Issues of Geographical Marginality in the Early 21st Century World, 2001-2004. South Africa: Rhodes University.

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