Seasonal migration done by rural households (HHs) in India is seen by some as a sign of agrarian distress and slow growth in the rural economy. The contra-view is that it is part of the great Indian growth story: through seasonal migration, poor rural HHs gets an opportunity to increase their incomes and living standards. To find out which of these views is valid, a small but intensive study was conducted in 18 villages of Tikamgarh block of Tikamgarh district of MP. The study covered 46 randomly selected SC/ST HHs who have at least one member who had migrated in at least three of the five previous years (2007-8 to 2011-12). Findings establish that at least for SC/ST HHs in the 18 villages, and similar HHs in similar areas, migration is largely a coping mechanism, though it also meets the purpose of capital accumulation to some extent.

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