Government of India, India, Stories

Data: Most Migrants Transferred Their Ration Card Followed by Voter ID


One of the key areas covered in the recently released 78th round of National Sample Survey report is migration. Data on transfer of documents by migrants indicates that more than 60% of the migrants in both rural & urban areas transferred more than one document. Most migrants transferred their ration card followed by voter ID.

One of the key areas covered in the recently released 78th round of National Sample Survey report is migration. In the previous story, we looked at the migration figures at the national level and the reasons behind migration as mentioned in the survey. In this story, we discuss numbers surrounding the transfer of documents by migrants. Data for this story has been sourced from Dataful

Legal identity documents are required for multiple reasons 

Documents such as voter ID, Aadhar Card, PAN Card, etc. are necessary legal identity documents issued by the Government of India. These are used for numerous purposes ranging from obtaining a SIM Card for a mobile phone, for both domestic and international travel, opening a bank account and taking loans, for rental agreements, getting basic utilities like gas, electricity, and water connections, for employment-related benefits like PF, ESI among others. These are increasingly being used for transactions and obtaining benefits extended by the government. Not just that, these documents are interlinked too. For instance, Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act provides that every individual who has been allotted a Permanent Account Number (PAN) should mandatorily link their Aadhaar and PAN for seamless tax-related transactions.

Considering the significance of these documents, when a person shifts their place of residence, they tend to make the change of address in these documents as well. However, not everyone does it considering the long process and procedures to be followed, especially if the migration or shifting is temporary and if only one member of the family has shifted to seek better education or employment opportunities while the rest of the family continues to reside in the permanent residence. In most cases, it is those who wish to permanently settle down at a new place and avail services that transfer the documents to the new address. Moreover, those who wish to permanently settle down in a new place may need favourable conditions or reasons to do so, like improved income, better career prospects, marriage, etc. If the settlement is permanent, transferring documents may be done just once. 

Document transfer-related information was collected in the survey

During the 78th round of the NSS, for the persons who had migrated, the information as to whether the documents of the household members were transferred in the present place of enumeration from the last usual place of residence, as on the date of survey, was recorded. The percentage distribution of persons who have transferred any document(s) from the last usual place of residence to the present place of residence, by the type of document(s) transferred has been captured in the report. The four main types of documents considered for analysis here are Aadhaar, Voter id card, Ration card, and Passport. ‘Combined’ or ‘Combination’ was recorded if more than one of these four documents have been transferred. Apart from these, documents such as driving licenses, electricity bills, telephone bills, gas connections, bank/post office passbooks, etc. have been categorized as ‘others’. 

More than 60% of the migrants transferred 2 or more documents out of Aadhar card, Voter id, Ration card, and Passport

According to the NSS report, the percentage of persons with a current place of residence different from the last usual place of residence was 34.6% in urban areas and 26.8% in rural areas. Overall, the migration rate at the national level was 29.1%. In the report, migrants have been defined as those whose last usual place of residence is different from the present place of enumeration. The usual place of residence is the place (village/town) where the person stayed continuously for a period of 6 months or more or intends to stay for 6 months or more.  

More than 60% of the migrated persons who had transferred at least one document in rural as well as urban areas had transferred more than one of the four main documents cited earlier. 27.9% had transferred only their ration cards in rural areas and 18.1% had transferred the same in urban areas. About 7.6% had transferred their Voter IDs alone. While 3% had transferred their Aadhaar in rural areas, about 5.6% did so, in urban areas. 1.3% and 2.8% had transferred other documents in rural and urban areas respectively. The share of migrated persons who transferred their Passports was negligible. This could be because of the strict procedures and its limited usage. While other identification documents like Ration, card Aadhaar, and Voter ID are used by the majority of the population, a passport is usually taken only by those who plan to go abroad. Meanwhile, a large share of people has transferred their ration cards which allows access to basic food supplies and kerosene from ration shops at subsidized prices.  

Share of transfers of only Voter ID is relatively high in Bihar and Chhattisgarh while that of Aadhar was exceptionally high in Chandigarh

Among states, the percentage share of persons who transferred documents by type of document is discussed below:

Ration Card: The percentage share of persons who transferred Ration Cards widely ranges from 3-3.5% in Assam and Delhi to more than 50% in Lakshadweep and more than 40% in Himachal Pradesh and Haryana. Out of the migrants who transferred at least one document, at least one in three migrants transferred only the ration card in MP, West Bengal, Rajasthan, and Odisha.

Voter ID Card: In Assam, more than 53% had transferred only their voter ID in contrast to less than 1% in Tamil Nadu, HP, and Puducherry. Nagaland registered more than 40% while Manipur, Bihar and Chhattisgarh registered more than 20% each. It may be noted that across most states, ration cards were the most widely transferred individual documents while in Chhattisgarh and Bihar, the share of Voter IDs transferred was the highest.

Aadhar: Only in Chandigarh, more than two-thirds had transferred their Aadhaar alone whereas nearly one-fourth had transferred the same in Daman and Diu and Arunachal Pradesh. While Nagaland and Bihar had more than 14% reporting Aadhaar transfers, it was less than 10% in all other states/UTs. In Assam, West Bengal, and Rajasthan, the share of Aadhaar transfers was less than 1%. 

Passport: With respect to passports, 4.5% in Chandigarh followed by 1% in Nagaland had transferred only their passports. Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Kerala, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, and Assam had also reported transfers, but the share was 0.1%-0.2%.

Combined: More than 90% in Mizoram had transferred more than one of the four documents mentioned above, while the same was more than 80% in Sikkim and Uttarakhand. While most states reported more than 50% of persons reporting changing multiple documents, the share was among the lowest in Chandigarh, Assam, Nagaland, Assam, Bihar, and Odisha which reported larger shares in individual document transfers. 

In Arunachal Pradesh, more than 40% of migrated persons had transferred other documents whereas the share was less than 7% across all other states.  

Other factors also influence document transfer

In Union Territories like Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, and Puducherry, where the share of individual documents like Aadhaar and Ration card transfers is high, the inter-state migration is relatively higher as seen in the previous story. Furthermore, it is also seen that in states of Bihar, Odisha, and Chandigarh, the share of persons whose income either decreased or remained the same even after migration is higher than that of those whose income increased following migration which could be why the document transfer percentage is low in these states for multiple documents as the migration could have been temporary. Factors like income change, type of migration, etc. influence the transfer of documents. 

Featured Image: Migration figures


About Author

A bachelor’s degree in mathematics and master’s in social science, she is driven by ardent desire to work with this unique combination to create her own path instead of following the herd. Having served a stint as the college union chairperson, she is a strategist who is also passionate about nature conservation, art and loves solving Sudoku.

Comments are closed.