Nepal on the Move: Conflict, Migration and Stability

Nepalese Migrants in the Coal-Mines of India’s Northeast: Risk, Remittances and Return to Nepal

Tanka Subba, Geetika Ranjan, Jens Seeberg and Rashmi Upadhyay (PhD student) 

Objective of sub-study 6

With a particular focus on Nepalese labour migrants in the coal-mining industry of Northeast India, the overall objective of this sub-study is to explore the relationship between Nepalese labour migration and democracy building in New Nepal; and the impact of class and caste on the relationship between labour migration and the circulation of remittances in the process of political stabilization in Nepal.

Sub-6International Labour migration continues to play an enormous role as a way for rural households in Nepal to maintain a livelihood. The fact that Nepal-India migration has often been conceptualized as labour migration is not just a reflection of empirical conditions, but also of an analytical framework that gives priority to socio-economic aspects of migration. By implication, much of the existing literature on Nepali migration to India have focused on demographic and socio-economic dimensions of migration and on the contributions of economic remittances sent from India to Nepal for the economy on both national and household level. The focus will be on the Nepalese migrant workers in coal mines of Meghalaya , in north east India. The study would take into account their lives in the coal mines - the risks involved , the flow of remittances and the idea of return, and how these inform the process of democracy building in Nepal. With its focus on economic and social remittances the proposed sub-study will add to this body of literature by embedding it within a larger socio-cultural framework and by paying attention to a particularly vulnerable category of labour migrants, namely coal-mine workers.