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Internal Migration

Challenges in Governance and Integration

Edited By Shane Joshua Barter and William Ascher

Internal Migration: Challenges in Governance and Integration focuses on the challenges associated with internal migration across the developing world. While international migration captures significant attention, less attention has been paid to those migrating within recognized national borders. The sources of internal migration are not fundamentally different from international migration, as migrants may be pushed by violence, disasters, state policies, or various opportunities. Although they do not cross international borders, they may still cross significant internal borders, with cultural differences and perceived state favoritism generating a potential for "sons of the soil" conflicts. As citizens, internal migrants are in theory to be provided legal protection by host states, however this is not always the case, and sometimes their own states represent the cause of their displacement. The chapters in this book explain how international organizations, host states, and host communities may navigate the many challenges associated with internal migration.

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6. The Political Economy of Special Economic Zones and Internal Displacement in India (Vineeta Yadav)


6. The Political Economy of Special Economic Zones and Internal Displacement in India

Vineeta Yadav

Pennsylvania State University

Development related projects have become an increasingly significant source of internal displacement in the world. Global estimates put the number of people displaced by development projects at about 10 million per year (Cernea 1999; Mathur 2013). At about one million per year, India displaces the most people in the world (IDMC 2016; Lok Sabha Secretariat 2013; Negi and Ganguly 2010).1 Between 1948–2000, the Indian government displaced about 60–65 million people for development projects including dams, ports, industrial corridors, defense projects, highways, metros, etc. (Fernandes 2008; Lok Sabha Secretariat 2013). By 2000, between 67% and 75% of these displaced people had been transformed into permanent migrants who lacked a stable residence (Fernandes 2008; Negi and Ganguly 2010). These grim figures however do not include the numbers displaced by the creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs)—a policy initiative that has become one of the most significant creators of internally displaced migrants in India and in the world.2

India passed the Special Economic Zones Act in 2005 leading to an explosion of these zones from 19 in 2004 to over 600 by 2016 (CAG 2014, v). They were established without placing any legal obligations on private SEZ developers or central, state, or local governments to resettle or rehabilitate the people displaced by them. The SEZ Act was specifically exempted from the...

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