Tag Archives: Migration

Desi FLorence Nightangles

Manmohan Singh, speaking after laying the foundation stone of a medical college at Jorhat, said that shortage of doctors and nurses was the biggest hurdle as India sought to provide adequate healthcare facilities to the people.

Despite the shortage, Nursing in Punjab is viewed as a passport to settle abroad. With a shortage of skilled medical staff in many developed countries the prospects of high pay and social respect seems a huge reason for underpaid, overworked nurses in Punjab, who queue up at the nearest English speaking tuitions and apply for vacancies abroad.

According to the placement consultant of one of the leading ***** agencies in Chandigarh, “ The difference in the pay is reason enough for many young girls to nurses in foreign countries as they can earn anything between Rs 16-18 lakh annually, while in India their pay is less than Rs. 2 lakh. But there is also a huge number of nurses who are close to retirement but try to go abroad, the goal is to settle their families abroad.”
She added that, “Ladies have to spend anywhere from Rs 2 lakh for a 10-month course, with two months of training without pay at a hospital in New Zealand, Australia or Canada.”

Close to100 nursing institutes have come up in Panjab over the past few years, providing a nursing diploma and a few offering a degree programme. It is a normal practice for Nurses to get enrolled with private academies around the city to upgrade their diploma to an internationally accepted nursing degree. Institutes, which do not have an attached hospital for practical training, then send their students to get practical training at Government Hospitals.

After upgrading her diploma to a nursing degree acceptable in Australia, Shalini Mehta is all preparing for the IELTS exam, “The nurses who have settled in countries like New Zealand and Italy tell us that the amount of respect they get there is unmatched, where as in India there is no respect for the nurses. Although we work more than a doctor, in reality we are paid less and respected even lesser.” Mehta’s elder sister, also a nurse, moved to Australia with her husband and two children five years back.

Inderjeet Kaur Walia, the Principal of the PGI’s National Institute of Nursing Education (NINE), the country’s premier nursing institute, admits that the ambition to settle abroad is a goal for many students enrolled in the BSc nursing course, “The students come to our college to get training and if they do not get absorbed here then they do look for placements outside. Overseas placement is lucrative but I am sure it is not the only aim, many females work as nurses because it is a noble profession viewed with respect.” Walia added that, “The mandatory exam for nurses in USA, CGFNS (Commission of Graduate of Nursing School), is hardly an exacting test for reasonably good students of NINE.”

One of the students from NINE said that Last year, 30 to 40 nurses from the PGI went abroad on very good pay packages. Indian nurses have a reputation of being sincere and hard-working. Even this year, many nurses have gone to Ireland on a good salary.

Chandigarh-based INSCOL Academy of Nursing, which has a tie-up with the University of Sunderland in the UK offers job placement in the UK and the USA on an average salary of Rs 1.5 lakh a month.

While opportunities are galore there is caution needed aspiring Nurses must pay a lot of attention to the terms and conditions of the middleman, including the job consultants who are assisting their placement abroad. “Many a time, the nurses are required to pay 40 to 50 per cent of their salaries for two to three years under the contract signed between the nurse and the consultant,” said a placement consultant from the city.


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flood turned biharies to punjab- their second home

Bihar holds Punjab up

As the flood waters force mass evacuation in Bihar, the railway stations of Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Jullander are flooded with the migrants who have come to back to their second home- Punjab.

Jeevan lal reached the Ludhiana station a week back with 8 others from his family on the Barauni-Amritsar Janseva Express. He considers himself to be lucky as he could catch the train and bring his family along, “we had no where else to go. I worked here for over eight years. now this city is our second home,” Trains which come from Bihar to Punjab, especially Amritsar-Saharsa (Bihar) Garib Rath which comes three times a week, come overloaded and return back more o less empty, said one of the railway booking officials at Ambala Railway Station.

Although there are some who don’t know where to go most have been to the cities before and are looking for old employers to find jobs. “We decided to come back because water has ruined everything there. We don’t know when the situation will improve,” said Kumar Mahesh, who works at the industrial area in Chandigarh. He brought most of his friends from Gopalganj along with him, most of who are hoping to find employment here.

In the last year workers, particularly those in the skilled category, left in large numbers, leading to a shortage of 25-30 per cent in most enterprises. The out migration from Punjab has been explained on the basis of NREGS and the anti- Bihar emotion but the arrival would provide a solution to the problem of acute labour shortage that industry and agriculture in the state.

Bihar is said to be the ‘muscle’ behind the food basket of India. The labour shortage badly affected wheat lifting operations in the just concluded Rabi season and the labour intensive rice production hit hard in the states like Punjab and Haryana.

Owner of a seven acre farm near Ludhiana, Surjeet Man said that the migrant labour is indispensable for Punjab, “No work can go on without them. Today there is hardly any Punjabi working in the farms or factories of Punjab. From rickshaw pullers to industrial workers all are from Bihar and U.P. Over 90 per cent of the agricultural labour comes from Bihar. Last year I was paying up to three times the wages to employ labour because Bihari men were leaving the state.”

According to Dayal Singh, a fifth generation Bihari residing in Mohali, “The labour from Bihar was brought by the British to lay the railway track and build the Kathunangal canal. Most of the labourers decided to settle in Punjab. Today we are as much Punjabis as anyone else.”

In a study by Punjab Agricultural University’s Department of Economics and Sociology (with a sample size of 240 migrants, 120 local labourers and 120 farmers) 81% of migrants reported a change in the language they speak, the food they eat and the clothes they wear. Pegged at more than 10 lakh in a city of about 50 lakh people, there is one migrant from UP or Bihar for every five Punjabi.

Interestingly, in similar studies in 1978-79 and 1983-84, only 33% and 40% of migrant labourers had reported a noticeable change in their language. In the last survey, however, the change in language went up to 76%. Also, 84% of respondents reported a change of preference from the traditional favourite rice to wheat. Similarly, 88% had switched from dhoti to pyjama-kameez.

The influx of Bihari population has affected not just the industry and agriculture but the entertainment also. In Ludhiana, which accounts for about 60% of Bhojpuri film’s entire collection in north India, some single screen cinema halls on the verge of closure, Bhojpuri films have acted like a life saver.


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