By YUSRA KHAN
DEHRADUN, 15 Nov: The International Literature and Arts Festival in Dehradun, Valley of Words, invited DS Garbiyal, Bhuwan Pathak, Richa Gansiyal and Priyanka Tolia to illuminate audience members on the critical aspects of migration issues that often end up being side- lined. The big takeaway from the conversation was the nuanced outlook provided by the panel members on reverse migration and the efforts being made in the direction. The session was chaired by BS Barfal and NS Napalchyal, and started off by comprehensively laying out the issues that lead to migration, and avenues for rerouting once one shifts geographically. The last state census having revealed dismal levels of growth in particular regions, the discourse must be diversified to allow for reduction in migrant inflow numbers, as paucity of resources make it imperative to first get the located population to stay back. “The most affected among the dislocated happen to be the farmers in rural Uttarakhand, and it is to them we should provide employment opportunities first,” opined Garbiyal. Working with the District Magistrates in Uttarakhand, he propounded the idea of Home Stays in the state, which had especially successful models in villages like Nabi. These have flourished under his supervision. The session was empowering to attend, as it underlined the small efforts made by individuals that might not overhaul systems but lead to pockets of change in local communities. The lack of unique policy points for different regions within the hill areas are a major reason for the ineffectiveness of several development programmes and employment initiatives. Reverse migration can only take place once migrants have chances of employment back home, and feel secure in going back. Various field experts emphasised on easing bureaucratic barriers to implement those changes, and the need for being innovative in design models. Richa Gansiyal, along with her colleague Priyanka Toila, advocated the need for a liberal approach to R&D in the field. Both NID alumnae, they presented an inspiring story of local design development and enterprise, and focused on the need for data documentation in order to figure out the impact targets. It is important to have an idea of who it is that one plans to provide benefits to, so one can tailor it according to regional needs. Uttarakhand’s richness in natural resources gives it good grounding for designing initiatives and, with a clean slate to work on, great achievements can be made possible. “We ourselves are stories of reverse migration,” said Richa Gonsiyal, as she appealed to policy makers to ease the processes that allow for state development to be carried out with purpose and detail. The event laid out the concept of reverse migration, and gave due credit to the benefits arising from regulated migration as well. It also covered the grassroots scenario and the lack of policy work in the area, proving to be truly a comprehensive talk.