Governance of climate change related migrations in Assam (India)
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The thesis asks two crucial questions, (a) what are the normative frameworks available for protecting the rights and status of a person migrating due to climate change related hydro-metrological changes? (b) why is there a non-uniformity and inadequacy in the deliverance of assistance from the state? To address these questions, I have analysed the perception, framing and assistance a climate change migrant receives from the state of Assam in India, while also explaining the reasons for the differential nature and deficits in protection. Based on interviews with senior bureaucratic officials (elite actors), group-discussions, field surveys, and engagements at the block and village level, the thesis makes three critical arguments. First, the sub-national government perceive climate-induced migrations as a developmental issue. Second, the way in which climate change migration is framed as a developmental issue by elite actors does not correspond with how the issue is understood by street-level bureaucratic actors. Instead, the routine judgements and discretions exercised by street-level actors are complexly tied to the political and social circumstances of local areas. Finally, while it is known that socio-political and demographic factors (such as gender, membership of a social group, and religion) contribute to forced forms of migration, the thesis argues that these demographic factors also adversely affect the performance of the programs meant to reduce climate vulnerabilities.