Indonesia’s government has resurrected its “Return to Village” movement.
Each year, Jakarta’s population swells after the Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. Some 70,000 Indonesians from rural areas came to the city for the festivities last year, and a good number of them stayed in the hopes of finding jobs in the capital. The same exodus from the countryside is again occurring in this year’s post-Ramadan period.
Such flows of people into the city make Indonesian leaders nervous. Though the Jakarta government has tried to stem population growth by only granting residency to those who have a place to live and a job, the rules aren’t always followed. In 2015, the city’s population hit 10 million, making it an official mega-city, one that deals heavily with issues such as pollution, traffic congestion, and poverty.
In response, government officials recently announced the resurrection of a movement dubbed “Return to Village,” which urges Jakarta’s newcomers to, well, go back home. In the past, the initiative didn’t have funds to back it up, and it didn’t find much success. This is in part because the wealth disparity between the Indonesian countryside and cities, especially Jakarta, is a key driver of mass urban migration in the country.