Info Change India

Info Change India - Livelihoods

Fri06232017

Last updateThu, 15 Jun 2017 11am

Font Size

Profile

Menu Style

Cpanel
You are here: Home | Livelihoods | Livelihoods

Livelihoods

Livelihoods

Backgrounders

Livelihoods : Background & Perspective

By Mari Marcel Thekaekara

 Several UN and world summits now accede that the achievement of sustainable livelihoods is intricately linked with the eradication of poverty. But between international and government fora where 'sustainable livelihoods' is the new buzzword and the situation at the grassroots is a huge gap. For a decade of structural adjustment and the development-at-any-cost doctrine have conspired to deprive millions of Indians -- adivasi tribals, marginal farmers, weavers and others -- of their traditional means of livelihood.
Read More

Analysis

'Land reform: More problems than solutions'

By Mukul Sharma

Land is the most contentious problem in India today. Although land policy development is taking place, the issue is being looked at in isolation, rather than in the overall framework of human rights, says Mukul Sharma

There are few more contentious and complex problems in India today than those dealing with land and land rights. Rather than focusing on land as an issue in isolation, a continuum of rights has to be established regarding land, especially in the areas of access and reform, law and enforcement, use planning and management, administration and information, and other cross-cutting issues.
Read More

Related Articles

»'NREGA: Where is the people's participation? By Jamal Kidwai and Juhi Tyagi
Read More

»A bargain-basement knowledge 'mandi' By Rahul Goswami
Read More

»Dance bar ahead: Keep out : Part 1: Fundamentalisms and sexuality By Maya Indira Ganesh
Read More

Features

Invisible, exploited: Home-workers of Agra’s footwear industry

By Aakash Mehrotra

Informal sector employment in footwear industry

Agra turns out 250,000 pairs of shoes every day. Most of them are made by invisible home-workers at the bottom of the global supply chain, who earn as little as Rs 30 a pair

Agra turns out 250,000 pairs of shoes every day. Most of them are made by invisible home-workers at the bottom of the global supply chain, who earn as little as Rs 30 a pairSarojini is a home-worker at one of the 4,500 home-based units in Agra, the footwear capital of north India. For her, each new day marks a search for work to keep food on the table, a roof over her family, and her children in school. To her sub-contractor, she is known by a number. She is, quite simply, one piece in the supply chain of a footwear brand -- one of the million invisible workers in this industry.

Read More

Related Articles

»The potential for transformation through MGNREGS By Siraj Dutta
Read More

»State, markets and civil society have failed migrant workers By Rajiv Khandelwal
Read More

»Island women find freedom from four walls By Candace Rose Rardon
Read More

Microfinance

Micro-Credit : Background & Perspective

By Laxmi Murthy

More than 10,000 micro-lending organizations are today providing loans to 25 million poor people throughout the world, most of them women. The number of these organisations grew dramatically during the 1990s, spurred by the notion of 'self-help' and a faith in the creditworthiness and entrepreneurial potential of the poor. But is the current euphoria over micro-credit missing some fundamental questions? Does micro-credit really reach the poorest? Does it really empower women?


Read More

Related Articles

»The bank-SHG model of microfinance in India By R V Bhavani
Read More

»Andhra assembly passes bill to rein in MFIs
Read More

»MFIs must have their own code of ethics
Read More

Books & Reports

Captured By Cotton

 The Sumangali Scheme in Tirupur and Coimbatore districts lures young girls – often minors and dalits -- from impoverished areas of Tamil Nadu to work in MNC garments-manufacturing units on the promise of nutritious meals, comfortable accommodation and a lumpsum payment. What they actually encounter is poor work conditions, low wages, restricted freedom of movement, and limited privacy, says a study by SOMO and ICN

Read More

Related Articles

»Poor income in informal sector drives majority of sex workers into flesh trade: Survey
Read More

»Pluralism and the bauls By Kalyani Chaudhuri
Read More

»Give rural poor control over ecosystems to fight poverty: WRI report
Read More

Changemakers

Fighting for Chilika

By Aditya Malaviya

Maghi Mantri FamilyFor years Maghi Mantri of Panda Pokhari on Chilika Lake watched as local fishermen were squeezed into smaller and smaller spaces by unscrupulous politicians, non-traditional fishermen and illegal shrimp and prawn traders. In 1992 she set up two self-help groups and began to mobilise the local village women

Read More

Related Articles

»Chitamma: Nari shakti By Aditya Malaviya
Read More

»Keeping craft traditions alive By Lalitha Sridhar
Read More 

Stories of Change

The building blocks of change

Belaku started as a small health research project in rural Karnataka. But then the women said it was all very well to tell them about nutrition and eating right, but who was going to pay for it? Thus began the livelihoods initiative, Kirana 

Belaku Trust started as a small health research project in rural Karnataka, in 1995. One of its founders, Dr Saraswathy Ganapathy, a paediatrician turned public health professional, recalls how bleak the project appeared then. “The women wouldn’t speak to us, or even look at us. The nutritionist came out from the first health session and wondered how to talk ‘calories’ to them.”

Read More

Related Articles

»Preserving the traditional weaving techniques of the Dhanghars
Read More

»Bringing professionalism to craft
Read More

»Women weavers of the Kumaon
Read More

News

Orissa first off the block with National Rural Livelihoods Mission

Orissa became the first state to launch the NRLM, aimed at reducing rural poverty by providing self-employment and skilled jobs to people below the poverty line

Orissa became the first state in the country to launch the National Rural Livelihoods Mission on April 18, 2011. This comes even as the state faces a CBI inquiry ordered by the Ministry of Rural Development to probe alleged corruption and irregularities in the implementation of another major social sector scheme -- the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

Read More

Related Articles

»Recognise hawkers' fundamental rights: SC
Read More

»Pak frees 100 Indian fishermen
Read More

»Rs 1,000 a year pension aid approved for informal sector workers
Read More

Statistics

Total number of main and marginal workers by sex

Read More

Sidelines

'Making a difference in Mudumalai'

By Mari Marcel Thekaekara

Mudumalai Tiger Reserve

Sometimes, all it takes to transform a place is one man doing his job well. Rajiv Srivastava, field director of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, has made that difference, involving adivasis in forest and animal conservation, writes Mari Marcel Thekaekara

We’ve lived near the Mudumalai Sanctuary in the Nilgiris for over 27 years now. Collectors, police chiefs, forest officials have come and gone. Sometimes, however, someone comes along who makes a definite difference. You feel a buzz. See a district transformed.
Read More

Related Articles

»S R Sankaran: Champion of the safai karmacharis By Mari Marcel Thekaekara
Read More

»Child labour of a different kind By Mari Marcel Thekaekara
Read More

»Child labour and untouchability in government schools By Mari Marcel Thekaekara
Read More

Analysis

Bleak future for traditional salt

By Anosh Malekar

Agariyas are worried heavy vehicle movement will impact the salt qualitIn 1930, Mahatma Gandhi turned salt into a powerful symbol of freedom for Indians. In Independent India, the traditional salt pan workers of Gujarat say they are living like slaves, thanks to the government’s negligence and privatisation policies


Related Articles

»Salt of the earth By Anosh Malekar
Read More

»Inside India's Survey No Zero By Anosh Malekar
Read More

 

Livelihoods : Background & Perspective

By Mari Marcel Thekaekara

 Several UN and world summits now accede that the achievement of sustainable livelihoods is intricately linked with the eradication of poverty. But between international and government fora where 'sustainable livelihoods' is the new buzzword and the situation at the grassroots is a huge gap. For a decade of structural adjustment and the development-at-any-cost doctrine have conspired to deprive millions of Indians -- adivasi tribals, marginal farmers, weavers and others -- of their traditional means of livelihood.

Read more...

Land reform: More problems than solutions

Land is the most contentious problem in India today. Although land policy development is taking place, the issue is being looked at in isolation, rather than in the overall framework of human rights, says Mukul Sharma

Read more...

NREGA: Where is the people's participation?

By Jamal Kidwai and Juhi Tyagi

The gram sabha is supposed to decide on the works to be undertaken under NREGS. But most people in the villages surveyed in Bihar recently had no clue how the work or worksite in their village was determined. This is in complete violation of the principles of decentralisation and local participation, which are as central to the objectives of NREGA as economic and political empowerment

Read more...

A bargain-basement knowledge 'mandi'

By Rahul Goswami

The new US-India Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture will re-examine and overhaul existing curricula in agricultural education institutions in India. It will also leave Indian agriculture open to the interests of the world's largest food and agri-business corporations, says Rahul Goswami

Read more...

Dance bar ahead: Keep out : Part 1: Fundamentalisms and sexuality

By Maya Indira Ganesh

The state government has embarked on a campaign to rid Mumbai of obscenity. The dance bars which employ 75,000 women, are amongst the targets. But is this just about dance bars or about the increasingly strident notions of purity and pollution, and about fundamentalism using the bodies of women as their locus of control?

Read more...

Dance bar ahead: Keep out: Part 2: The right to sexuality

By Maya Indira Ganesh

The ban on dance bars in Mumbai is ostensibly to protect youth from the sexualised environment of the bars. Instead of keeping the shadows and silences around sexuality intact, we need a rights-based approach to young people's sexuality, giving them the right to information that has a direct bearing on their health and well-being

Read more...

Baina beach demolitions: What about the sex worker's right to shelter?

By Rakesh Shukla

Acting on orders by the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court, around 250 huts belonging to sex workers, on Goa's Baina beach, were bulldozed in an effort to 'clean up' Goa. 'Operation Monsoon Demolition' appears to have been based on the assumption that sex workers have no right to shelter

Read more...

Invisible, exploited: Home-workers of Agra’s footwear industry

By Aakash Mehrotra

Agra turns out 250,000 pairs of shoes every day. Most of them are made by invisible home-workers at the bottom of the global supply chain, who earn as little as Rs 30 a pair

Informal sector employment in footwear industry

Read more...

The potential for transformation through MGNREGS

By Siraj Dutta

In Kuira, effective people’s planning and monitoring at the panchayat level has ensured the completion of several useful public works under MGNREGS, quick payment of wages, and a substantial fall in distress migration from the village

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme

Read more...

State, markets and civil society have failed migrant workers

India’s growth story rides on the distress migration of the poor and yet this large and growing segment of our population is completely overlooked, says Rajiv Khandelwal, founder of Aajeevika Bureau. In this interview Khandelwal suggests a possible course of civil society action and state policy for migrant workers

Aajeevika Bureau

Read more...

Island women find freedom from four walls

By Candace Rose Rardon

In Mahinsa, an island village on Orissa’s Chilika Lake, new collective livelihood and self-help groups have helped women begin cultivating crabs for export, supplementing family incomes and giving the women a sense of ownership and purpose

Read more...

Duped and exploited: Orissa's migrant workers

By Sudarshan Chhotray

Close to 2 million people migrate out of Orissa in search of work every year. Only 50,000 of them are registered with the authorities, making it difficult to protect these desperate migrants from tricksters and exploitative employers

Read more...

Trafficking is big business along the Indo-Bangladesh border

By Usha Rai

Prostitution has become a booming business on the 151-km India-Bangladesh border. Many of the women, abandoned by husbands or trafficked across the porous border, have entered the trade and continue in it because it provides a steady income. Clearly, the challenge is rehabilitation, not rescue

Read more...

Papamma's victory marks a milestone in the domestic workers' struggle

By Anuja Mirchandaney

Papamma, a domestic worker in Bangalore, took her employers to court and managed to receive a favourable judgment. This is a historic victory for perhaps the most vulnerable segment of unorganised workers, made possible by the support of a trade union, a dedicated team of advocates and a labour officer who adjudicated objectively

Read more...

Transferring 26% of mining profits to local populations

The Indian government is thinking about giving local people a stake in the resources mined from their area by offering them 26% equity or payout of profits. But will government implement profit-sharing any more effectively than it implements the rehabilitation of the displaced?

Read more...

Hope for domestic workers?

By Kathyayini Chamaraj

Karnataka was the first to notify minimum wages and working conditions for domestic labour. But in the six years since, not a single complaint about non-payment of minimum wages has been filed. A recent public hearing in Bangalore proposed several other measures to ensure that domestic workers are not exploited

Read more...

Yellow metal blues

By Ritusmita Biswas

Despite being employed in the glamorous billion-dollar gold industry, India’s gold jewellery workers work long hours in inhuman conditions and are barely able to make ends meet. Indeed, many gold workers in Kolkata have left their trade in disgust to become rickshaw-pullers and vegetable vendors. Is this the end of the road for this traditional craft?

Read more...

Beedi-rollers of Biharsharif: 'The living dead'

By Aditya Malaviya

Beedi workers are listed in the schedules of the Minimum Wages Act 1948, which do not list most other home-based activities. They are also entitled to health insurance, maternity benefits and housing assistance. Why then are beedi workers so desperately poor, with no access to these benefits?

Read more...

Chhattisgarh: Lost battle

The people of Chhattisgarh appear to have lost the battle against industrialisation without rules. Even those who held out longest against the acquisition of their lands, forests and rivers are giving up the fight. Dilnaz Boga travels through the villages of Raigarh district, where thousands are being displaced

Read more...

"Are projects for people, or people for projects?"

By Kathyayini Chamaraj

A public hearing on the Mangalore Special Economic Zone revealed how rules were flouted and records fudged, compensation was not paid and promised jobs never materialised, and how land and groundwater were polluted

Read more...

The 'servant' is also a worker

By Shreya Bhattacharya

Domestic placement agencies are mushrooming everywhere. A substantial number of domestic workers are trafficked from poor states like West Bengal, Orissa and Jharkhand. But there is no national legislation to protect the rights and ensure the welfare of this huge army of domestic workers

Read more...

Winning the cashew battle in Orissa

By Pradeep Baisakh

To avoid siltation of the newly constructed dams caused by traditional forms of agriculture, the tribals of the Koraput district of Orissa were persuaded to shift to cultivation of cashew and other trees and promised ownership of the land. But when the government reneged on its promise and started reaping the benefits itself, a people’s movement began that has just ended in victory after 10 long years

Read more...

Victory for Tamil Nadu's manual scavengers

By Mari Marcel Thekaekara

Acting on a PIL by a public-spirited citizen, the Tamil Nadu Hight Court has censured the state government for violation of the Eradication of Manual Scavenging & Dry Latrine (Abolition) Act 1993, and for contravening the law by employing manual scavengers in its own civic bodies

Read more...

Coastal notification out, fresh rules likely for fishworkers

By Anosh Malekar

The Ministry of Environment and Forests has agreed to drop the proposal to replace the current Coastal Regulation Zone notification with a controversial Coastal Management Zone notification. Minister Jairam Ramesh conveyed this to a delegation of the National Fishworkers Forum that met him in Delhi recently

Read more...

Industry and communities clash in Jharkhand

By Moushumi Basu

Jharkhand went on an MoU-signing spree with industry a few years ago. Now these industries are on the back foot, facing strong opposition from local adivasis. Adivasis are not beggars, they say, rejecting the state R&R policy which requires corporations to give 1% of their annual profits to adivasi landowners whose lands have been acquired

Read more...

Breach of land laws in Jharkhand

By Gladson Dungdung

45 adivasi families were duped into selling their lands near Bokaro, Jharkhand, lured by promises of jobs in a garment factory that was never built. This is only one of thousands of cases of adivasi land alienation in Jharkhand, 100 years after the Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act prohibited transfer of adivasi lands to non-adivasis

Read more...

Creating the common wealth?

By Sujata Madhok

A survey of 450 construction worker households across 15 construction sites in Delhi and its surrounds - many of them building infrastructure for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, on which the Delhi government plans to spend Rs 7,000 crore -- reveals a squalid tale of poverty, exploitation and ill health

Read more...

No pattas, no rights

By Aditya Malaviya

Everywhere you go in Ganjam district of Orissa you meet people displaced from lands they had farmed for generations. With no land records in their possession they were displaced for development projects or forest protection. Decades later they continue to survive on forest produce, fishing and wage labour, battling the forest department every inch of the way

Read more...

'Our old life is lost, the new one never materialised'

By Aparna Pallavi

The process of relocation for Ban Gujjars living inside the Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand began in 1998 when around 1,213 families were moved to Pathri and Gaindikhatta. Ten years on, the buffalo herders have lost most of their livestock and with it their traditional livelihoods and customs

Read more...

Granite industry blues

By Bobby Kunhu

The granite industry in Rajasthan has been growing at 50% annually. But this growth has serious social and environmental costs. For one, water sources are being depleted, forcing farmers to become labourers in the granite industry

Read more...

Love's labour lost

By Bobby Kunhu

The luminescent marble of the Taj Mahal is said to have come from Makhrana, a quaint mining town in the state of Rajasthan. But though Makhrana marble can compete with the best in the world, the region is an ecological and economic disaster, thanks to the Rajasthan government's misguided mining policies

Read more...

Buying land from the rich to distribute to the poor

By Aditya Malaviya

Krishnammal and Sankaralingam Jagannathan's years of working for land and livelihood rights for the poor in Tamil Nadu has won them the 2008 Right Livelihood Prize, also known the Alternative Nobel. The Stockholm-based Foundation says the award is recognition "for two long lifetimes of work dedicated to realising in practice the Gandhian vision of social justice and sustainable human development"

Read more...

How the adivasi became a bonded labourer

By Aditya Malaviya

This is the story of Khaliya Sabar who once lived happily in the forest village of Kiribiri in Ganjam district, Orissa. And of what happened to him and 300 other families when they were evicted from the village by forest rangers

Read more...

Letter from Dhaka: A fishing tale

Bangladeshi fishermen have fished in the country's huge inland waterbodies for generations. How, in just a decade, did they come to be denied the right to fish? How and why did entire villages, their way of life, their culture, their livelihoods, crumble? Khademul Islam describes the battle over water rights

Read more...

Red-chilli magic

By Aditya Malaviya

Self-help groups in Betul district, Madhya Pradesh have a new confidence as they augment their agricultural income with small business practices such as trading in red chillies and making rooftiles

Read more...

Migrate - or starve

By Aditya Malaviya and Sushmita Malaviya

Tikamgarh, in Madhya Pradesh, has been experiencing its third successive year of drought. Migration and contract labour is the only option. These are stories of families torn apart by forced migration, deserted villages, hunger, lonely children and helpless old folk

Read more...

Losing the sand beneath their feet

By Aditya Malaviya

The black sand of Kollam district in coastal Kerala is classified as 'strategic' because it contains minerals for atomic energy and defence applications. Therefore, indiscriminate mining of the sand can continue, regardless of damage to the ecosystem and the livelihoods of people

Read more...

Trafficking women for domestic work

By Sujata Madhok

Many 'employment agencies' that are springing up in cities to place migrant women for domestic work are little more than traffickers. The condition in which these women work violates several laws including the Bonded Labour Act and in many cases the Child Labour and Juvenile Justice Act. Activists are calling for a specific law to regulate the domestic work sector

Read more...

The original migrants

The first migrations from Bihar date back to 1834. Every second family in the state today is sustained by migrants. But even as Patna feted the visit of the Mauritius PM, a Bihari by origin, thousands of Biharis were returning from Maharashtra following attacks upon them. Anosh Malekar travelled with them

Read more...

Released from bondage

By Aditya Malaviya

Nearly 5,000 Tamilian bonded labour families released from granite and marble quarries in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh by the Supreme Court of India have settled in 20 villages in Perambalur district, Tamil Nadu. They are trying to begin a new life, free from the exploitative shackles of contractors

Read more...

Corruption and patronage mark NREGS implementation in Bihar

By Juhi Tyagi

A survey of the NREGA by AMAN Trust in Jehanabad and Arwal districts of Bihar reveals that 50% of eligible households do not have access to the benefits of the scheme. Awareness of the scheme is low, only 16.5% of the beneficiaries are women, and caste/class hierarchies dominate

Read more...

A lot more boats but very little fish

By Mari Marcel Thekaekara

Three years after the tsunami there are a lot more boats in areas affected by the disaster. But yields are low and there's a new fear of the sea

Read more...

Unworkable guarantee

By Chitrangada Choudhury

Police 'rescues' are stopping thousands of farmers from fleeing western Orissa's bullock-cart economy to power the construction boom of New India. The alternative -- a grand prime ministerial job scheme to counter the annual march of this ragged army -- isn't working

Read more...

Kerala's landless dalits battle for Chengara

By P N Venugopal

In yet another confrontation with industry, hundreds of landless families - principally dalits and adivasis -- have occupied the Harrison Malayalam rubber plantation in Kerala. Claiming that the company's land lease has long expired, they are demanding 5 acres of land and Rs 50,000 for each family. A special report from the new battleground of Chengara

Read more...

Arkhakuda: Profile of poverty in Chilika

By Aditya Malaviya

Declining productivity in Chilika Lake, Orissa, has severely affected the livelihoods of this fishing community. Worst-affected are the widows of Arkhakuda, whose lives focus on the hunt for one square meal a day

Read more...

March to victory

By Jonathan Weedon

There was jubilation among the Janadesh marchers as the government announced the setting up of a land reforms committee and fast-track courts at the state level. True, the history of land reform in India is littered with broken promises and failed legislation, but Janadesh has brought land reforms for the poorest back onto the national agenda

Read more...

Janadesh: Marathon march

By Jonathan Weedon

This is a march on a breathtaking scale -- 25,000 people marching 320 km from Gwalior to Delhi, on one meal a day, sleeping in the open. These are people deprived of their land by powerful landlords, displaced by industrial projects with little or no compensation, denied access to traditional sources of livelihood. Jonathan Weedon is marching with them

Read more...

Orissa's tribals: Give us only what's rightfully ours

By Ranjan K Panda

Tribals living near the Badrama Wildlife Sanctuary in Orissa step up their demand for rights over natural resources, in keeping with the new Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest-Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006

Read more...

Getting to know her land, the hard way

By Aparna Pallavi

The widows of farmers who have committed suicide in Vidarbha struggle to keep their farms running. For them too, it could be a losing battle

Read more...

'Creative and cultural industries have the largest growth potential'

By Rashme Sehgal

With around 250 million artists and craftspersons, India is crying out for a large-scale repositioning and transformation of traditional skills for the global market. Rajeev Sethi, long-time supporter of the crafts sector, discusses his plans to do this by setting up a National Mission on India's creative industries

Read more...

Delhi's graveyard of rickshaws

By Madhu Gurung

Liberalisation works in strange ways: There is no cap on the amount of polluting motorised vehicles that can be added to Delhi's roads. But there is a quota for eco-friendly rickshaws in the city. As a result, thousands of poor rickshaw-pullers are caught in a cycle of extortion, exploitation and poverty

Read more...

Chilika: A contested space

By Sarmistha Pattanaik

As the dispute over Chilika's aquatic resources continues, violent conflicts are erupting between fishermen and non-fishermen, authorised and unauthorised shrimp culturists, and locals and outsiders

Read more...

Two crore trees and the livelihood of thousands are at stake

By Kanchi Kohli

The Chhattisgarh Forest Development Corporation is to fell millions of trees in three districts of the state. Villagers claim that natural forests are being cleared to make way for commercial plantations. These forests are their lifeline

Read more...

Endogenous tourism opens up innovative livelihood options for rural communities

By Freny Manecksha

Shaam-E-Sarhad, at the edge of the Gujarat desert, is an endogenous tourism project promoted by the UNDP and tourism ministry. Run by the Hodka community, the project aims to open up innovative livelihood opportunities for low-income rural communities and promote sustainable tourism

Read more...

Orissa's Sambalpuri weavers: From boom to bust

By Ranjan K Panda

After enjoying several years of prosperity and success, the weavers of Orissa's famous Sambalpuri sari (former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's favourite attire) have fallen on hard times. Government apathy and the closure of cooperatives that ensured the weavers stability and a good price have forced many weavers into seeking a living pulling rickshaws or working as farm labour

Read more...

Penalising clients of sex workers: Pros and cons

By Nitin Jugran Bahuguna

Will the amendments to the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act proposed by the government protect sex workers from exploitation at the hand of clients and police, or will it end up making them more vulnerable?

Read more...

Is it the end of the road for Mirzapur's famed carpet weavers?

By Rashme Sehgal

Our correspondent finds the master carpet weavers of Mirzapur are sitting along the roadside selling onions and potatoes. Younger weavers are forced to ply rickshaws or work as daily labourers. With fierce international competition and the withdrawal of state support, Mirzapur-Bhadohi's famous carpet weaving industry is quickly dying

Read more...

Jharkhand's beasts of burden

By Anosh Malekar

A few thousand haggard men from the Chutu Palu Ghati survive by pushing bicycles laden with 300 kg of 'waste' coal up the Ranchi-Patna highway. It is backbreaking work, paying them a pittance, but it's the only form of livelihood available for three-quarters of the year when there's no farming to be done

Read more...

JPL power plant: Riding roughshod over people's concerns

By Kanchi Kohli

Protests against the 1,000 MW thermal power plant in Tamnar village, Chhattisgarh, continue, even as the mandatory public hearing that is part of the environment clearance procedure turned out to be a sham. The proposed dam and the diversion of the river will submerge lands, and seriously impact the livelihoods of local communities

Read more...

Dancers in the dark

By Freny Manecksha

As three bar dancers commit suicide in Mumbai following the ban on dance bars in Maharashtra, an SNDT study busts several myths about the working conditions, backgrounds and lifestyles of these

Read more...

'The poor are the worst victims of statist control'

By Rashme Sehgal

The laws governing livelihoods in India make it impossible to pursue a legitimate occupation without being terrorised or fleeced by some government agency or the other. Liberalisation has failed to create an enabling environment for 90% of the country's workforce that operate in the informal sector, says Madhu Kishwar

Read more...

Moving fishermen off their lands: Safety considerations or dispossession?

By Krithika Ramalingam

Fishermen in some tsunami-affected regions in south India are allegedly being forced to sign documents stating that they are relinquishing their land. If they don't, they are denied government relief material. The move is ostensibly aimed at shifting them out of the danger zone and further inland

Read more...

Mining for change at the Jethwai cooperative

By Vikas Yadav

Thanks to the formation of a cooperative, miners in Jethwai village in Rajasthan can now expect a fair wage for the backbreaking work they do. The Mine Labour's Protection Campaign (MLPC), a Jodhpur-based group of activists, has set up 10 such cooperatives throughout the state to improve the lives of Rajasthan's 30-lakh-odd mine workers

Read more...

Eliminating the middleman in Bastar's Rs 1,000 crore NTFP trade

By Vikas Yadav

The Bajawand Primary Forest Produce Cooperative Society, in Chhattisgarh's Bastar district, is a model for other cooperatives. Spearheaded by an illiterate tribal woman, Kalawati, the PFPCS has witnessed greater women's participation and bypassed corrupt middlemen

Read more...

No boats and nets: The livelihoods crisis

By Max Martin

45,920 boats have been lost or damaged in the tsunami in Tamil Nadu, India. The replacement of boats and nets and the restoration of their livelihoods is uppermost in fishermen's minds. But each boat could cost between Rs 10,000-80,000. A special report on the priorities of rehabilitation from Cuddalore district

Read more...

Adrift on the Brahmaputra

By Kirti Mishra

The crisis of livelihood in flood-affected Assam has reduced former landowners to illegal foragers of driftwood from the river

Read more...

Play fair at the Olympics

By Laxmi Murthy

As athletes perform swifter, higher and stronger at the Athens Olympics, millions of sweatshop workers have been working faster, longer and cheaper to make the fashionable sportswear. International coalitions are working to draw attention to the exploitation of these workers. In India, an alternative Olympic torch was carried from Tirupur to Ludhiana and other major Indian garment-producing centres

Read more...

Mithila's women paint their way out of poverty

By Naren Karunakaran

The Bharati Vikas Manch, in Bihar's Barheta village, has been instrumental in teaching poor village women the famous Mithila genre of painting. The skill has helped transform lives and ward off poverty in many backward villages in the state

Read more...

Voices of women in prostitution

By Lalitha Sridhar

Women of the SANGRAM collective for women in prostitution in Sangli meet regularly to discuss issues and problems. All have stories to tell about their lives and their profession

Read more...

Kottans for posterity

By Lalitha Sridhar

Tamil Nadu's almost-extinct traditional basket-weaving craft survives and thrives again

Read more...

Bangalore's contract municipal cleaners battle for minimum wages

By Laxmi Murthy

Despite a Karnataka High Court order, that contract municipal cleaners in Bangalore be given the minimum wage of Rs 1,800 per month, corrupt contractors and Bangalore Mahanagara Palike officials continue to flout the laws

Read more...

Beedi workers in Chhattisgarh continue to be exploited

By Sandip Das

In Chhattisgarh's beedi-producing belt, more than 50,000 families work in the multi-crore beedi industry. Despite the laws that govern this industry, the beedi workers are paid much less than the minimum wage, have no benefits and are constantly at risk of respiratory diseases

Read more...

Scrap-collectors fight for and win a new legitimacy

By Sheba Tejani

The scrap-collectors union of Pune in Maharashtra has given waste-collectors who scoured garbage bins and collected old newspapers and bottles a new respectability and access. The municipal corporation now issues identity cards to them and offers a limited health insurance plan, recognising their contribution to recycling waste in the city

Read more...

Despatches from Choutuppal, where handloom weaver Shankariah committed suicide

By Safia Sircar

Choutuppal looks fairly prosperous, with a myriad ISD and Internet kiosks. But in this and other centres of the handloom industry in Andhra Pradesh, around 400 weavers, struggling to make a living, are estimated to have killed themselves in a single year. What is going wrong? A first-hand report by Safia Sircar

Read more...

Women workers demand visibility and a voice

By Laxmi Murthy

On March 8, 1908, women workers in the needle trade in New York marched in the streets, demanding suffrage and an end to sweatshops and child labour. Almost 100 years on, over 100,000 workers took to the streets of New Delhi this February, to register their protest against the government's anti-worker policies and the severe impact of liberalisation on women workers

Read more...

Summer of '99: The turning-point for Bastar's tribals

By Kumkum Dasgupta

With help from the district administration Bastar's tribals have eliminated the middlemen and taken direct control of trade in minor forest produce. The change in their villages since the Imli Andolan of 1999 is perceptible

Read more...

Why 9 million fisherfolk are burdened by debt

By Alka Arya

Six members of the fishing community in Udipi, Karnataka, committed suicide because they couldn't repay their debts. Two of them were women. What has gone wrong with this oldest of livelihood systems?

Read more...

Shabana:'I have the right to sell my body - and I will sell it'

By Atul Tiwari

What does it mean to be a woman in prostitution? What does it mean to sell sex? In a first-person excerpt from 'Unzipped: Women and Men in Prostitution Speak Out', recently published by Point of View, Mumbai, the feisty Shabana, who works the highways on the Karnataka-Maharashtra border, but also distributes condoms in collaboration with two voluntary agencies, opens up to the reader her world of exploitation, survival, empowerment, victimhood and choice.

The testimonies of the men and women who speak out in 'Unzipped' chip away at the myth that those in prostitution are eternal victims -- with no power to deal with the situations in which they find themselves. They also tell us that it is not just poverty that forces women into prostitution, but poverty acting in concert with gender. Until we stop marrying young girls off, until we stop burning, harassing and discriminating against young girls in ways big and small, the family will not be a safe place for young girls. The family will be a place to run away from...into the arms of a pimp, a shyster, or even a distant relative who is a gateway to prostitution.

Read more...

The beedi-rolling robots

By D S Shamantha

Despite being identified as a hazardous occupation, beedi-rolling remains extremely popular in India especially amongst women. But, hour after hour of rolling beedis (a big revenue earner for our country) takes a huge toll on the health of the beedi workers, many of whom live in unspeakable poverty

Read more...

Micro-Credit : Background & Perspective

By Laxmi Murthy

More than 10,000 micro-lending organizations are today providing loans to 25 million poor people throughout the world, most of them women. The number of these organisations grew dramatically during the 1990s, spurred by the notion of 'self-help' and a faith in the creditworthiness and entrepreneurial potential of the poor. But is the current euphoria over micro-credit missing some fundamental questions? Does micro-credit really reach the poorest? Does it really empower women?

Read more...

The bank-SHG model of microfinance in India

By R V Bhavani

As of 2010, the total number of SHGs directly linked to banks stood at 69.53 lakh, with a savings amount of Rs 6,199 crore and loan outstanding of Rs 28,038 crore, according to the recently released ‘Status of Microfinance in India’ report by NABARD

Read more...

The challenges of micro-finance in the north-east

By Anjali Deshpande

 

The model adopted in India for disbursing micro-credit to the lower income groups through Self Help Groups (SHGs) will have to be suitably modified if the eight states of the north-east are to be included in financial services, says a recent study

Read more...

Are micro-finance institutions exploiting the poor?

By Dr Sudhirendar Sharma

The high interest rates and forced loan recovery practices of micro-finance institutions have been held responsible for the suicide of several farmers in Andhra Pradesh. It is evident that poverty makes good business sense to MFIs, writes Sudhirendar Sharma

Read more...

Banking on poor women: Grameen Bank

By Laxmi Murthy

Bangladesh's Grameen Bank is credited with pioneering the micro-credit movement all over the developing world. The Bank brought credit to the poor, women and illiterate, creating a methodology and an institution around the financial needs of the poor

Read more...

International Year of Micro-credit, 2005

By Laxmi Murthy

Next year, the UN, governments, civil society and the private sector join hands to raise the profile and build the capacity of the micro-credit and micro-finance sectors

Read more...

Women's empowerment, or a debt trap?

By Laxmi Murthy

Micro lending does create a space for women. But it does not change macro structures or provide a transformative framework, says a women's group called Nirantar

Read more...

'Micro-credit improves cash flow but doesn't create wealth'

By Dr Sudhirender Sharma

NGOs, banks and corporations have benefited from micro-credit at the cost of the poor, says development analyst Dr Sudhirendar Sharma

Read more...

Now they lend money to the moneylender!

District officials and Unicef have collaborated on the Integrated Women's Empowerment Programme in Maharashtra's Yavatmal district. More than 800 women's self-help groups have been set up, helping villagers set up dairy and horticulture cooperatives and several other livelihood projects. With their new-found confidence, women are now taking charge of village education and other public services

Read more...

Andhra assembly passes bill to rein in MFIs

Following reports of harassment by loan recovery agents and suicides by defaulters, Andhra Pradesh has passed a bill to discipline microfinance institutions

Read more...

MFIs must have their own code of ethics

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee hints that the government does not intend to regulate interest rates in the microfinance sector, but that state governments were well within their rights to regulate lending practices

Read more...

MFIs lay small-debt trap in Andhra

Microfinance institutions in Andhra Pradesh are being scrutinised as the state government admits to over 20 suicides in the last few weeks due to high interest rates and coercive methods of recovery

Read more...

Microcredit reaches 133 million, says Microcredit Summit Campaign

A new report claims that more than half a billion people could be benefiting from microcredit around the world, but that the microfinance movement was in danger of becoming a victim of its own success

Read more...

India to introduce bill on microfinance

The government is working on a microfinance bill to help create an appropriate environment for the provision of such services. The draft legislation is likely to be introduced in the forthcoming budget session of Parliament

Read more...

'Banker to the world's poor' first Bangladeshi to win Nobel Peace Prize

Economist Muhammad Yunus' idea to lend small sums of money to those who couldn't get loans from banks has offered millions of impoverished Bangladeshi women a way out of the poverty trap. It gave birth to the microcredit revolution and three decades later, has won its pioneer the Nobel Peace Prize

Read more...

Micro-finance institutions lay a debt trap in rural AP

Faced with a new crisis in its rural areas, the Andhra Pradesh government is contemplating legislation to punish erring micro-finance institutions and asking banks to enforce a code of conduct on them

http://www.hindu.com/

Read more...

Grameen Bank: Where beggars are beneficiaries

Noted economist Professor Muhamad Yunus, founder of Bangladesh's world-renowned Grameen Bank, and winner of several international honours including the Magsaysay Award and the World Food Prize, speaks about the microcredit experiment

www.deccanherald.com

Read more...

Captured by cotton

The Sumangali Scheme in Tirupur and Coimbatore districts lures young girls – often minors and dalits -- from impoverished areas of Tamil Nadu to work in MNC garments-manufacturing units on the promise of nutritious meals, comfortable accommodation and a lumpsum payment. What they actually encounter is poor work conditions, low wages, restricted freedom of movement, and limited privacy, says a study by SOMO and ICN

Read more...

Poor income in informal sector drives majority of sex workers into flesh trade: Survey

Excerpts from the findings of a recent pan-India survey of sex workers by Rohini Sahni and V Kalyan Shankar suggest that a significant number of women move fluidly between other occupations and sex work, and that the lives of sex workers cannot be reduced to simplistic binaries

Read more...

Pluralism and the bauls

By Kalyani Chaudhuri

Mimlu Sen writes about Bengal’s famous baul singers and their pluralist visions of the world with depth and humour, and the immediacy of an insider. The bauls’ simple way of life is under threat from urbanisation and consumerism

Read more...

Give rural poor control over ecosystems to fight poverty: WRI report

With proper management and the incentives that come with control and accountability, ecosystems could generate enough income to lift the rural poor out of abject poverty, says a new report by the World Resources Institute

Read more...

The voices of the millworkers of Mumbai

By Sanjay Iyer

'One Hundred Years One Hundred Voices' is a strong and sprawling history of Mumbai's textile mill district and its 1.3 million people, now displaced by the consumer civilisation

Read more...

Vishvakarma's children struggle to break into the new economy

By Enakshi Ganguly-Thukral

A review of two books that examine the lives, craft and challenges of India's craftspeople today

Read more...

Subcategories