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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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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?


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


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?


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?


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


"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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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