ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Anuradha Kalhan

Consequences of Blindsiding the Informally Employed

Employment, incomes, and the bargaining power of the informally employed, who form 86% of workers in the Indian economy, have been repeatedly impoverished due to disruptions like demonetisation and the lockdown. This article presents additional evidence from a survey of the stranded interstate migrant workers, informally employed in the city of Pune. The lockdown worsened the already depressed labour markets for the informal workers, as it affected their employment, incomes, savings, and well-being. The majority of the workers being from the socially marginalised castes faced multiple vulnerabilities, along with their dependents.

Repercussions of Protracted Currency Shortage across Two Models of Financial Inclusion in India

Following the announcement of demonetisation on 8 November 2016, India saw the withdrawal of nearly 86% of the cash in circulation. This caused prolonged currency shortages and impacted employment, sales, income, loan payback capacity, savings and by extension, financial inclusion. A survey conducted among two distinct groups in Mumbai and Pune, three months after demonetisation, in April–May 2017, reveals the adverse impact of currency shortages on the incomes and livelihoods of those employed in tiny, informal enterprises. With a decline in the sales in their businesses, their income and savings fell, and so did the demand for credit.

Locked Down, Trapped and Abandoned Migrant Workers in Pune City

A survey of workers in Pune city who were waiting to go back home after the national lockdown was first announced shows their plight and living conditions. Its findings provide valuable insights on what migrant workers need and what the policy decisions regarding them should consider.

Regulation of Retail: Comparative Experience

India perhaps has the highest retail density in the world. Economies of scale drive the retail sector towards rapid growth in terms of size of outlets and dominance in geographical and product markets, posing challenges for preservation of genuine competition. Growth in size also has consequences for manufacturers, wholesalers and dealers in the supply chain who face a loss of alternative marketing/retail outlets as monopolies emerge. The growth of large format retail raises serious issues for the urban environment and town planning in dense and rapidly urbanising countries like India. The need for intelligent regulation, therefore, cannot be overemphasised.

Local Impact of Retailer-Driven Garment Supply Chains

A sample survey of the Bangalore-based suppliers of ready-made garments to Wal-Mart Stores and other corporate retailers, together with meetings with some of their workers suggests that, among other ways, these suppliers deal with the tendency of declining profit margins by paying abysmally low wages and obliging the workers to undertake unpaid overtime work. Indeed, cheap, skilled and docile labour is the main source of competitive advantage of such suppliers in large retailer-driven global commodity chains.

Impact of Malls on Small Shops and Hawkers

A small sample survey of the impact of malls on small shops and hawkers in Mumbai points to a decline in sales of groceries, fruits and vegetables, processed foods, garments, shoes, electronic and electrical goods in these retail outlets, ultimately threatening 50 per cent of them with closure or a major decline in business. Only 14 per cent of the sample of small shops and hawkers has so far been able to respond to the competitive threat of the malls with the institution of fresh sales promotion initiatives.