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

Badri Narayanan GSubscribe to Badri Narayanan G

A Note on Labour Flexibility Debate in India

A Note on Labour Flexibility Debate in India BADRI NARAYANAN G There is a great deal of debate on labour flexibility and labour reforms in India. Most of the arguments in the debate are well known and Shyam Sundar (EPW, May 28, 2005) gives an excellent review of them. The objective of this note is not to review the various arguments once more or update the literature review but to explain a few major points that have not been considered explicitly in the article and in many other papers addressing the issue of labour reforms.

Questions on Textile Industry Competitiveness

Questions on Textile Industry Competitiveness BADRI NARAYANAN G The large amount of literature examining the phasing out of MFA quotas in the Indian textile and apparel sectors, including Hashim (2005), on which this comment is based, seems to be lacking in a few essential aspects. To begin with firstly, despite the fact that the Indian garment sector consists primarily of a huge unorganised sector, almost all of these research articles are based on the data from Annual Survey of Industries or some other sources covering mostly the organised sector. Secondly, most research articles do not take into account the probable imposition of new non-tariff barriers in terms of labour and environmental standards in a post-MFA regime, in which case the benefits arising from the removal of quotas might be neutralised or at least mitigated. A closely related point is that immediate labour reforms, called for in most papers, may, in fact, act against the compliance with such international standards, leading to long-run losses. Thirdly, despite various costs involved in credit disbursement under the TUFS scheme, it is seen that the number of applications rejected are very few, rendering the recommendation of easing the process of credit disbursement somewhat redundant. These points have been dealt with at length in this comment, in addition to a few specific observations pertaining to Hashim (2005).

Heroes, Histories and Booklets

The new emergence of the educated and politically conscious middle class of dalit-bahujan origin in UP and Bihar active in writing, propagating and publishing literature, with a view to creating awareness among the backward classes coincides with the rise of bahujan politics through the early 1980s. The emergence of new heroes in literature and hitherto neglected and ignored traditions is related to the need to acquire self-respect and social acceptance. But in its search for identity, dalit-bahujan literature, by propping itself up as counter-literature, also seeks realisation by a negation of brahminic literature.
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