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

Renana JhabvalaSubscribe to Renana Jhabvala

Targeting to the 'Poor': Clogged Pipes and Bureaucratic Blinkers

Drawing on a household and village-level community survey of social income, this paper offers a critique of the widespread use of targeting in Indian social policy primarily through the use of the below poverty line card system, to include or exclude groups from access to subsidised goods and sometimes to public works. It argues that targeting is inefficient and inequitable. In India, this situation is largely an outcome of the bureaucratic raj, which has created a vast system of clogged pipes. While successive governments have dismantled state controls and interventions for the private sector, delivery of services, especially to the poor, is still firmly controlled by the same bureaucratic system, with its attendant problems. Given the limitations of targeting, the principle of universalism is worth considering as an alternative.

Unorganised Workers Bill

The emphasis on economic growth over social security seen in the last two decades has led to profound shifts in prevailing methods of manufacturing as well as an increasing 'informalisation' of the workforce. The proposed Unorganised Workers Bill seeks to encompass a large category of workers in the informal sector and even those who may not be directly governed by an employer-employee relationship. However, the success of the Unorganised Workers Act will depend much on how actively workers themselves are able to participate in its implementation.

The Idea of Work

This paper explores some of the different approaches to work, in particular the concepts of work that shape the thinking of many Indians. The purpose is not only to analyse what work is, but to change the concept of work. It is argued that while work is a crucial element in all societies we need a vision of what work should be like. An approach to the idea of work, based on an understanding of Indian philosophy and its interpretation by Gandhi, is presented here.

Liberalisation and the Woman Worker

Liberalisation and its after-effects has been a subject of great debate. While proponents point to the declining levels of poverty, opponents insist the opposite has happened - poverty has increased, employment opportunities and access to social services have declined. This article looks at the micro sector - the world of the unorganised woman worker and analyses the varied impact that liberalisation and globalisation has had on her working conditions. A decline in employment opportunities has seen a simultaneous 'casualisation' and growing 'feminisation' of the workforce - with concomitant ills of low wages and declining job security.

Social Security for Unorganised Sector

Renana Jhabvala In the context of the changes in the world economy and the decline of the welfare state, there is considerable debate on the need to provide social security to the informal sector. In the past there have been attempts to extend benefits which have been available to the unorganised sector to the informal sector, which has not been very successful. This paper explores these possible mechanisms for social security provisions: insurance, social security funds and state supported child care.

Minimum Wages Based on Worker s Needs

Minimum wages for unorganised workers based on their needs is an urgently required strategy for poverty removal, together with programmes to expand productive employment and social security measures covering health care, child care, housing, old age benefits, maternity benefits, etc.

Another Broken Tryst

Another Broken Tryst Renana Jhabvala In the Wake of Freedom: India's Tryst with Co-onerattves by L C Jain and Karen Celho. THIS is a fascinating and very readable book which describes the multifarious activities of the Indian Co-operative Union formed by a group of idealistic and motivated young people, soon after independence. It begins with an assessment of the possibility that in the environment of the 1990s, co-operatives may emerge as a major economic force, ln that context the experiences of the ICU would help to understand some core issues of cooperatives which would help practitioners, theorists as well as people interested in the ideas of self-help and co-operation.

Invisible Workers Reach International Heights

International Heights ALTHOUGH there is a great deal of lip- service paid to the plight of unorganised sector workers, very little is actually done for them. It is extremely difficult to organise these workers, and those organisations that have, against all odds come up usually can operate only at the local or state level rarely possessing enough clout to ensure the enforcement of National Laws to protect these workers. The Construction Workers Protection Bill, for example, has still not been enacted by parliament, in spite of countrywide agitations by construction workers and repeated assurances by the concerned minister. The Agriculture Workers Act has met a similar fate in spite of the strong recommendations of the National Commission on Rural Labour. There has been no progress on the Home-based Workers Protection and Welfare Bill, which was introduced in parliament as a private member's bill in 1989 and withdrawn on the assurance of the minister that it would actually be brought in as a government bill.
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