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Gig Work and Platforms during the COVID-19 Pandemic in India

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted workers globally. This article attempts to highlight the impact that the pandemic-lockdown and its subsequent cautious relaxation in India had on geographically tethered on-demand gig workers.

Influence of Virulent Nationalism on Proletarian Internationalism

This article aims to study the global trade union initiatives and their efforts besides understanding the journey of global union federations’ in wading through the forked challenges posed by globalisation on the one hand and nationalism on the other. It is not known if global union alliances are prepared to combat nationalism the way it engaged the global capital. Is the national labour movement getting enamoured and absorbed by the rising nationalism or is the independent labour movement that has gathered momentum after garnering support from transnational labour alliances getting weakened because of rising nationalism?

What Does Work-From-Home Mean for Women?

There has been near-universal adoption of work-from-home in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Does this shift have similar implications for men and women? What does work-from-home mean for different categories of women, and what are the implications of this shift in terms of class, nature of work, location of work, and degrees of informality?

Health and Nutrition of India’s Labour Force and COVID-19 Challenges

Can the “post-COVID-19 normal” emerge better for India’s food supply and demand management, with a clear goal of zero hunger? Presently contributing one-third of the global undernutrition burden, a daunting challenge that the country must overcome now is of resuming broader based economic growth with a healthy labour force. Given this, India needs a data-driven exit and post-exit strategy from the COVID-19 lockdown that will not only mitigate the immediate food crisis faced by millions of poor households, but also reduce the long-term structural bottlenecks that limit poor households’ access to food.

Gamechanger or a Trojan Horse?

The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, a key legislation in India that enables women to transcend the public–private dichotomy and stake their claim for productive participation in the labour force, saw major amendments in 2017. Four aspects of the amendments—increased maternity leave, maternity leave for adoption and surrogacy, provision of crèche, and paternity leave—are juxtaposed with feminist and constitutional principles as well as ground-level realities and practices. An increase in maternity benefits in law with a neglect of paternity leave and benefits is a lopsided approach that further reinforces gendered division of labour and care work as the domain of women. The social responsibility of employers is emphasised, and a deeper engagement of the state with the policy of parental benefits is advocated.

‘Piloting’ Gender in the Indian Railways

Women loco-pilots in the Indian Railways, although few in number, face unique challenges as they negotiate with masculine forms of labour and technology in a male-dominated work environment. While, theoretically, they are treated at par with their male counterparts, new hierarchies are created on the job when they are expected to aspire to “masculine” standards of performance and discouraged from taking up the full range of tasks designated for loco-pilots. Thus, the entry of women in loco-piloting seems to reinforce its appearance as a masculine profession, and neither is the gendered nature of the system questioned, nor is it actively challenged.

COVID-19 and the State of Labour: Current Practices Must Be Rectified In Order to Prepare for the Economic Aftermath

While most predictions relating to the economic outcomes of COVID-19 deal with plummeting stock markets and deflating domestic currencies, its effect on human labour would perhaps be the strictest.

Contemporary Urban Politics: Reflections from ‘Mulshi Pattern’ and ‘Kaala’

Kaala (2018) directed by Pa Ranjith, and Mulshi Pattern (2018) directed by Pravin Tarde, both depict the changing nature of the political economy that revolves around the ownership of urban and suburban land. The conflict arising out of the overlapping shades of caste, class and land is at the root of both the films. While Kaala is the embodiment of contemporary subaltern politics as well as its aesthetics, Mulshi Pattern is an expression of the reactionary politics of criminalisation arising out of the collective insecurity perceived by dominant castes on losing landholdings and associated privileges.

Women and Girls’ Access to and Experience of Education: A Reading List

Girls and women’s access to and experience of education is obstructed by male-preferencing power structures that guide perceptions about domestic labour, marriage, and safety.

Protection of Workers’ Wages in India: An Analysis of the Labour Code on Wages, 2019

The recent Labour Code on Wages Act enacted in August 2019 consolidates and codifies previous wage regulations under one act. However, in a country with a significant casual and informal workforce, how effective would the Wage Code be?

Dynamics of Rural Class Relations

Labour, State and Society in Rural India: A Class-relational Approach by Jonathan Pattenden, New Delhi: Social Science Press, 2017; South Asia Edition, pp xiv + 200, ₹ 850.

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