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

LabourSubscribe to Labour

How Places Matter

The paper looks at the phenomenon of forced resignations in the garment industry in Karnataka during the pandemic. It demonstrates how workers’ responses to forced resignations were determined by whether they were located in the city (Bengaluru) or a small town (Srirangapatna) and calls for an engagement with the local geographies to understand the experiences of women garment workers.

 

COVID-19 and the State of Exception

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed that the shared taxis in Shillong are governed in an exception to the Motor Vehicles Act, thus rendering the lives of transport operators and users precarious. This precarity stands upon an underlining political consensus that gives power and authority to the executive to order the city even if in violation of the law that is supposed to govern it.

 

Intensifying Urbanities in Karachi

Millennial Karachi is an “intense city” with compounding precarities of varying scales. The COVID-19 pandemic has added yet another layer of uncertainty. Through an engagement with the concept of the intense city, the pandemic’s regulation and hopeful prospects in the state’s new welfare policies are considered. 

 

Pandemic Precarity

This paper focuses on the social experiences of migrant informal workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. It argues how institutions in the realms of the state, market, and civil society interacted and created conditions of precarity unique to the pandemic. How dominant frameworks that explain the praxis of entitlements fail to capture such infringement arising from the overlaps and intersections between the state, market, and civil society are highlighted in this paper. 

 

Recovery as Resilience

Drawing upon the two surveys of domestic workers in Jaipur in May and November 2020, this paper traces the contours of “recovery” from the pandemic beyond just returning to work. Instead, it argues that the estimations of recovery must have a deeper consideration of savings and debt, looks at the changes in employment dynamics, and marks the shifting bargaining capacities of workers. 

Pandemic and the City

The seven papers in this collection were developed from abstracts selected from the submissions in response to a call issued in July 2021. At the time of the call, the second wave of the pandemic was receding.

Loss of Job, Work, and Income in the Time of COVID-19

The counter-intuitive nature of the results of the Periodic Labour Force Survey 2019–20 is unravelled by arguing that in a situation of exogeneous shock, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the poor and vulnerable working people will be forced to engage in some kind of economic activity for sustaining

Changes in Uttar Pradesh’s Labour Market Outcomes

This article portrays the trajectory of Uttar Pradesh’s labour market outcomes between 2011 and 2020 based on the employment and unemployment situation and the Periodic Labour Force Survey data. It finds a deepening employment crisis in the state, worse than what is prevailing in the country; this crisis is severe in rural areas and for women, though even men, in comparison to their status in the past, find themselves in a new low. We find absolute declines in labour and workforce in the state with shrinking self and casual employment. There is an increase in regular salaried jobs, both in absolute terms and proportions. The employment crisis has affected people at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder more, marking a dangerous form of livelihood crisis in the state.

 

How Reliable Is Labour Market Data in India?

Public perception about the pattern of shock on the employment rate during COVID-19 is based on the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy data, which is widely referred to in public debates, corporate policy-making, and banking sector. The question that crops up then is how reliable is the CMIE data on the labour market? Here, the examination of the employment ratio indicator of the Periodic Labour Force Survey and CMIE is extended to two another very important labour market indicators, that are, labour force participation rate and unemployment rate, and a comparison of the PLFS and CMIE is carried out to look at their trends and association.

Reversing the Gaze

If the global South has for long been studied from afar, given its colonial history, what knowledge can reversing the gaze from a distance produce?

 

Striving for Begumpura: Traversing the Intellectual Activism of Gail Omvedt

​Writer, researcher, life-long fellow traveller of the progressive movements and long-time author with the Economic & Political Weekly, Gail Omvedt passed away on 25 August 2021. In this reading list, we present some of the highlights of her scholarship published in EPW.

Labour Force and Employment Growth in India

This study analyses the changing structure of the labour force and employment in India using the Employment and Unemployment Survey (2011–12) and the Periodic Labour Force Surveys I and II (2017–18 and 2018–19). The estimates indicate that there was a mere improvement in employment from 2017–18 to 2018–19; however, as this was accompanied by a decline in the size of the workforce between 2011–12 and 2017–18, this does not indicate recovery. The unemployment rate, especially that of youth, remains at a historic high. A remarkable decline in the share of agriculture in the workforce without a corresponding increase in the non-agricultural sector indicates a somewhat distorted structural transformation. A sizeable portion of the female population has been withdrawn from the labour and workforces. 

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