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

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Recycling the Urban

The paper explores the interfaces of urbanisation, settlement practices, and issues of labour migration and displacement in contemporary Kolkata. It starts with interrogating a historical narrative of urbanisation and zoning practices in the city in the 1960s and picks out few threads which still seem relevant in studies of contemporary modes of urbanisation. It studies in some detail the practice of "thika tenancy" in the Kolkata slums--the most prominent site of habitation of the migrant workers in the city. It challenges the hypothesis of the "bypass model" of urbanisation in Kolkata and introduces the concept of "urban recycling," which facilitates a continuous juxtaposition of displacement and accumulation of human and other resources as part of the urbanisation process.

Importance of Landowning Non-cultivating Households

There is an increasing importance of landowning households that do not cultivate and a significant presence of urban households owning rural land, which constrains the growth of the agrarian economy, as such households have low incentives to invest in agriculture, and tend to use land for residential purposes, reducing the cropped area. Agricultural labour households tend to lease in land and become cultivators.

Killing Them Silently

Compensating workers dying of silicosis is an important legal breakthrough.

Agrarian Question in India

Using the latest National Sample Survey Office data on land distribution and use, questions of agrarian change in India are revisited. With reducing landholding size in general, the increasing unviability of such small plots, and increasing numbers of "effectively" landless households, the larger questions of employment and sectoral shifts are flagged. There is still no clear transition away from agriculture.

Tales of Bhiwandi

Bhiwandi, the power loom town close to Mumbai, is reeling from several challenges that threaten its existence. Labourers, power loom owners and local people, predominantly Muslims, are struggling to cope with the financial and logistical problems of the power loom industry.

Narratives of Health and Well-being

This paper deliberates upon the physical body of labourers as well as their health and well-being in order to reveal the contradictions in the state's discourse of national development and defence. Narratives of and interviews with the imported casual paid labour working on the Manali-Leh highway as for the Border Roads Organisation show us that illness, death and injury accompany the dangerous work of building roads in the high altitude of the upper Himalayas. The "unskilled" or "disposable" labourer is never able to accumulate additional utility or human capital even after many years of experience. His only capital--the body--is treated as a disposable and inanimate piece of machinery that loses its value in order to generate value for the nation.

Occupational Health and Safety in India

In light of the focus on the manufacturing sector it is important to scrutinise the existing occupational health and safety provisions in Indian law and their implementation. This article argues that the current disregard for workers' health and safety could prove costly in the long run, and any growth in manufacturing must entail a clear practicable system to ensure occupational health and safety for workers.

Performance-Based Incentives of the ASHA Scheme

A study of Accredited Social Health Activists in Shahapur taluka of Maharashtra, a drought-prone adivasi-inhabited area, shows that the remuneration of ASHAs is a growing concern both for them, as well as their families. Recognising their contribution to public health services, the government should provide fixed payment to them, beyond which task-based incentives should continue to be given, though at a revised rate. The current system of remuneration is making it difficult for ASHAs to meet their family's needs and the community's expectations. Further, payment and reimbursement procedures need to be simplified.

Recycling Mill Land

From the perspective of Mumbai's economy, the controversy over developing land of the closed textile mills is linked to the decline of manufacturing and the rise of services. This has pushed skilled labour into the informal sector resulting in the dramatic reduction of their income, which has also pushed them into informal housing. How should a city cope with such a process in terms of the impact on the economy, employment, land use and environment?

Worker Politics, Trade Unions and the Shiv Sena's Rise in Central Bombay

The Shiv Sena's rise from the 1960s was assisted in large part by its ability to effectively channel emotions based on identity. It was the mill areas of central Bombay that formed the battleground for different political parties as they fought for representation of the class that had played a key role in shaping the city's destiny. Whereas the actions of the left parties were limited to the workplace, the Sena, through its shakhas, ensconced itself in the neighbourhood and rather than radical worker concerns took up emotive issues relating to livelihood and identity that played up the image of the deprived Maharashtrian.

Mode of Labour Control in Colonial India

From the late 19th century onwards, managing agency firms acquired a firm control of most cotton, jute and other mills as well as tea gardens and local mines, while looking at processes of labour control in the Bengal jute mills, the coalfields of Bengal and Bihar and the cotton mills of Bombay and Ahmedabad, this paper probes deeper into the dichotomy that prevailed as industrial capitalism first set up roots in India, for while policy decisions relating to wages, technology, etc, was vested in the managing agency system, disciplining of labour took place at the shop floor and in workers' neighbourhoods. Further, these middlemen, jobbers and agents came to exert overweening influence in the 'culture of coercion' that was thus established.

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