Workforce that continues to be exploited, invisible 

The study investigated work conditions of such workers at Mongolpuri and Buddh Vihar in north west Delhi in 2017.

Published: 05th December 2018 04:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th December 2018 04:32 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Shocking statistics, which though should not come as a surprise, emerged in the latest India Exclusion Report of the Centre for Equity Studies, which was released here on Tuesday.

Children below 15 years and girls who often are left to discontinue their studies as they are engaged in different types of works in small scale sector across the National Capital emerged. Kids are engaged in work that requires lesser skill as compared to other jobs.  

The study investigated work conditions of such workers at Mongolpuri and Buddh Vihar in north west Delhi in 2017. The fourth edition of the report throws light on the role of the state in combating widespread exclusions, injustices and exploitations.The state continues to be oblivious of the reality with these marginalised workers remaining invisible from the ambit of ‘productive labour’.

Then the report maps different kinds of occupation, which the workers were found to be employed in. It charts 40 works, including assembling switches, plugs, bulbs, beads and glass work, stitching, embroidery, making rakhis, bangles, bindis, rubber-cutting, keychain and brush-making, sticking price tags on branded garments and packaging toys, according to the report.

While Delhi’s minimum wage for unskilled workers is Rs 538 per day, the ground reality showed a different picture with per day earnings for a household varying between Rs 50 to Rs 250, depending on the kind of work. The conditions remain appalling for such workers as they are mostly engaged in the manufacturing sector and have little control over the pricing, said the report. The other drawback is the workers got paid on the basis of per piece. In several cases, the entire household is involved in these activities. 

The gender divide in home-based work was evident with a majority of women being involved in these works. In the case of men, they were mostly self-employed. Workers suffered from poor health with workers complaining of chronic backaches, cuts, bruises and exposure to toxic substances, mentioned the report. Unionisation is one way forward to improve the informal workforce, it said.The recommendations of the report say bringing this work force under the ambit of labour laws, commodity chains be made more transparent, and the workers be registered and covered under the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008.

Course correction 
The report recommends bringing the unorganised workforce under the domain of labour laws, asks for transparency in commodity chains amd the registration of workers and their coverage under the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008. The report goes on to asks the state to ensure that better data is generated and disseminated in the National Statistical System — with repsect to size, spread, proportion of women, types of industry, among other crucial parameters

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