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

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Labour Laws for Gig Workers in the Context of Labour Law Reforms

In an attempt to incorporate the doctrine of universalisation of social security, the gig workers are brought into the ambit of the labour laws for the first time, with the provision of some welfare measures under the Code on Social Security, 2020. The three other codes are silent on the policies towards gig workers. While the codes are yet to be implemented, there are many questions pertaining to the clarity of the codes and how to implement them effectively to meet the intended objectives.

Weather Woes: Climate Communication and Social Protection in the Indian Heat Wave

Excess heat emerged as an influential element in recent weather communication about India. Drawing insight from scholars, who have expressed the need to examine the commodification and communication of scientific research, we argue that ‘heatwave’ reportage derived from ‘fast event attribution’ seek to make climate science, usable for businesses and public policy making. We show that central to recent policy documents, that focus on heat, is advocacy for the structural transformation of national economies by shifting labour from agriculture and construction to services. The classification of labour as ‘outdoor’ and ‘indoor’, in heat-policy, reduce the responsibilities of governments from providing comprehensive social protection to disadvantaged working population to: warnings and advisories and bio-surveillance of working and migrant populations. Climate knowledge produced and disseminated in this form individualizes risk and diminishes public responsibility towards the protection of least advantaged groups. Such translations raise concerns for climate justice as they displace enriched understandings of human-environment relationships that should underpin environmental governance and social policy.

Bodies in Waiting

Reflecting on the burgeoning field of feminist media histories and contemporary debates around Shanta Apte’s films, protests, and writing, along with sources that bring narratives from different women in the film industry, this paper argues that such discussions enable us to rethink questions of gender, creative labour, characteristics of film work, and the industrial milieu. This permits a shift in the focus of study to subjects of waiting, legal battles, and writing and considers evolving labour geographies produced by the migration of cine-workers to examine the problems of creative labour.

COVID-19 and India’s Ongoing Migration Fiasco

Drawing on empirical research with migrant populations, this article identifies four interlinked issues critical to understanding and addressing the contemporary migrant crisis that unfolded in India in the wake of COVID-19. These are (i) labour market segmentation by class, caste, and gender; (ii) inaccessibility of urban housing and services that challenge urban survival; (iii) differential access to documentation, which shapes the hierarchies of citizenship; and (iv) ineffective data that lets migrants slip through the gaps of welfare provision.

Emerging Pattern and Trend of Migration in Megacities

Rural-to-urban migration, particularly between states, towards megacities continues to contribute to their overall growth, although the trajectory of migration is shifting towards smaller cities. Based on analysing the census figures from 2001 to 2011 and the National Sample Survey Office data,...

The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Formal Sector Crisis in IT and ITeS

The information technology and information technology-enabled services sector in India have largely been opaque, with little known about its social profile, work conditions, and office culture. The sector hides its everyday workings behind massive revenue figures and the number of jobs in the organised sector it has created. What slips through the cracks is the precarious nature of these permanent jobs and the shocking ineffectiveness of employee protections. These vulnerabilities, built into the employment and work culture of the sector, acquired a nightmarish quality during the COVID-19 pandemic. With most IT companies being forced to shift their employees to work-from-home formats, it is crucial to study how these vulnerabilities have affected the latter. This paper draws upon media reports, a short online survey, and telephonic interviews to highlight the working conditions in the IT and ITeS sector, the experience of working from home, and the overall state of its permanent employment.

Before the Gig Economy

Studying Delhi’s radio taxi industry, this paper traces the transitional process of traditional taxi services in the capital to radio taxi services and finally to the current app-based taxi aggregators. The radio taxi companies ruptured old kinship ties and informal relations with a combination of technology, surveillance, and finance—a process app-based taxi aggregators have further refined. There is also an account of the labour struggles in the industry that preceded the advent of the platform economy.

Iron Ore Mines in Jharkhand

The many provisions granted under the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 remain elusive when the absence of a direct employer–employee relationship mars their rights and chances of a meaningful work life. The article reviews the contract labour system as maintained in an iron ore mine in Jharkhand.

The Sraffa Canon

A Reflection on Sraffa’s Revolution in Economic Theory edited by Ajit Sinha, Palgrave Macmillan, 2021; pp xxv+ 601, ₹ 14,821 (hardcover).

Inflation, Debt Sustainability, and Government Borrowing in the Time of the Pandemic

Public borrowing is essential to garner resources to combat the current pandemic. The ability to do so and adhere to the standard norms of debt sustainability will be harder for developing economies as compared to the developed, due to constraints, both structural and policy-induced. High food infl ation and the adoption of infl ation targeting will impose severe constraints on the ability to expand borrowing and maintain low levels of debt-to-GDP. In such a situation, governments must either rethink monetary policy and/or allow for debt ratios to rise.

Housing for Migrant Workers

With there being almost no housing policies for lower income migrant workers in the country, Kerala has attempted to address this problem by introducing a state-level housing policy called Apna Ghar. This article examines the policy’s effectiveness by exploring the “housing–work” relation in the existing housing sub-markets in Kerala’s Ernakulam district, in which the residential typologies inhabited by such worker groups are examined as to their economic affordability, service/amenities adequacy, workplace accessibility and ease of renting/shifting habitations.

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