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

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Labour Market Changes in India, 2005–18

Unemployment among the young increased sharply as the gap between labour absorption and labour supply widened in India during 2012–18. During this period, the non-agricultural sectors—industry, construction and services–were unable to absorb the rising supply of young adults who were potential job seekers. The growth of rural incomes and rural construction jobs slowed down and manufacturing employment declined by one million jobs. Women responded to the labour supply—demand mismatch by withdrawing from the labour market altogether. The jobs crisis among men aged 15 to 29 years was acute, as they comprised 68.3% of all the unemployed in India in 2018.

Irrigation Development and Agricultural Wages

Irrigation impacts agricultural wage trends through increased demand for labour, cropping intensity and shift in the cropping pattern from low value crops to high value crops. An attempt is made here to explore the relationship between irrigation development and wage rate of agricultural labourers using statewise cross section data pertaining to five points of time: 1972-73, 1977-78, 1983, 1987-88 and 1993-94. The results of the study show that there is a positive impact of availability of irrigation on real wages of agricultural labourers. Also irrigation helps to narrow down the difference between the statutory minimum wages and prevailing wage rates. The gender wage differential is found to be narrowing at a faster rate in the states where irrigation is highe

Industrial Policy and Performance since 1980: Which Way Now?

Since 1980-81, manufacturing sector output has grown at 7 per cent per year, with economic reforms making little difference to the trend in the 1990s. But growth has decelerated over the last seven years, after peaking in 1995-96. Why is this so? The reforms have narrowly focused on policy-induced restrictions on supply, ignoring the demand constraint due to the cut in public infrastructure investment since the late 1980s, and indifferent agricultural performance in the 1990s. These issues have to be squarely addressed to revive industrial growth, and to reap the benefits of the investment boom in organised manufacturing in the last decade.

Stagnation and Revival of Kerala Economy

The existing literature treats the migration-remittances phenomenon as something which has tended to moderate the influence of the crisis in the Kerala economy since mid-1970s. In sharp contrast, the present paper is an attempt to bringing in the question of migration and remittances to its rightful place within the structure of the regional economy. The study attributes the stagnation in the commodity producing sectors since the mid-1970s to the 'resource movement effect' and 'spending effect' associated with the migration-remittances boom.

Light Shines through Gossamer Threads

Gender relations in some adivasi (tribal) societies are relatively more egalitarian than among other communities but enormous changes are now taking place in their resource base and livelihoods. How does this affect the women's spaces in the domestic and public spheres? This paper explores the process of change as a scattered semi-nomadic group of adivasi foragers come together to form a village settlement. Focusing on one family, and one woman among them, it reflects upon whether and how an indigenous democratic fabric and relative gender egalitarianism may be retained in the face of structural changes in the adivasi life worlds. Using a personal narrative, shaped by different 'dialogical levels', the paper traces the dialogical stages through which the 'story' unfolds. It suggests that the narrative as a qualitative research tool may be used to interrogate women's political spaces and to bring the family into development discourse.

Perception and Prejudice

This paper presents a theoretical framework to analyse the impact of information and the epistemic reliability attached to this information, on the investment choices made by households when allocating scarce resources within the family. Excess female mortality in India has been attributed to the poor economic returns women generate in the labour market, as well as certain inherent cultural and religious beliefs, which prejudice female survival chances greater than those of males. The authors argue that it is this cultural and religious fabric in India that influences the way in which uncertainty about the outcome of investing in boys or girls is perceived. The result may be an over-reaction - in terms of investment - to positive information about male prospects, and vice versa, an under-reaction to positive information about female prospects, thereby exacerbating the survival differential between males and females. Policy-makers should not only increase the opportunities for females to contribute economically, but they should ensure that these policies are long-term in nature - and not politically motivated - and are well communicated.

Labour, Market Linkages and Gender

This paper, through a study conducted in a village in Tamil Nadu, analyses the labour-use patterns and determinants of labour absorption in a mixed farming system. It looks at the inter-relationship between agriculture, labour and market linkages in terms of skills and wages. The strong role of hired women labour in agriculture, cropping patterns and market linkages have been given a gender perspective. The impact of the employment on the intra-household power relationship has also been discussed.

Daily Labour Market in Delhi

This essay is a micro-empirical study of the daily labour market in Delhi. Based on a sample of workers from the job 'squares' in the city, it shows that the labourers in this market represent pauperisation of the peasantry rather than a migration of choice for better wages. Almost none of the workers possessed any awareness of the labour department of the state government, or about unions. Also, most of the labourers had no rational expectation of a formal sector job.

Financial Markets, Human Resource Policies and Flexibility

Financial systems that are bank-based such as in Germany and Japan employ an internal strategy of managing human resources via job ladders and screening whereas in market-based systems such as in the UK and the US an external strategy where recruiting and laying off occurs as demand changes and market signals help set wages. India is a bank-based system that in the organised sector till recently followed the internal strategy of managing employment. But as product markets are liberalised and firms face increased competition, the ability to pass on the costs of worker privileges such as job security diminishes depending on the state of capital markets. The new epoch of competition based on the use of more flexible technologies and forms of work organisation thus calls for job enlargement and multiskilling and in some cases rearranging employees rather than recomposing the tasks they perform.

An Informalised Labour System

The textile mill closures in Ahmedabad cost over 1,00,000 jobs, and resulted in the informalisation of a vast majority of the sacked workers. Gujarat can thus be understood as an experiment for trying out what will happen to state and society under a policy regime that does not attempt to harness the most brutal consequences of a market-led mode of capitalist protection. The total eclipse of Gandhian values has also led to the shrinking of the social space needed for humanising economic growth.

Economic Consequences of Gujarat Earthquake

Even though the impact of the earthquake on the Gujarat's GSDP may not exceed a quarter per cent, it presents many challenges. Putting in place a proper policy framework may not only restore normalcy in the region, but can start a recovery boom. Estimating the loss from the earthquake is important for devising policies and drawing up requirements for assistance both from within and outside India. However, given all the limitations of the data, firm estimates of losses from the recent quake will take time to compile. In the interim, quantification is critical for designing relief and rehabilitation packages and implementing them before the onset of the monsoon. This paper is an attempt to estimate the economic impact of the earthquake.


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