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

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State of Inequality in India

Recommendations of the new state of inequality report do pose the challenge of implementation.

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.

Caste and Labour Market

This paper estimates the extent of discrimination in employment, occupation and wages against the Scheduled Castes and its impact on poverty in urban regular salaried labour market in recent years. Discrimination in employment and wages is found to be very high in private sector and lesser in public sector. Discrimination in employment and wages leads to reduced wage income which enhances poverty of the discriminated group. The finding calls for policy reform in both private and public sectors to ensure non-discriminatory access to SCs in employment and wages.

The Continuing Saga of Women’s Work during COVID-19

This paper employs a social reproduction framework to argue that the two main institutions of capitalism—the markets and the state—have failed to adequately provide for the working people of India during the pandemic while fostering gender inequities. While the demand for gender equity in the domestic sphere and the workplace is not new, the pandemic further underscores its urgency.

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.

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