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

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Social Security for Migrant Workers during COVID-19

The unprecedented public health crisis due to COVID-19 has thrown the vulnerability of migrant construction workers into sharp relief. Most of them are not enrolled in any social protection scheme, and those who are, have been only provided with contingencies. These measures are inadequate to address the multidimensional deprivations and fundamental causes of vulnerability arising due to globalisation and a changing labour market, which has been exacerbated by the current crisis.

Essential before the Pandemic

As thousands of migrant labourers struggle to return to their homes, government officials have sought to keep them in place with promises of safety and support, and through brute force. Beyond containing the spread of the virus, preventing migrants from returning is based on the need to maintain the availability of labour for the economy once it reopens. Using the example of the upcoming harvest and planting season in Punjab, both the demand and disregard for the category “labourer” through the politics of identity, capitalism and colonial rule is traced. What this pandemic reveals, therefore, is not only the importance of the hitherto unimportant, but the ideology embedded within the language of everyday life.

COVID-19 and Dwindling Indian Federalism

One of the many effects of COVID-19 pandemic disaster is also visible on legislative, executive and financial federalism in India. The constitutional mandate for functioning of centre on behalf of states has been missed and recourse to disaster has been taken to undertake unified but unconsented measures.

Domesticity and Its Substitute

During the lockdown, the heightened burden of domestic work has been shouldered by women. This article analyses the class dimension involved in domestic work, namely the devolving of the bulk of such work by upper-class women onto domestic workers. The persistent vulnerability of domestic workers during the lockdown and its later phase is examined. The undervaluation and feminisation of paid domestic work has reinforced the gendered image of housework. In the situation of lockdown, wherein paid domestic “help” was unavailable, upper-class women were easily pushed back into gendered domesticity, proving the inadequacy of paid domestic services as a solution to mundane, back-breaking household work. The necessity of transforming the private nature of domestic work, which is more in the direct interest of workers than compared to their richer counterparts, is also further explored.

India’s Free Food Politics

Is the government’s food relief package abetting destitution rather than alleviating it?

Stay Home, Stay Safe: Interrogating Violence in the Domestic Sphere

Though India was quick to declare the pandemic-induced lockdown, how accommodative was it of the violent and gendered realities of the country?

Procedural Rationality in the Time of COVID-19

Homo economicus , the typical economic man, is a rational agent whose goal is to find the optimal solution to any problem. However, this may not be feasible in complex situations like the current global pandemic. We argue that in such environments where Knightian uncertainty plays a big role, the behaviour of countries, sectors of the economy, and individuals may be characterised by procedural rationality. Instead of focusing on the outcome, it is argued that the decision-maker draws upon similar experiences and follows a consistent procedure.

Lawless Lawmaking in a COVID-19 World

India’s management of the COVID-19 global pandemic has been marked by excessive centralisation, lawless lawmaking and non-consultative decision-making processes at the union government level. This has created an atmosphere of confusion in the management of the disease, leading to India becoming one of the global hotspots and cases fast spiralling out of the control of local authorities.

Fifty Days of Lockdown in India: A View from Two Villages in Tamil Nadu

Villagers in Tiruppur district in Tamil Nadu, India’s largest knitwear manufacturing and export hub, face different levels of hardship due to the lockdown in the wake of COVID-19. This article details the coping strategies of garment, power loom, and agricultural workers in two villages—Allapuram and Mannapalayam.

COVID-19 and Infectious Misinformation

In these times of pandemic, we are witnessing the continued dissemination of pseudoscientifi c misinformation about the disease as well as dubious claims of alternative cure. In some instances, such claims appear to be getting offi cial endorsements. Enabling people to identify unscientifi c claims and hoaxes, is the way forward to build rational immunity to halt the infectious spread of misinformation.

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