Other Publications

Women and Work: Changing Scenario in India, edited by Alakh N. Sharma and Seema Singh

Women’s work and their role in the development process have emerged as an important issue in the recent decades and substantial literature has already appeared on the subject. The present volume, containing selected articles published in the Indian Journal of Labour Economics, gives a comprehensive view of the different aspects of women’s work in a country as vast and as heterogeneous as India. What makes the volume distinguishable from other works in this area is its large coverage in terms of regional variation, time trends and variety of analytical themes. The papers includes such diverse topics as historical trends in women’s employment and their ‘marginalisation’ over time, sectoral and regional analyses of women in the labour force, women and development, impact of different development programme on women, education and women’s work, women in the agricultural and unorganised sectors and women and migration. Apart from these, there are some articles on theoretical and methodological questions associated with ‘time allocation’, ‘invisibility’ of women’s work, etc.

The volume is a serious attempt to understand the multifaceted and multidimensional world of work of women in India. It constitutes a rich contribution to an issue of considerable importance and will be of much interest to social scientists, policy makers and all those who are engaged in the search and action for a better world for women.

Organising the Unorganised Workers, edited by Ruddar Datt

Organising the Unorganised Workers’ is an attempt to document efforts that are being made at various levels to organise over 90 per cent of the labour force of the country which has not been paid due attention by the national trade unions. Rural workers constitute about 80 percent and urban workers nearly 20 per cent of the unorganised workers. Among the rural workers, besides the main component of agricultural labourers, there are mainly brick-kiln workers and construction workers. Among he unorganised urban workers are those working in small units, home-based workers and a large number of self-employed workers. Within these two broad categories, also figure about 90 million women workers who are seriously disadvantaged and subordinated.

The economic reforms have pushed quite a significant number of organised workers into the category of casual labourers. The side-effects of the new economic policies have brought the agenda of ‘organising the unorganised’ to the forefront and both the NGOs and the trade unions have become aware of this hard reality.

The book has a message: The unorganised labour is not a transitory problem in a developing country like India; it will continue for a very long period. Unless the economic condition of this sector improves to a more enduring basis, poverty eradication cannot be achieved. This necessitates continuance of the struggle for the amelioration of the conditions of work of the unorganised sector.

Gender and Employment in India, edited by T.S. Papola and Alakh N. Sharma

Issues relating to the work and employment of women have engaged the attention of researchers and policy makers, especially in the past two decades. However, the subject of women’s employment still eludes transparent description, clear explanations or simple solutions.

The present volume, containing contributions from well-known experts in the field of women and employment, seeks to disentangle some of the complicated issues relating to women’s work. Starting from the conceptual and empirical aspects of measurement of women’s work with particular reference to the issues of ‘invisibility’ and underestimation of women’s employment in the available statistics, the volume examines the trends in the extent, nature and structure of employment of women, on the basis of available data (secondary and, in some cases, primary). The question of sex discrimination in the labour market and emerging challenges and opportunities for women in the changing socio-economic scenario in the wake of structural adjustment have also been examined along with analysis of likely future trends. The appropriateness and adequacy of on-going interventions, especially those relating to the promotion of employment for women, have also been examined.

The volume represents not only an exercise in methodological and empirical stocktaking but also a prognosis and an agenda for research and policy on women’s employment. Containing, as it does, contributions from scholars who have devoted a substantive part of their professional time to the subject, the volume is certain to attract the attention of researchers and policy makers.

Informal Sector in India, edited by Amitabh Kundu and Alakh N. Sharma

Recent decades have witnessed a rapid increase in employment in informal sector, particularly in the developing world India, too has experienced this phenomenon, with this sector accounting for over 90 per cent of all employment. The process has further been accelerated with the initiation of the programmes of liberalisation and globalisation since the early 1990s. The emergence of the informal sector has often been viewed as providing a solution to the growing problem of unemployment by ensuring sustainability of livelihood for large sections of the population, particularly the poor. Indeed, a significant part of the incremental employment generated in the nineties is in informal activities, both within manufacturing and tertiary sectors. And yet, it remains one of the less researched areas in the context of formulating a development policy.

The present volume makes a comprehensive effort to analyse the present trend, understand the dynamics of development and assess its implications for the workforce and the people. It overviews the conceptual and methodological issues relating to the identification of informal sector and informal workers and analyses the trends and structure of growth in recent years using both secondary and primary data. It examines the issues pertaining to wages/earnings, productivity, macro-micro linkages, etc., and attempts to determine its prospects of growth, providing meaningful employment to a large section of the workforce in future years. Aspects of discrimination in the labour market have also been covered, particularly by bringing in the gender dimension. The efficiency and welfare implications of the increasing absorption of labour force in this sector have been examined by focussing on the support system and issues relating to social protection.

The volume, in general, attempts to identify areas and avenues that can be pursued to find solutions to the problems confronting this sector and thus help in developing a policy perspective for its healthy growth.

Coming to Grips with Rural Child Work: The Food Security Approach, edited by Nira Ramachandran and L. Massun

The book is the outcome of the IHP-WFP Workshop on ‘Food Insecurity and Child Work’ held in Delhi in March 2001. Poverty, seasonal food distress and vulnerability to hunger due to recurrent natural calamities alter the lifestyles and coping mechanisms of affected families with adverse consequences on the freedom and the education of their children. However, the availability of timely support in the form of food can become the turning point of the decision to enrol the child in school as against work, to ensure regular attendance o the already enrolled children and to eventually break the vulnerable household child labour syndrome.

Part I explores this theme across space, in terms of seasonality and time-use and through the gender lens. Four papers deal with different aspects.

Part II seeks to explore the determinants of child work with a view to establishing links between child work, schooling and food security. This section contains four papers.

Regional disparities across the country remain sharp. As such, no single policy measure is likely to suffice throughout the country. Part III contains a set of six papers covering six child labour-prone states of the country.

Linking nutritional and educational poverty with the persistence of child work leads naturally to the question of the means to offset the impact of these determinants. Part IV is a collection of six papers dealing with this theme.

The last chapter seeks to answer the questions raised in the introduction based on a review of the preceding chapters, while also incorporating the highlights of the discussions at the workshop.

Liberalisation and Labour : Labour Flexibility in Indian Manufacturing, by L.K. Deshpande, Alakh N. Sharma, Anup K. Karan and Sandip Sarkar

Significant changes have taken place in the Indian Labour market after the initiation of liberalisation, globalisation and privatisation policies in 1991. In this context, it becomes important to examine the controversial issue of labour flexibility vis-a-vis economic liberalisation.

While in India there have been some attempts to study labour flexibility at the macro level, very few have been made at the micro or enterprise level. And even if there have been, the scope of the studies has not been extended the wider national labour market in order to understand how liberalisation policies have relations. This book overcomes this limitation as it is based on a comprehensive labour flexibility survey of more than 1300 firms scattered across ten states and nine important manufacturing industries, undertaken in 1999. The book examines the trends in the Indian labour market in recent years; changes in employment and the factors governing them; the extent of employment and wage flexibilities; as also the impact of trade unions on wages and industrial relations.

The book will be useful for all those interested not only in evaluating the impact of economic liberalisation and globalisation on the quantity and quality of employment and industrial relations system but also in evolving optimal labour policies in the Indian context.

Child Labour in Carpet Industry : Impact of Social Labelling in India, by Alakh N. Sharma, Rajeev Sharma and Nikhil Raj

In recent years there has been widespread reports in the media, both inside and outside the country, about the exploitation of child labour, including bonded labour in India’s carpet industry. In the wake of the criticisms, several measures have been initiated to tackle the problem of child labour in carpet production. Social labelling was one such initiative introduced in the nineties. It aims at improving the living and working conditions of the weaving community by exerting pressure on the exporters/suppliers to enforce fair conditions including prohibiting child labour in the production of carpets. This is considered to be an important intervention at the economic level, linking trade with the prohibition of child labour.

This book examines the impact of these labelling initiatives on child labour. It is based on a study commissioned by the International Labour Organisation aimed at providing an input to a global ILO-IPEC study on the impact of social labelling on child labour. Besides interviews with a cross-section of people/organisations connected with the carpet trade, it has also surveyed 35 villages spread over nine districts in four states of India. Looms in the sample villages were also covered through a structured loom survey. The different welfare and rehabilitation measures initiated under the labelling programme are also examined.

This extensive study reveals some interesting findings, including changes in the structure and pattern of child labour working in the carpet industry, which on various counts are contrary to the general perception and media reports. The book will be useful for all those involved with the issue of child labour, particularly government functionaries, social activists, development practitioners, international organisations and many others.

Children, School and Work Glinpses from India edited by G.K. Lieten, Anup K. Karan and Anoop Sathpathy

Of late, issues concerning various aspects of the lives of children have come to grab the focus of attention. And rightly so given that more than a third of the population constitute children who, after all, are the future of the country. Doubtless there is no dearth of policies that have been formulated, seminars and discussions that have taken place, funds that have been made available and NGOs that are functioning actively in this sphere. But how much do we really know about the daily lives of children, particularly the poor who live in remote villages and in the slums of cities?

Based on extensive surveys in the rural and urban areas of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi and Rajasthan and informed by a body of anthropological accounts relating to the life world of approximately 45 children, the book provides a background of and insights into their daily lives and presents their perceptions and interpretations regarding the same. At the very least, these children can be characterised as being active and applying agency in various modes. Childhood, to them, implies simultaneity; studying, participating in household chores, learning new skills, labouring hard, playing and chatting all in a day.

The observations have sprung up unanticipated conclusions. These give rise to important implications for child-centric policies and for the adoption of a duties-based approach. The book would serve as useful literature for analysis, policy and action.

Social and Economic Security in India, edited by S. Mahendra Dev, Piush Antony, V. Gayathri and R.P. Mamgain

Social security measures in India have gained much attention in the wake of increasing informalisation of the economy consequent upon the introduction of economic reforms in the early 199s. It is widely feared that this will result in a rise in deprivation and poverty as the workers in the unorganised sector lack even minimal security mechanisms necessary for social and economic well-being.
While the debates on growth-mediated or supported-led strategies remains unsettled, this volume presents an exhaustive analysis of various aspects of social and economic security in India – policies, financial allocation, implementation, reach and coverage of programmes, especially with regard to the vulnerable sections and state-level initiatives. They highlight the need for a more comprehensive and sensitive policy framework that caters to the emerging changes and trends in the economy. Though growth is a necessary condition for the efficient working of such a security mechanism, various state and micro-level experiences clearly establish the catalytic role of social and economic security in the process of overall development.

As against the conventional concept of social security, which is essentially relevant in the context of the organised sector in developed countries, this volume under-scores the need for a broader interpretation of social security in a developing country like India characterised by a high degree of deprivation and vulnerability of a large section of the population. The twenty-two articles in the volume covering a wide range of issues and experiences relating to the social and economic security system aim to invoke a renewed interest among researchers and policy-makers as well as social activists and voluntary workers in reviewing the existing system with a view to develop an alternative framework that ensures security for all.

Working Children Around the World - Child Rights and Child Reality, edited by G.K. Lieten

Pro-active policies against child labour and child neglect in general have been pursued with more public attention than ever before. Governments, NGOs and international organisations such as the ILO and UNICEF and the World Bank have well-funded departments. Policies, however, stand to benefit from detailed and unbiased research. This book fills such a gap. It provides insights at various levels: macro-policies, analytical treatment of some issues such as the magnitude of the problem, the fashionable approach of child participation, and globalisation. But the book mainly draws meticulous pictures of how the deprived children live, what it means to work for a living or to live in the streets. Case studies deal with Vietnam, India, Guinea, Bolivia and Brazil.

The papers are a good mix of social anthropology, political science and law,. The expertise of the contributors and their concern for the living word as also the concerns and expectations of the children import to this book the significance as an invaluable source of reference on the issue of child labour and child neglect.

Forty Years of the Indian Journal of Labour Economics: Index 1958-1997.

Labour and Planning, edited by Radha Kamal Mukherjee

Growth, Employment and Poverty : Change and Continuity in Rural India, edited by G.K. Chadha and Alakh N. Sharma

Children at Work: Problems and Policy Options, edited by Bhagwan Pd. Singh and Shukla Mahanty

Children at Work: Problems and Policy Options, edited by Bhagwan Pd. Singh and Shukla Mahanty

Employment and Unemployment, edited by V.K.R.V. Rao

Role of Labour in Economic Development, edited by V.B. Singh

Lockouts in India : A Case Study of West Bengal, by Ruddar Datt

Government Employees Strike: A Study in White Collar Unionism in India, edited by S.M. Pandey

Labour, Employment and Industrial Relations in India, edited by T.S. Papola, P.P. Ghosh and Alakh N. Sharma

Worker’s Ownership and Participation, edited by Ruddar Datt

The Indian Labour Market and Economic Structural Change, edited by L.K. Deshpande and Gerry Rodgers