Indian Journal of Labour Economics

Published by Springer-Verlag
Online ISSN: 0019-5308
Publications
Article
This paper investigates the evolution and structure of wage inequality among adult male workers engaged in regular and casual wage employment in India during a period of radical economic change. The analysis exploits data from nationally representative employment surveys and uses decomposition techniques to examine the role played by educational achievement and industry affiliation. This paper finds that there are striking differences for the two groups of workers. Wage inequality rose between 1983 and 1999 among regular workers but fell among casual workers. While human capital (as embodied in age and education) is one of the major factors explaining both the level of and change in regular wage inequality, geographic location is the key determinant of casual wage inequality. Industry affiliation plays an equally important role for both sets of workers. These are also consistently the most important contributors to changes in inequality though the directional effects differ among the different sets of workers.
 
Article
Earning differentials in labour market leads to multidimensional aspects of deprivation and disadvantage. While the ‘deprived’ are excluded from participation in society, such exclusion may also cause deprivation. In economic terms, disparity in labour markets has far-reaching consequences because of its impact on earnings and asset creation. In this paper we look at earnings differentials across social groups in the Indian Wage Labour Market. The results indicate that the share of the Excluded Groups - SCs, STs, and OBCs - in Wage Employment is lower than their corresponding share in population and their shares in Wage Earnings are even lower. Earning ratios has been continuously declining, most sharply in the 2000-05 period. The share of these Excluded Groups in the Top Wage classes is also negligible, with most of them concentrated in the Bottom Wage class. Upward mobility from lower to higher wage classes is low for these groups compared to others, thereby increasing the disparity between the groups. Skewed Occupational Distribution and predominance of Casual workers among the excluded groups are major reasons for such disparity. Earning differential is pronounced both in the economically lagging and advanced states and a rise in disparities in the post-reform period indicates that high growth-high private investment-tertiary sector boom is creating new divide in the society in terms of deprivation and discrimination. As discrimination leads to disparities in capability formation and ownership of assets, the excluded groups are unable to participate in the growing economic affluence and are being increasingly marginalized. Inclusive growth strategies and participatory development programmes with substantial local-global synergy is the need of the hour to combat earning differentials in labour market.
 
Article
This paper examines the recent decentralization of governance in Indonesia and its impact on local infrastructure provision. The decentralization of decisionmaking power to local jurisdictions in Indonesia may have improved the matching of public infrastructures provision with local preferences. However, decentralization has made local public infrastructures depend on local resources. Due to differences in initial endowments, this may result in the divergence of local public infrastructures in rich and poor jurisdictions. Using data from village-level panel surveys conducted in 1996, 2000, and 2006, this paper finds that (1) local public infrastructures depend on local resources, (2) decentralization has improved the availability of local public infrastructures, (3) local jurisdictions are converging to a similar level of local public infrastructure, and (4) to some extent, decentralized public infrastructures' provision reflects local preferences.
 
Article
The informal manufacturing sector (IMS) in India has been a major part of the economy. Whether its growth is due to entry of people in distress, or whether it is a vibrant and growth oriented sector is debatable. In this paper, the growth dynamics of IMS in India over the period 1984 to 2000 is explored with special reference to the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) and plausible factors determining the growth pattern are sought to be identified. This growth is observed to be neither smooth nor uniform. The IMS cannot be labelled either a distress driven sink or a dynamic alternative economic avenue in blanket term as existence of both the segments are detected. While sustainability of the distress driven segment is questionable, the dynamic segment is likely to act as the engine of future growth. Distinctly different sets of policies are recommended for the two different segments of IMS.
 
Article
By far the larger part of the contemporary Indian economy - judged by measures as disparate as GDP and livelihoods - is not directly regulated by the state. It is regulated through social institutions. Social institutions express forms of power not confined to the economy. Macro-economic policy is implemented through their filters. In this paper some propositions derived from a large primary literature concerning the roles of gender, religious plurality, caste, space, class and the state are introduced. Liberalisation is argued to increase the tension between forces dissolving social forms of regulation and those intensifying them.
 
Article
This paper offers a critique of recent empirical studies on the impact of labour regulation on industrial performance in India. It begins with a review of earlier studies that tried to infer the effects on manufacturing employment of amendments to the Industrial Disputes Act (IDA) in 1976 and 1982 that required government permission for layoffs, retrenchments and closures, and shows that the results are ambiguous. It then criticizes the widely-used index of state-level labour regulation devised by Besley and Burgess (2004), and the econometric methodology they use to establish that excessively pro-worker regulation led to poor performance in Indian manufacturing. Several recent studies that have used their index are also surveyed. Finally, the paper reviews other evidence, pointing in a very different direction, on the actual enforcement of labour laws, labour flexibility, and industrial employment. Throughout, attention is paid to the crucial role of judicial interpretation of the IDA, which has been neglected in this literature.
 
Article
Globalisation has proceeded at an unimagined pace in the last few decades. While it has resulted in high growth of global income, questions are raised about the equity of such growth. Disparity seems to be aggravating, as globalisation seems to be depressing the labour market. Unemployment is rising, both absolutely and as proportion of labour force, especially in developing regions. Elasticity of employment is low and falling further. Whatever little employment expansion is occurring is mostly vulnerable in nature, remuneration levels are scanty, and working poverty is substantially high. Using a Globalisation Index, it is observed that except the developed countries, pace and levels of globalisation are affecting the labour market negatively. Employment growth and elasticities are lower in regions that have had rapid globalisation. Institutional mechanism and improving social security for workers must therefore precede global integration of the economy.
 
Article
The role of Eritrean women in thirty years war of independence brought major changes and reflects in the present demography and economy of Eritrea in the development arena. Their participation in the economy contributes to local production and income by filling the gaps left by men who died in the war or who have left the country and settled in different parts of the world. Despite the growing importance of women for the formal economy, jobs and self-employment opportunities available to women are still clustered in low-productivity and/or low-status industries. To cope with the growing number of female-headed households, Eritrea needs to increase the earning potential of women. This paper indicates that providing women with education at secondary or tertiary level is one way to go. This paper deals with, why Eritrean women are entering into the labour markets: one, family ties and control of women is weakened due to absent men and increasing divorce rates. The second, there is a shortage of male breadwinners. The third, growing education levels increase their earning potential.
 
The Coverage Ratio (realised) by various Welfare Funds
Administrative expenses of the Welfare Funds as percentage of total welfare payments, 1992-93
Article
This paper examines the evolution of the institution of `Welfare Funds' for informal sector workers in the State of Kerala in India. The Kerala experience, which is now thirty years old, reflects what the workers in the informal sector could achieve in countries like India given the contemporary political context and the democratic political framework of the State. But it required sustained collective action on the part of the workers. The paper finds that while the Welfare Fund Model of collective care arrangements for the informal sector workers in Kerala showed considerable innovation in its design and organisation, its functioning is embedded in the bureaucratic system giving rise to a number of problems. Even then the Model offers a minimum of social security to the informal sector workers who are unprotected. Therefore the question of replicating this Model with suitable modifications to other States in India as well as to other countries, where there are no social security arrangements for informal sector workers, is worth pursuing.
 
Article
Increasing returns to skill is often attributed to the rising relative demand for skilled workers driven by advancement in skill-complementary technology. In the context of India this paper argues that fluctuations in skill-premia in different sectors are primarily because of the shift in the relative supply of skilled labour that has hardly any relation to technological advancements. In the long run the paper argues that there seems to be little possibilities of endogenous growth in technology outpacing the rising supply of educated workers because of the existence of large labour reserves. Hence, conjectures such as increasing spiral of demand and supply for skilled workers mutually determining each other, often conceived in the context of developed countries do not hold in countries such as India.
 
Article
Rural Non-farm Employment(RNFE) has been gaining considerable importance in developing economies to overcome the problems of unemployment, underemployment, rural poverty and urban congestion. However, till date, no systematic study on the rural non-firm sector has been undertaken in India's North Eastern region. This paper is the result of a study undertaken by the author in the remote state of Arunachal Pradesh to fill this gap. The study reveals that, (a) there has been a continuous shift in rural economy of Arunachal Pradesh in favour of non-farm employment during the period 1971-1991, (b) in the RNFE category, transport, storage and communications, constructions, non-household manufacturing and trade & commerce have become the dynamic sub-sectors of employment generation, (c) agricultural growth via consumption induced demand has played a significantly positive role in increasing the magnitude of RNFE in the state. The study underscores the importance of policy initiatives towards the modernisation of agriculture and development of transport and communication for the full realisation of the potential of employment generation in this sector.
 
Article
This study applies Granger causality tests within an error-correction framework to analyse the relationship between female employment and fertility in six South Asian countries. Of the six countries, we only find evidence of a co-integrating relationship between fertility and female employment for the Maldives, where in the long run, female employment Granger causes fertility. This differs from previous results for developed countries. Our findings for the short run are broadly consistent with the findings in previous studies with either uni-directional causality running from female employment to fertility (three countries) or bi-directional causality between the variables (two countries). The one exception is Sri Lanka, where there is neutrality.
 
Article
It is generally believed that the compensation of workers employed in the organised sector in general and public sector in particular is not necessarily linked to their economic contribution in the productive process. It is accepted that most the enterprises belonging to the organised sector follow efficiency wage criterion to achieve their organisational goals. In the public sector enterprises, it is widely believed that the relationship between wages and their productivity get eroded; as the workers are better organised and enjoy a higher proportion of non-wage component in their compensation packages. The advantage is earned because of their capacity to earn rent as a consequence of lobbying for better compensation packages. Thus in organised sector; wage rate (w) is higher than what it would have been in neo-classical market clearing model. The link between wages and productivity is established through two routes-marginal productivity theory and efficiency wage theory but in different directions. To find the inter-relationship between wages and productivity, public sector enterprises have been selected for the period 1974-75 to 1995-96,because of the growing concern about their inefficiencies. Granger and Akaike tests of causality have been used to find the causality between wages and labour productivity. The empirical analysis finds a feedback relationship between the two asserting that wages causes productivity and productivity causes wages.
 
Article
Using data on the Indian manufacturing sector, which cover the years 1994 to 2006, the study assesses the labour productivity elasticity with respect to public infrastructure. Since earlier studies have merely examined the effect either on the total factor productivity (TFP) growth of the manufacturing sector or on the national income of the country and widely neglected direct effects on the labour productivity of the manufacturing sector, the present study attempts to fill this gap. Second, this study tests the panel variables for unit roots and show that they exhibit the unit root process. This is a highly significant finding because most investigators have applied Ordinary Least Square (OLS) or Generalised Least Square (GLS) to non-stationary (panel) variables, thereby generating spurious results. Finally, in contrast to most of the previous studies, this article utilizes the methodologically sound Dynamic OLS (DOLS) procedure to generate consistent estimates of the relevant panel variables in the co-integrated production function. The results of our analysis suggest that infrastructure does affect labor productivity in India. Its effect on labour productivity is positive, nonetheless very small. Finally, the labour productivity is found to be more sensitive to private capital than to public capital.
 
Article
The informality discourse is large and vibrant, and is expanding rapidly. But there is a certain conceptual incoherence to the literature. New definitions of informality compete with old definitions leading to a plethora of alternative conceptualisations. While some individual studies may apply a tight definition consistently, the literature as a whole is in a mess. This article proposes that informality and formality should be seen in direct relation to economic activity in the presence of specified regulation(s). Relative to the regulation(s), four conceptual categories that can help frame the analysis are: (A) regulation applicable and compliant, (B) regulation applicable and non-compliant, (C) regulation non-applicable after adjustment of activity, and (D) regulation non-applicable to the activity. Rather than use the generic labels 'informal' and 'formal', it would be preferable if the analysis focused on these four categories (or even more disaggregated as appropriate). A central determining factor in the impacts of regulation on economic activity across these four categories is the nature and intensity of enforcement. While lack of enforcement is well-documented, an understanding of its determinants - why and to what extent a government would not enforce a regulation that it has itself passed, and why non-enforcement varies from one context to another, is relatively neglected in the literature. Thus, specificity on regulation and on enforcement is the key to achieving conceptual clarity in the analytical literature and in the policy discourse on informality.
 
Growth Rates -Simple exponential method
Article
The paper aims at finding out an empirical relationship between real wage rates and employment levels in the Indian public enterprises. It finds that the expected negative relationship between the two do not exist in the fifteen years of the pre reform era but is found in the post reform fifteen years. The wage share has also reduced rapidly over the years indicating a possible weakening of trade unions in the sector.
 
Article
This paper examines the changes in the size, composition and growth of the workforce in Kerala during the years 1993-94 to 2004-05, using the aggregate National Sample Survey data. Comparable estimates are also presented for India. The average annual employment growth rate in Kerala is lower than that in India. The primary sector's share in total employment has declined more sharply in Kerala than India. The secondary and tertiary sectors together accounted for 63.31 per cent of the workforce in Kerala in 2004-05 as compared to only 42.6 per cent in India. The available data also reveals a sharp growth in regular salaried employment and a reduction in the share of casual labour in Kerala and India during the given period. The employment elasticity of output is computed and the projections of employment growth are made for Kerala.
 
Article
In the absence of virtually any study on the impact of the global crisis (2008-09) on informal workers, a quick study was conducted on the impact of the crisis on small producers and informal workers in selected sectors. This was followed by another study in one of the sectors (that is, the diamond industry) two years after the crisis to assess whether any lessons have been learnt by policy-makers for protecting workers from the severe impact of such a crisis in the future. This paper presents the findings of the studies. After discussing the major impacts of the crisis and the lessons emerging from the first study as well as the prevalent scenario in the industry after two years, the study observes that though the diamond industry, and particularly large and medium producers, have learnt lessons for strengthening its position, not much attention has been paid towards addressing the interests of small producers and labour. This implies that if a crisis were to recur, they would suffer in the same way as they did in 2008-09. The study also raises questions about the validity of the growth path that the country has chosen, particularly with regard to treating exports as a major growth engine, and about the advantages of globalising at the lowest end of the value chain, wherein the control or the decision-making power lies in the hands of global production networks located in developed countries and wherein cut-throat competition results very poor quality of work. The study concludes that neither have these questions been addressed nor have any significant steps been taken to protect the interests of informal workers by either the Central or the state government.
 
Article
This article aimed at evaluating whether the increase in termination fines for the Brazilian Government Severance Indemnity Fund for Employees (Fundo de Garantia do Tempo de Serviço–FGTS) (amendment No. 110/2001) from 40 per cent to 50 per cent, concerning employees dismissed without just cause, has affected the dynamics of dismissals in the Brazilian formal labour market. Data from the Social Information Annual List (Relação Anual de Informações Sociais–RAIS) 2001–2002, descriptive and econometric analyses using fixed effects panel data and quantile regressions for panel data suggested that passing the amendment 110/2001 helped reducing dismissals without just cause. This may also have contributed to reduce possible “agreements” or “collusion” between the employee and the employer to the employees gets the benefits that he/she is entitled to when get fired without justification.
 
Article
The paper is contextualized within the framework of Private Employment Agencies Convention 1997 (No. 181) adopted by ILO on regulation of private placement agencies. On the one hand, these labour market intermediaries or placement agencies have offered diverse employment opportunities and also have potential to deliver services like skilling of jobseekers. On the other hand, if left unregulated due to lack of regulatory mechanisms may lead to labour market irregularities including exploitation of jobseekers. Based on data collected through a primary survey of placement agencies and jobseekers in Delhi and NCR, the paper attempts to understand the recruitment practices of private placement agencies in India and the challenges in regulating them. The paper is divided into five subsections where the first section of the paper deals with introducing the private placement agencies vis the convention 181. The second section of the paper deals with a brief outline of the convention 181 and its role in regulation of private placement agencies. The third section of the paper tries to understand the ratification process across countries and how the regulatory regimes of different countries have embraced policy measures to address the issues and concerns which come forth with the emergence of the private placement agencies. The fourth section provides insights into the recruitment practices of the private placement agencies in India based on the data derived from the primary survey. The last section of the paper finally tries to arrive at some of the policy recommendations on regulation of private placement agencies.
 
Article
Platform business models emerged with the growth of the Internet in the 1990s and are conceptualized as two- or multi-sided markets, as they facilitate exchange between service providers, clients (business) and workers. This article focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on digital labour platforms, such as freelance online web-based platforms and location-based platforms (transportation and delivery platforms), which have grown exponentially over the past decade. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed immediately some of the vulnerabilities that the workers in the platform economy were facing as they were declared as part of the ‘emergency services’, and this note explores their conditions during the pandemic.
 
Article
This paper takes stock of the cash assistance provided by the government to construction workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the role of the state construction welfare board has been crucial, some existing issues related to boards and challenges emerged during the crisis have also been discussed. Results show that cash benefit through direct benefit transfer has partially helped workers to overcome their financial distress, but 65% workers did not receive any benefit due to various issues related to registration and seeding of bank accounts with Aadhar. Sluggish process of registration has been a major issue which is being addressed by different mechanisms, but results would be known later. Proper cess collection and its utilisation is still an important issue as 61% of the cess collected in 2019 was not utilised. Even during the crisis, 15% cess was used at most in direct benefit transfer and in-kind (food distribution) support. Majority of the states are running a number of welfare schemes, but the coverage is poor despite proper guidelines set under the Model Welfare Framework of the Ministry of Labour and Employment. The objectives of Mission Mode Projects are appreciable, but the outcomes are not known even after the completion of deadlines. Above all, the emerging issues of maintaining health and hygiene at worksite and living place and getting vaccinated are major challenges for the sustainability of the construction sector. Hence, a collective effort of the government, employers, and workers’ organisations is the need of the hour.
 
Article
The 68 days of lockdown in India, as a measure to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulted in an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, unlike any other in the world. In the first half of the lockdown, migrant workers were stranded with no food and money with severe restrictions on movement when a mass exodus of workers back to their hometowns and villages began. In the second half, the workers’ woes were compounded with a series of chaotic travel orders and gross mismanagement of the repatriation process. In this article, we draw on the work of Stranded Workers Action Network (SWAN) with more analysis and perspective. SWAN was a spontaneous relief effort that emerged soon after the lockdown was announced in March 2020. In addition to providing relief, SWAN concurrently documented the experiences of over 36,000 workers through the lockdown. We highlight the inadequacy of the government and judicial response to the migrant worker crisis. We present quantitative data elaborating the profile of workers that reached out to SWAN, the extent of hunger, loss of livelihoods and income. We also present qualitative insights based on interactions with workers and discuss multiple, non-exhaustive, dimensions of vulnerability to which migrant workers were exposed.
 
Article
Covid-19 has ushered in a renewed focus on health, sanitisation and, in unexpected ways, on the need for productive employment opportunities in rural India. MGNREGA, the rural employment guarantee programme, has had a mixed track record in terms of providing adequate employment to those who need it the most, the quality of asset creation and adequacy of wages offered. This paper makes a case for reorienting a small portion of MGNREGA spending to create micro-entrepreneurs out of the 'reverse migrating' masons, electricians, plumbers and others in rural areas who can directly contribute to augmenting health and sanitization infrastructure in the likely new normal. This will provide relief to those whose livelihoods have been severely impacted and eventually lower dependence on public finances. We propose approval of a new work type for sanitization works without any hard asset creation under MGNREGA and roping in the private sector for its project management skills to quickly skill up the returning migrants as well as to match work with workers on an ongoing basis.
 
Article
COVID-19 has disrupted the Indian economy. Government-enforced lockdown to restrict the spread of infection has impacted the household economy in particular. We combine aggregates from national income accounts and estimates from the microdata of a labour force survey covering more than 0.1 million households and 0.4 million individuals. The aggregate daily loss to households is USD 2.42 billion. While loss to earnings accounts for 72% of the total, the rest 28% is wage loss. Service-based activities account for two thirds of wage loss, and natural resource-based activities are responsible for most of the earning loss. The dominance of informal job contracts and job switching in labour markets intensifies this, with the most vulnerable group consisting of 57.8 million in casual engagement, who have a high degree of transition from one stream of employment to another on a daily basis. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s41027-021-00352-8.
 
Article
There are varying estimates of loss of GDP due to the lockdown during the pandemic. Our interest is in the income loss and suffering of the workers and their households and the compromises they make to survive the crisis. Forecasts and estimates are useful. However, policy-making also requires a deep dive down into the micro-context of who, what, where, why and how, in a disaggregated fashion, to reach and benefit the concerned workers and enterprises. In this paper, I touch on some of these micro-issues concerning enterprises and workers and certain short-term and medium-term strategies for revival of the economy.
 
Most migrant workers responded that their
Labourers' perception about the impacts of lockdown on their livelihood
Article
The lockdown during the first phase of COVID-19 pandemic in India triggered an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Labourers in the informal sector lost their jobs overnight and were stuck at their work places. The present study examines the risk of COVID-19 transmission among stranded migrant labourers and their livelihood challenges during the lockdown. A telephonic survey was conducted during the lockdown of first wave of COVID-19 pandemic to collect information from the stranded migrant labourers. The non-probability snowball sampling technique and structured questionnaire were used to draw the sample. Simple frequency distribution and standard statistical methods were used to accomplish the study objectives. The factors of COVID-19 transmission such as poor housing, co-morbidities, poor practice of WASH and COVID-19 precautions were significantly high among the migrant labourers. The lockdown created livelihood crisis among them. For instance, ration shortage (86%), financial distress (82%), reduction of wages (13%), job loss (86%) and anxiety for COVID-19 infection (81%) were often seen. Many of the labourers did not receive any ration kits (30%) and financial assistance (86%) during lockdown. The governmental assistance to overcome the stranded migrant labourers’ challenges during lockdown was less than desirable. India needs to frame a sustainable and effective policy for social security for labourers, particularly in emergency situations.
 
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic has put pressure on the informal sector, especially in developing countries. Regarding the case study found in Yogyakarta Special Region (Indonesia), this research focuses on workers in the informal sector with the following objectives: (1) to assess the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on informal workers’ conditions, (2) to identify their strategies for surviving the crisis, and (3) to analyze the existing social safety net to support their livelihood. This study surveyed 218 respondents who worked in the informal, non-agricultural sector. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistical techniques. The results confirmed that most respondents underwent a decrease in working hours and incomes. In general, they have particular coping mechanisms to survive. The results also found that most respondents had high hopes for social assistance to stabilize their livelihood. Several government programs had been issued, either by improving policies before the pandemic or by creating new ones. However, there were many barriers and challenges to implementing them so that some recommendations had been suggested in this study to help the informal workers to become more resilient.
 
Emigration from India and GDP Growth of GCC Countries. Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook (various years) for GDP growth rates; and e Migrate, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, for emigration clearances
Sample distribution by year of arrival in Saudi Arabia and months already worked
Article
While the wide-ranging impact of COVID-19 on incomes and livelihoods of people around the world will take some time to become known and understood, it is already clear that those who are in manual, mostly low-wage, occupations are among the worst-hit workers. This paper uses data from a sample survey of migrant workers to come up with useful parameters for estimating the potential losses from possible retrenchment of migrant workers due to the pandemic. The paper employs a simple estimation model using parameters derived from data collected from a KNOMAD-ILO survey of low-skilled migrant workers in the India–Saudi Arabia migration corridor, conducted during 2016–2017. An important finding is that the aggregate losses that low-skilled Indian workers in Saudi Arabia are likely to incur due to COVID-19-related retrenchment may be as high as 21% of their expected earnings. Adding recruitment costs can push up their losses to 36% of expected or potential earnings, while the aggregate remittances to their families could drop by USD 2 billion.
 
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the world into an unprecedented crisis and uncertainty, calling to expedite the implementation of the Centenary Declaration. It called upon constituents to pursue ‘with unrelenting vigour its [ILO] constitutional mandate for social justice by further developing its human centred approach to the future of work’. It called for putting workers’ rights and the needs, aspirations and rights of all people at the heart of economic, social and environmental policies. The international community and ILO’s constituents have engaged in a collective endeavour to tackle the devastating human impact of the pandemic, but more is needed.
 
Internal migration and gendered patterns in India. Source: Mahapatro, 2020
Reasons for not availing government schemes at the time of lockdown. Source: Sapkal, Shandilya and Suresh 2020
SDG indicator 1.3.1: percentage of population in Asia and the Pacific covered by at least one social protection benefit (effective coverage), 2015 or latest available year. Source: ILO, 2017; Annex IV 1
Article
This paper examines the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on migration. The rapid spread of the pandemic caught countries across the world off guard, resulting in widespread lockdowns that clamped down on mobility, commercial activities and social interactions. In India, the pandemic precipitated a severe ‘crisis of mobility’, with migrant labourers in many major cities seeking to return to their hometowns. Their desperate attempts to return home by any means available rendered the lockdown ineffective in several areas, prompting clashes with authorities, last-minute policy relief and, eventually, the arrangement of transport measures. This paper aims to shed light on the vulnerability of India’s internal migrants in terms of their mobility, gender and mental health. In addition, it critically analyses the limitations of public policy in addressing migrants and suggests recommendations for the way ahead.
 
Article
The Coronavirus pandemic has induced a huge economic crisis. The norms of social distancing and consequent lockdown to flatten the curve of this infection has brought economic activity across the globe to a standstill. A mass exodus of workers from major urban centres of India to their native villages started. Mental, financial and emotional agony inflicted due to job-loss, lack of job and livelihood opportunities led to this. A massive macroeconomic crisis for the country with serious ramifications has consequently exploded. The present study explores and captures the diffusion and discovery of information about the various facets of reverse migration in India using Twitter mining. Tweets provide extensive opportunities to extract social perceptions and insights relevant to migration of workers. The massive Twitter data were analysed by applying text mining technique and sentiment analysis. The results of the analysis highlight five major themes. The sentiment analysis confirms the confidence and trust in the minds of masses about tiding through this crisis with government support. The study brings out the major macroeconomic ramifications of this reverse migration. The study’s findings indicate that a concentrated joint intervention by the State and Central Governments is critical for successfully tiding through this crisis and restoring normalcy. The subsequent policy measures announced by the government are being critically gauged. In addition, the authors have proposed measures to ameliorate this damage on the formal and informal sectors.
 
Regular means of commuting to workplace (%)
Frequency of metro usage by age cohort of working women
Metro connectivity and frequency of using the metro
Job permanence and frequency of metro usage
Challenges of Delhi metro for women (%)
Article
Availability of safe, reliable and affordable public transport facilitates access to work opportunities. This relationship between transport and economic independence is not gender neutral. Delhi’s Metro Rail Network marked a milestone in this regard as it provided a gender-sensitive means of mass transit with specific facilities for women passengers. However, the onset of Covid-19 pandemic, followed by restrictions on mobility and change in working habits, brought the urban public transport network to a standstill. Given this background, the paper explores the impact of Metro Rail Network on the commuting pattern and preferences of working women in Delhi-NCR region as well as the travel-related challenges faced by women that were magnified during the pandemic.
 
Top-cited authors
Ravi Srivastava
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University
K.P. Kannan
Jeemol Unni
  • Ahmedabad University
Bishwanath Goldar
  • Institute of Economic Growth