They hit back, "and it felt good"
A public hearing on NREGA in a remote village in Bihar created a confrontation between a leader accused of corruption and the workers who exposed him.
Human Rights | Bihar
November 2010

MGNREGA payments: bad to worse?
To check corruption, the Centre is routing funds through banks and POs. But this has resulted in delayed payments and loss of faith in the system.
Public funds
July 2010

From fields to a BPO in 6 months
A first-of-its-kind women-only BPO started by 'Harva' in a Haryana village is all set to harness the rural talent while changing the rigid mindset of the people.
Work&Life | Haryana
May 2010

Plugging the skills gap
There is a great shortage of people with employable skills. But vocational training is neither popular nor seen to be offering good job options.
Education Policy
March 2010

A new twist to social audits
The district administration in Bihar's Araria district collaborates with a local people's organisation to conduct a social audit of the NREGS.
RTI | Bihar
January 2010

Making visible the invisible
It is relatively easy to legislate laws regarding domestic workers, as Maharashtra has just done with its recent bill on their welfare. But it's not that easy to change attitudes.
Kalpana Sharma | Labour
January 2009

NREGA: A fine balance
With better wages from the rural work guarantee, the bargaining power of the weakest has gone up a notch. NREG work has been a lifejacket in the flood waters of the price rise. And no other program has had the positive impact on distress migrations that it has achieved. P Sainath reports.
P Sainath | Andhra Pradesh
July 2008

NREGA hits buses to Mumbai
The rural employment guarantee programme is life-saving. This time round, the poor have slightly more money than they did earlier. But all prices are up.
Employment | Andhra Pradesh
July 2008

Social audit of jobs programme in UP
A unique strength of the NREGS is that citizens have the right to oversee its implementation, by direct scrutiny of its records. Sandeep Pandey provides daily updates on the progress of the social audit of the scheme in UP's Unnao district.
Uttar Pradesh
May 2008

Regulating domestic work
The Domestic Worker's Bill, if passed, will be an important step toward securing the rights of a large chunk of the unorganised workforce. But as with all laws, the real test of this legislation will be in its implementation, writes Anuja Agrawal.
Women and Laws
May 2008

Two classes, two unions
At the Guwahati IOC Refinery, labour is divided between organised and unorganised workers, with social and cultural factors at play too. How do the unions handle complex issues? Is there a workers unity? Sriram Ananthanarayanan digs deeper.
Assam | Society
March 2008

From silence to voice, taking stock
How have SHGs empowered Indian women? What does the Global Gender-Gap Report 2006 say about Indian women? These questions and many more were addressed a recent international conference at Bangalore. Shoma Chatterji has more.
January 2008

Lives strangulated by needle and thread
27-year-old Ratnamma, a garment factory worker, was forced to deliver a baby on the streets of Bangalore. 20-year-old Gayathri was run over by the bus belonging to the Bangalore garment factory where she worked. Garment workers in Bangalore are caught in an exploitative web, reports Padmalatha Ravi.
May 2007

Wages of meddling
By and large, poorer and badly-run states like Bihar and Orissa have seen higher inflation resulting from the NREGA windfall, while in the better-off states with less money flowing in through the scheme, inflation is much lower. Clearly, meddling in markets will show up in ways that are not necessarily all good, writes Sunil Jain.
March 2007

Villagers push for work benefits in Orissa
The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) is being implemented in Orissa in stops and starts. But by pressing for information on NREGA benefits using the sunshine law, citizens are able to hold officials accountable and are able to remedy the situation by themselves in some cases. Pradeep Baisakh has more.
Human rights | Orissa
February 2007

It's been a hard day's night
Hundreds of women in Maharashtra's Gondia district travel from small towns to the villages to earn a daily wage. Unlike most migrants, they are footloose workers from an urban setting seeking work in the villages. At stations along the way are labour contractors, waiting to pick up workers on the cheap. P Sainath reports.
P Sainath
February 2007

An independent voice for workers
With their long history of affiliation to political parties, unions have been unable to articulate the interests of workers independently. Also, a narrow understanding of labour has made them irrelevant to the majority of workers in the unorganised sector. A new formation proposes to tackle these failures. Aparna Pallavi reports.
April 2006

Beyond the Clemenceau's recall
The recall of the decommissioned French warship Clemenceau back to France in the wave of protests worldwide opens a great opportunity for India to clean its ship breaking yard in Alang, and improve conditions for its workers. A thorough assessment of the facilities at Alang is much needed, notes Ramesh Menon.
Environmental hazards | Environmental regulation
March 2006

The high cost of 'easy' foreign exchange
A new sop came into effect for net-foreign exchange earning businesses in designated export zones from February 10 -- a 15-year income tax holiday. But are the costs of the revenues foregone worth the claimed benefits of more investment and jobs? M Suchitra examines the reality and does not find a rosy picture.
March 2006

GDP planning: number crunching won't do
The budget reflects our continued affliction for numbers and the GDP growth rate. It also follows the Prime Minister's insistence that planners shoot for higher growth rates, especially on the back of an economy that has surprised everyone. But, asks Sudhirendar Sharma, will the juggling of numbers do it?
Employment | Poverty | Guest column
March 2006

Bureaucracy stands in the way of benefits
Most villagers in U.P.'s Hardoi district, except for a miniscule few associated with social or political organizations, were not aware of the passage of the new Employment Guarantee Law last year. Since then, its coming into force in 22 districts of U.P. has not impressed them either. Sandeep Pandey notes why.
Rural government | Employment | Hunger | U.P.
February 2006

French court rules, Clemenceau recalled
Ruling on a petition by French environmental groups and Greenpeace, France's conseil d'Etat (Supreme Court) suspended the decision to send the decommissioned warship Le Clemenceau to India for scrapping. Three days before his arrival in India on a brief visit, President Chirac ordered the recall. Gopal Krishna finds out more.
Environmental hazards | Labour
February 2006

Too little, for too long
Minimum wage regulations continue to defy the very meaning of what the wage is for. The original premise - wages for people to live with minimum level of economic security, as well as dignity - is gone, its spirit lost in myriad variables that rise from states, sectors, bureaucracies and notifications. The India Together editorial.
Editorials | Opinions
February 2006

Minimised by the law
Neither the protections of law nor interventions by the Supreme Court have ensured adequate minimum wages for the jobs performed by tens of millions of unorganised workers. Kathyayini Chamaraj reports on a recent survey by a Bangalore-based group showing how far below fair standards these workers have been pushed.
February 2006

A new coalition backs garment workers
Even if activists and trade unions in India succeed in pushing up wage scales in the garment industry, manufacturers are likely to point out that with higher labour costs and hence billing, the high profit global retail buyers would shift their business to cheaper nations like Bangladesh or Indonesia. Is there a way out? Anuja Mirchandaney finds out more.
Working women
February 2006

An autonomous NREG Agency needed
The current shape of government is too distributed to tackle the scale and complexity of the rural employment guarantee. A National-level autonomous body should be created solely for implementing the NREGA, and this agency should have the necessary authority, in addition to the responsibility, to manage the implementation, says Trilochan Sastry.
Guest Opinions
January 2006

Junkyard justice at Alang
The Clemenceau has set sail for India, and the spotlight is on the ship-breaking industry at Alang, where workers' safety takes a last-row seat and owners operate without fear of regulatory enforcement or punishment. Ramesh Menon writes that the toxic cargo presents an opportunity to reverse this tide of disgrace.
Hazards | Gujarat
January 2006


- Gearing villages up for entitlements
- Far from labouring the point
- Into the maze of the EGS scam
- Enterprising labour of small vendors
- Silicosis: a dusty tale in Rajasthan
- EGA bill in Parliament
- Special Exploitation Zone
- The class war in Gurgaon
- Lawmakers push for work entitlements
- 'Regularly' employed in Chingrajpara
- Everywhere, yet invisible
- The hamaal: weightlifter or pack mule?
- Sewers becoming death holes
- EGA sabotaged?
- Entitling 40 million rural workers
- Alang : costs of shipbreaking
- Weavers of Panipat
- Handicrafts and shifting designs
- Migrant labour, migrating debt
- Orissa's labour industry
- The shadow economy
- Women becoming farm managers
- Is there a right to strike?
- Driven to bondage and starvation
- Diamond Point: auctioning dignity
- Organising inside the home
- Livelihoods : the numbers tell
- Unemployment and migration
- At home, at work
- In the name of servitude
- The mother-land market