Social Security for Migrant Labour in India: An Overview

Migrant workers continue to face endless issues choosing to work in different States and cities, especially since they are mostly employed by the unorganized sector. Migrating from their hometown to an urban area in search for better opportunities puts them in a vulnerable position where they are forced to fend for themselves in less than substandard working conditions and subject to being exploited for very little money. Many migrant workers who engage in seasonal work are often trapped in debt or bondage. In order to ensure decent livelihood and standard of living of such a huge chunk of the population, the need to have a sturdy legislation upholding their rights is of utmost importance for the overall development of the economy. (more…)

India’s COVID-19 Challenge: Assessing Health Services’ Response to a National Crisis

The most developed countries, despite their vast and advanced health care facilities still cannot effectively deal with the COVID-19 situation without a top-notch approach in policy making and implementation, as is the case with the USA. More importantly, there is a strong need for action to ensure that these policies do not hinder the extension of the non-COVID related health services to avoid an even worse state of public health. (more…)

The Draft Social Security Code, 2019: Illusion of Benefits for India’s Workforce?

By Abhiudaya Verma, Research Associate, Policy

With layoffs and pay-cuts starting in various firms all over the world, most economists are of the view that the economic crisis due to corona could be as bad as the 2008 financial crisis and that recession is inevitable. Experts also urged various Indian companies to avoid layoffs and pay cuts on humanitarian grounds and to provide a sense of security to their employees. But the neo-liberal world has imperilled the Welfare State values and in a pro-market economy it seems highly unlikely that firms would adopt the humane approach and face greater losses. In such times, it is the labour and social security laws that provide relief to the workforce of the country. The Government of India aims to bring a new labour legislation that would merge 44 labour laws under four categories– wages, social security, industrial safety & welfare, and industrial relations. The recent Social Security Code Bill, 2019 is one among the four consolidated laws.  (more…)

The COVID-19 Challenge: Tackling the Policy Plague of Social Inequalities

By Anushka Gutte, Research Associate, Policy

In late December, 2019, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission of China reported a number of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, Hubei province. Surfaced in the Chinese seafood and poultry, it was soon identified to be the novel corona virus. As of this writing, the corona virus outbreak has caused over 4 million cases and over 200,000 deaths worldwide. India reported its first case in Kerala on 30th January, 2020, a student from Wuhan. Since then India has reported over 70,000 COVID-19 cases. Over the last three months, India has taken multiple actions in terms of investments in healthcare, vaccine research, testing to deal with the ensuing pandemic. However, these are inadequate at social fronts, especially in a country like India where issues of social inequality are of utmost importance. (more…)

Access to Clean Cooking Fuel in India: Aspiring for Gas Pipeline while struggling for LPG

By Anushka Gutte & Mrigakshi Tandon, Research Associates, Policy

In May 2016, the government launched the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana that aimed at providing 5 crore Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) connections in the name of women of the Below Poverty Line (BPL) household. Research suggests that only 18 percent of rural households in India have access to LPG as cooking fuel, whereas the rest use different, more tedious, unclean and hazardous means for cooking. Moreover, access to LPG connections is largely limited to the urban and semi-urban areas covering the middle income and affluent households. People belonging to BPL category or rural areas have little or no access to these connections. They predominantly use ‘chullahas’ where they burn wooden sticks in the stove for cooking, which makes these families, especially the females therein, vulnerable to harmful fumes. (more…)

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020: A Progressive Starting Point with Enough Room for Change

By Anushka Gutte, Research Associate, Policy

On March 17, 2020 the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha through a voice vote. The Bill seeks to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 by primarily proposing four changes. The Bill comes at a time when unsafe abortion is the third-leading cause of maternal mortality in India and a number of petitions have been made to amend the Act. (more…)

Bride Trafficking: Policy Interventions for an Under-Reported Plague

Bride trafficking is the illegal industry of purchasing brides as a property for due consideration. Organized traffickers sell girls and women as brides who are conned into a life of abuse, exploitation and slavery. Be it Haryana, Assam or Rajasthan, the Indian “Bride Bazaar” predominantly flourishes in parts of the country where the sex ratio is abysmally low and poverty stricken families are reluctant to spend on the dowry and marriage of their daughters. Unfortunately, there are no significant laws and policies to wrestle bride trafficking and its accompanying human rights violations in India. (more…)

Legal Journey of Section 377- A Relentless Battle of Expression and Recognition

By Abhiudaya Verma, Research Associate, Policy

The legal fight in Singapore against Section 377A of Singapore Penal Code, which can be called a close counterpart of the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), is set to go further. On March 30th, 2020 the High Court of Singapore dismissed the plea to declare section 377A of Singapore Penal Code as unconstitutional. While upholding the law that criminalises homosexual activities between males in Singapore, the country’s Supreme Court judge also made few remarks in the Indian context saying ” I am unable to agree with the reasoning of the Indian Supreme Court given that the court appeared to have accepted a wider meaning of what constitutes “expression”, extending beyond verbal communication of ideas, opinions or beliefs”. The Indian Supreme Court on 6th September, 2018 ‘read down’ Section 377 of the IPC, making consensual sexual activity between adults no longer a criminal offence, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. For a country like India where public decency and morality plays a major role in deciding judgements, it was a fairly long and tough legal battle for arriving at this historic judgement. We have tried to trace the origins and the path that this legal battle took against Section 377 by enlisting a brief  history of its legal journey. (more…)