A much needed rehaul for India’s Agricultural Policies?

Information about the Issue:

On 27th September 2020, the Government of India brought in the Farmers’ Produce and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 (hereinafter, referred to as the Act) which introduced a pivotal change in India’s agricultural policies. The Act, essentially, aims to provide freedom of choice to the farmers and traders in selling and purchasing farmers’ produce through alternative trading channels and increasing competition in the market. Thus, it allows for barrier-free trade of farmers’ produce outside the physical premises of the markets notified under the various State Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee laws (APMC laws).  (more…)

The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019: Dodged prerogatives or short-sighted policies?

Introduced in July 2019 in the Lok Sabha as one of the four Codes aimed at labour reforms, the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code embodies an amalgam of provisions relating to safety, health, welfare and working conditions of workers by a merger of thirteen major Central laws. Abiding by the constitutional guarantees under Articles 24, 39 (e & f) and 42 and in the wake of the fatalities caused by industrial accidents and inhumane work conditions, this Code assumes great significance in laying down duties and rights of employees and their employers.  (more…)

The Hour of the Basic Income

The spread of COVID-19 has exposed the inadequacy of measures nations claimed they had, to deal with a crisis. A microorganism succeeded in locking down nations, disrupting markets, and exposing loopholes in the existing policies and welfare systems.  As India wades through the stormy seas of averting a health crisis, millions are left bereft of livelihoods and safety nets. The plight of migrant workers has brought to light the true state of our social infrastructure as they were denied basic services to even get back home. 

Thomas More in his 16th century book titled Utopia wrote …provide everyone with some means of livelihood, so that nobody’s under the frightful necessity of becoming, first a thief, and then a corpse’. Since then, several humanist thinkers, politicians, billionaires and social activists have lent their support to Universal Basic Income (UBI). The Economic Survey of 2016-17 had designated UBI as a powerful idea to be deliberated upon but not yet ripe for implementation. As the Coronavirus pandemic lingers and experts are left in a dilemma in predicting a definite last date to the war against the virus, there can be no better opportunity than now to analyze the idea of UBI and evolve an appropriate mechanism. (more…)

Social Security Policies for Migrant Labour: Struggles of Data Deficiency

Coronavirus outbreak and the consequent nationwide lockdown has impacted nearly 40 million internal migrants, as per the World Bank, because of the uncertainty of their living conditions and their excludability in any specific demographic. The current pandemic saw an exodus of migrant workers, which made everybody unsure of the actual number of people who work in the informal economy. More than 90-92% of the workforce in India is informal, which directly means that they have no social and employment security.

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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…)

An Insight into India’s Wage Policies

The government’s intent to strengthen the minimum wage policies through the “Codes on Wages”, 2019 is noteworthy, but it fails to uplift the lives of the workforce as desired. Through the analysis of various wage policies of India, we can point out two major drawbacks in our present policies. One, lack of coordination among State and Central Government and two, lack of rigour on enforcement. Resolving these issues is imperative for the workforce to reap the benefits of India’s growing economy. For efficient enforcement, structural reforms in each sector are necessary as it will help employers to adapt to the changes in minimum wage policies.

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Sustainable Livelihood through Education-The Way Forward for the Northern Hilly Areas

Ever increasing consumption, rapid growth in population and modern production systems have resulted in greater demand for natural resources. Hilly areas of Northern India are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change and indiscriminate exploitation of nature, as they are rich sources of biodiversity and natural resources. In these challenging times, sustainability is the way forward for these areas and sustainable livelihood is an important component of it. (more…)

Searching for Greener Pastures: Agrarian Distress in India

By Parvathy Ramesh, University of Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh.

In the 1950s and 60s, the green revolution led to an overhaul of the agricultural sector in India. Following this period, production improved to such an extent that in the present year of 2019, India remains self-sufficient for almost all agricultural produce. However, this positive gain is offset by escalating issues of agrarian distress spread across the country – farmers living in abject poverty, low productivity compared to viable land, and growing indebtedness that result in suicide and distress migration. This distress is punctuated by headlines of death and mass protests, which leads us to examine the issues that give rise to such a wide-spread problem. (more…)

Mega Food Park: A Journey from the Soil to the Stomach

By Parth Govilkar, School of Law, University of Mumbai.

India, a land of ironies, a country not only known for farming but also for the highest suicide rate of farmers; where a farmer produces crops for the people of the entire country, but himself sleeps on an empty stomach; where a farmer sweats out his life for protecting the crops, however, he is himself unable to procure clean and potable water to drink. (more…)