Narratives of Daily Wage Workers Across Mazdoor Mandis (Labor Markets) of India During a Pandemic : Observations from an Ethnographic Survey in Cities of Lucknow and Pune
25 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 24, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing vulnerabilities associated with the social, political and economic dimensions in everyday lives of citizens across the developing world. While the economic crisis induced by the pandemic has impacted lives-livelihoods across all working classes, the unorganized ‘informal’ work force is exposed and marginalized to a much larger degree as compared to all other groups. With 90 percent of India’s workforce absorbed by the ‘informal’ sector, the abrupt curfew-style lockdowns had a devastating impact on workers across states last year (in 2020). In this study, we look at the specific case-and context- of casual daily wage workers, who, given the extreme vulnerable nature of work, faced the maximum brunt.
This chapter focuses on assessing the socio-economic impact of the lockdown on the urban families of daily wage workers in identified cities of Lucknow and Pune. We conducted a temporal analysis: the pre and post lockdown (when the lockdown restrictions were moderated) impact on the income and expenditure patterns of daily wage (migrant) workers. The findings from the survey highlights how the absence of social security-based safety net, and given the informal nature of work, exposed most workers to greater unemployment, lower wages, and increased indebtedness.
Keywords: Pandemic, Daily Wage Workers, Migration, Informality
JEL Classification: J01, J46
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation