Work, Labour and Informality

What is the nature of informality in work in India?

Ninety three percent of the Indian workforce of 470 million work in the informal economy. A majority of them are marginalised and poor with no protection against occupational hazards, arbitrary dismissal, and have no insurance, pension or healthcare. This informality cuts across rural and urban settings, inter and intra caste arrangements. In this course, we examine the nature of informality and the life of informal labour in India. We look at four key areas: the decline of agrarian livelihoods that leads to migration; institutional factors of gender and caste; increasing informalisation of the organised sector; and globalisation. We also try and understand how dignity and equity are being addressed in the informal sector in the framework of Decent Work’, through a look at regulatory and prohibitory labour laws in India