For First Time Since 1993-94, India’s Male Workforce Is Getting Smaller: Report

The Wire | March 20, 2019

New Delhi: The National Sample Survey Office’s periodic labour force survey 2017-18 has reportedly found that the size of India’s male workforce – or men who are working – has reduced for the first time since 1993-94.

According to the Indian Express, the unreleased report says there are 28.6 crore employed men – a decline from 30.4 crore in 2011-12, when the last NSSO survey was conducted. This downward trend is even stronger in rural areas than in urban, the newspaper reported, with a 6.4% decline in the number of employed men in rural areas against 4.7% in urban.

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The People’s Winter of Kolkata: Little Magazines and Literature Festivals

by Abhishek Bhattacharyya

GroundXero | March 15, 2019

We were standing in a group and chatting in College Square. It was a not-so-cold winter evening in Kolkata, in mid-January. The ‘little magazine’ fair was being launched with a series of performances – from plays to poetry recitations to songs. We were discussing how there were many such ‘alternative’ cultural events lined up at this time of the year, from the present event to the upcoming film festival organised by the People’s Film Collective that overlapped partially with the fair, and the People’s Literary Festival subsequently in February. One comrade in the group, who was amongst the organisers of the little magazine event, joked – you see, everyone in Kolkata remembers the “people” suddenly in winter, no one cares for the rest of the year; if only Kolkata had more of a winter, we’d probably have seen a revolution by now!Read More »

The People’s Winter of Kolkata: Film Screenings, and more

by Abhishek Bhattacharyya

GroundXero | March 16, 2019

In the first part of this article I’d discussed a little magazine festival and the People’s Literary Festival, and in this one I turn to the People’s Film Festival – to report on a number of events this winter in Kolkata, that mobilised and laid claim to a figure of the people. Weaving a report of the festival with brief reviews of some movies screened there, and quickly contextualising them within both the People’s Film Collective’s overall project, and their location within a politics of the people in Kolkata, I look at how alternative cultural formations are often thriving here, albeit with limitations. To what extent and how might such alternative spaces be ritualistic? What can be the power of such ritual performances? And where might they be exceeding familiar bounds? These are some questions I carry over from the earlier piece.Read More »

‘Don’t Be a Fossil Fool’: Hundreds Skip School to Protest Climate Change in Delhi


LiveWire | March 15, 2019

On Friday morning, more than 100 students from different parts of Delhi and Gurgaon donned their usual school uniforms.

But they didn’t go to school.

Instead, the students gathered at Delhi’s central park in Connaught Place to protest against the government’s inaction on climate change.Read More »

The Life of Labour: India’s Working Women; Workers at Statue of Unity Go on Strike

by Venkat T., Srividya Tadepalli & Thomas Manuel

The Wire | March 13, 2019

The Life of Labour, a compilation of important labour developments from around the world, will be delivered to your inbox every week. Click here to subscribe.

Agricultural Crisis

Agrarian crisis spreads to non-farm rural economy

According to a new report, the rural non-farm wage rates have remained almost stagnant over the last four years of the NDA government. After adjusting for inflation, the real wage increase in the rural economy has been at 0.5% year on year since 2014, as against a robust 6.7% in between 2009 to 2013.

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‘Made in Heaven’: The Dark Story of India’s Elite, One Wedding at a Time

by Tanul Thakur

The Wire | March 04, 2019

The closest approximation of an outsider is an amphibian. She can live on land and in water – in essence, inhabit two different worlds – but there’s a small twist: humans prioritise homes, one set of people and surroundings always feel more natural. The trick then is to figure out the unfamiliar – understand its coded language, social customs, behavioural tics – because feeling left out is a sorry embarrassment, like lip synching a song in a party you have not heard before.

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India’s Unemployment Rate Rose to 7.2% in February: CMIE

by Manoj Joshi

The Wire | March 06, 2019

New Delhi: The unemployment rate in India rose to 7.2% in February 2019, the highest since September 2016, and up from 5.9% in February 2018, according to data compiled by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) that was released on Tuesday.

The unemployment rate has climbed despite a fall in the number of job seekers, Mahesh Vyas, head of the Mumbai-based think tank told Reuters, citing an estimated fall in the labour force participation rate. The number of employed persons in India was estimated at 400 million in February compared with 406 million a year ago, he said.

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