COVID Pandemic: The Welfare State, and Informality in India’s Manufacturing Sector: A Perspective
This paper attempts to highlight the need for extending formality in India’s manufacturing sector to protect workers against any COVID like pandemic.The source of informality in India’s labour market lies in the low education and skill level in the labour force. The major databases,notably NSSO and ASI,on Indian industrial sector underlines this aspect. Among other factors, informal employment in India’s manufacturing sector increased vulnerability of workers during the COVID pandemic.In addition,absence of welfare state policies further added to their sufferings. The policy silence of the union government over suspension of labour laws in select states during the pandemic was further endorsement of informalisation of employment.While such policy interventions do not provide any hope to the informal workers,they exposed banality of the market economy policies for welfare of the workers. We argue that unless the government revives welfare state and boosts formality,India may take very long time to spur inclusive growth and resume the process of sustainable economic development.
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