Capturing the State of construction workers

Understanding and suggesting improvements to the life and working conditions of construction workers in India.

The Indian construction industry is the second largest employer in the country after agriculture, in addition to the direct and indirect jobs it creates. Low skilled workers are relied on in large numbers in this sector and often accompanied with exploitation, income insecurity, violation of rights and absence of legal protection, despite the growth of the sector itself. In 2020, Covid-19 and its ensuing consequences laid bare the vulnerability of construction workers as well as other informal sector workers. This is despite the fact that Government, Private sector and several civil society organisations have taken measures to improve the working and living conditions of informal workers. However, a glaring absence is the lack of a unified repository at the national level that can provide a perspective on the state of construction workers in India. Such a knowledge portal could be a repository of policies, action research, best practices that can facilitate further action. This proposed action research (2021-ongoing) is to capture the state of construction workers and develop a one-stop knowledge portal to be made available in the public domain. 

PDPL is an exploratory study initiated by INHAF in Pune to involve the urban poor in defining the poverty line themselves. Pune has several dynamic unions and organizations of the urban poor who are sensitive to the impact that the poverty line has on their entitlements, benefits and development. With these member-based unions and organizations of the poor as partners, INHAF piloted the Poor Defining Poverty Line Initiative in xxxx, inspired by the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights that conducted a similar study in 6 Asian countries between 2013 and 2014.

This work is seen as a special contribution to the poverty debate as also a rethink on the strategies, plans and projects for poverty reduction. It is possibly one of the first such efforts in the country’s urban sector and is meant to:

a) highlight the need for and the virtue of the bottom-up way of defining and measuring poverty, a subject of national concern and development planning and action (the poor who live poverty are well equipped to define it )
b) develop and demonstrate a participatory, consultative and community engaging methodology in doing so
c) contribute to demystification of the poverty line, at the top and the bottom, at the government and the city level
d) highlight the known deficiencies and inadequacies of the existing definition and the measuring method—the uni-dimensional, nutrition-based poverty line—to ascertain that poverty is a multifaceted and multidimensional phenomenon. 


Sehreeti and Centre for Labour Research and Action