Women cane cutters in Maharashtra, who work for 12-14 hours a day and suffer violation of their basic rights. Photo courtesy: groundxero.in

Labour Rights

Cost Of Sugar: Women Cane Cutters In Maharashtra

Neeta (name changed), a cane cutter in one of the many sugarcane farms in Beed district of central Maharashtra, was only in her early 30s when she was forced to undergo a hysterectomy.Her menstrual period was a difficult one with severe pain in her abdomen that lasted several days. Her flow was heavy and she also had severe itching and foul odour in her vagina. On the fields where she worked, there was no place for her to change the basic cloth pads she used during her menstrual period. After months of unbearable pain, Neeta decided to forfeit a day’s

Women farmers in Punjab protesting against the Farm Bills in Patiala. Photo Credit: Scroll.in


How Farm Acts Affect Women In Agriculture

On 27 September 2020,  three Farm Bills became law after receiving presidential assent.The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill 2020 , Farming Produce, Trade, Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020,collectively referred to  as the Farm Bills were earlier passed  in both houses of the Parliament on 20 September  and 22 September  respectively.  Despite repeated requests  from the opposition to send the Bills to a Parliamentary Committee for scrutiny, the bills were passed through a voice vote.The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services

Laxmi Kaurav (in brown) and 21 more ASHA workers in Madhya Pradesh have been served with a show cause notice threatening termination of service after they staged protests at the chief minister’s election rallies.

Labour Rights

ASHA Workers Criminalised For Fighting For Their Rights

India’s frontline women health workers, or ASHAs, play a critical role in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. But when they demanded better pay, protective gear and fixed tenures, Haryana and Delhi filed police cases and Madhya Pradesh threatened dismissal. We chronicle the criminalisation of their dissent.New Delhi/Bhopal: Laxmi Kaurav, 38, an ASHA sahiyogini (facilitator) in Mehgaon Block of Bhind district in Madhya Pradesh (MP) was shocked when she looked at the messages on her phone on the morning of 19 September 2020: A “show-cause notice” with her name was circulating on a whatsapp group of ASHA workers.Issued by the Block Medical

Women garment workers at Gokuldas factory, suppliers for global clothing giant H&M protesting against illegal layoffs during the pandemic. Photo credit: The Quint
Labour Rights

Garment Workers Take On Global Clothing Giant

For over a month now, over 600 women garment workers have been sitting in protest against the illegal layoffs in the factory premises of the  ECC 2 unit of Gokaldas Exports Limited (GE), in the town of Srirangapatna- 126 kms from Bengaluru in Karnataka.On 6 June 2020, Gokaldas Exports which manufactures 70% of their clothing for the 25 billion dollar transnational corporation  H&M, laid off around 1400 women garment workers in the middle of a pandemic depriving them of their only source of income. GE has not paid the workers their full wages for the lockdown in violation of the

Elizabeth Xavier (left) an ASHA worker of Kurichi gram panchayat in Kottayam district of Kerala. ASHA workers in Kerala play a central role in Covid-19 response in the state but are demanding the status of workers.


ASHAs Within the ‘Kerala Model’ Lead Covid-19 Response, Get Little in Return

Our 16-state survey found that in Kerala, ASHAs, women health workers at the frontlines of India’s resistance to Covid-19, feel empowered and respected. Yet, their demands of being treated as a regularised workforce are ignored New Delhi/Kottayam (Kerala): “In the Covid-19 resistance, we are as active as doctors and nurses,” said Rajini Laiju, an woman health worker, or ASHA, from Kurichy gram panchayat in Kerala’s Changanaserry tehsil in the district of Kottayam. “Even though we are the least paid among everyone else on the Covid-19 team, our role is primary and important. This gives us immense satisfaction.”The upper limit of

Minara Begum (right), an ASHA worker from Assam. ASHAs in Assam have not been paid their regular honorariums for the last 3 months.


Promised, Mostly Never Paid: Rs 1,000 Covid Wage To Million Health Workers

Hyderabad: Minara Begum, 33, has reached breaking point. “If the government of Assam does not release my salary today, my kids will starve,” said the mother of four, her voice choked with emotion. “I have done many dharnas (protests) and agitatiations in the past. Now I am literally begging the government to send my money.” Her youngest son is two-years old.Minara Begum, is an Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) working in Assam’s eastern district of Kamrup Metro, one of a national volunteer cadre of over one million women health workers who serve as a crucial interface between India’s community and


10 लाख स्वास्थ्य कर्मियों को 1000 रुपये की ‘कोविड सैलरी’: वादे ज्यादातर पूरे नहीं हुए

असम की रहने वालीं 33 साल की मीनारा बेगम चार बच्चों की मां हैं. उनका सबसे छोटा बेटा दो साल का है. वह रोते हुए कहती हैं कि अगर असम सरकार मेरी सैलरी आज नहीं देती है तो मेरे बच्चे भूखे मरेंगे. इसके लिए पहले मैंने कई धरने और आंदोलन किए हैं, लेकिन अब मैं सचमुच अपने पैसे के लिए सरकार से भीख मांग रही हूं.मीनारा बेगम एक मान्यता प्राप्त सामाजिक स्वास्थ्य कार्यकर्ता (आशा) हैं जो असम के पूर्वी जिले कामरूप मेट्रो में काम करती हैं. मीनारा भारत की महिला स्वास्थ्य वर्कर्स के नेशनल वॉलेंटियर कैडर की 10 लाख से

ASHAs in Haryana protest for better pay & testing facilities during the Covid pandemic./HARYANA ASHA WORKERS UNION


Anger, Distress Among India’s Frontline Workers In Fight Against Covid-19

Without them, It would be impossible to track, test and monitor Covid-19 patients across India’s villages and cities. But over a million women health workers must now work with minimal protection, frequent abuse and attacks. The first of a 3 part series from a 16 state survey of ASHA workers.Mumbai/Hyderabad: It was 9 pm. Lakshmi Singh had just settled for dinner after an exhausting day in the field when she was summoned by the sarpanch. A group of migrant workers who had walked for several days had just entered her village, Raniya in the north eastern district of Bhind in


कोविड-19 के खिलाफ लड़ाई : गुस्सा और तनाव में भारत के फ्रंटलाइन वर्कर्स

रात के 9 बज रहे हैं. दिनभर की भाग-दौड़ के बाद अब लक्ष्मी सिंह खाने बैठी ही थीं कि सरपंच ने उन्हें बुला लिया.कई दिनों से पैदल चलकर अभी कुछ प्रवासी मजदूर उनके गांव पहुंचे थे. लक्ष्मी बीच में ही खाना छोड़कर उन लोगों को क्वारंटीन करने के लिए जरूरी कामों में जुट गईं. यह घटना मध्यप्रदेश के भिंड जिले के रानियां गांव की है.लक्ष्मी बताती हैं कि सबसे पहले समुदाय के जिस भी व्यक्ति में लक्षण होता है, वे लोग उसकी जांच करते हैं. इसके बाद ही डॉक्टरों का काम शुरू होता है. जब डॉक्टर गांव आते हैं तो

Rohini Charri, founder of community organistation Bhumi Gramutthan evam Sehbhagi Gramin Vikas Samiti, that works with women of the Bedia community


Women From The Bedia Community In Morena (MP) Suffer Disproportionately As Their Work Halts

The duration of lockdown has proven difficult for everyone, but it has been more challenging for those who belong to the marginalized sections of the society, particularly  those  dependent on daily wages for their survival. Such marginalised communities, amongst others, include – Nat, Bedia, Banchhada, Sansi, Kanjar, Kalbeliya, Sapera and other such communities whose families depend on their ability to earn each day.  These are from the Denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes faced historical injustices in both colonial as well as free India. They were classified as ‘criminal’ by the state as per the colonial  Criminal Tribes Act, 1871, stigmatising

Seasonal farm workers from Mantralayam in Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh (AP), stranded in a chilli farm in Peddapalem in the state’s Guntur district. Thousands of intra-state migrants from other districts in AP who work as seasonal farm labour are stranded in their workplaces with little or no support from the government.


COVID-19: Intra-State Migrants Marooned Too

Peddapalem (Guntur district), Andhra Pradesh: Thousands of families of intra-state migrants are stranded on the margins of Guntur’s world-renowned chilli farms, scrambling to live on a meagre supply of grains and other provisions, and sheltering from 40 degree Celsius temperatures under tarpaulin, as they wait for the lockdown to end.The continuing ordeal of these chilli-farm workers–hailing mostly from Andhra Pradesh’s drought-ravaged Kurnool district–who have neither been accommodated in buildings nor received timely rations and cash from the district administration, suggests that poor migrants within states may be even worse off during the lockdown than inter-state migrants whose home states have been