(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
June 14, 2009
Impact Of Economic Meltdown On Indian Construction Industry
M K Pandhe
ACCORDING to the Planning Commission, Indian construction industry employs around 3.1 crore workers in various branches of construction sectors. However, as per the assessment of the employers organisation in this industry, the total employment would be of the order of 4 crore.
Delhi Regional Office of the International Labour Organisation
study in the National Capital Region of Delhi,
major defect of the study is that due to the Common Wealth games in
2010, a lot
of construction activity has been going on in and around
survey found that in the National Capital Region there was no decline
construction activity. “In most cases no difference than the
period” was the conclusion of this survey, even when several largescale
government projects are being undertaken in
Gurgaon, although a lot of construction activity is going on due to
Games, still in some parts of the region the impact of recession was
noted by the survey, “lack of activity on construction sites has also
Ready Mix Concrete units where the work has been slow”.
It further noted that the contractors are
asking the workers to do extra hours of work but no overtime is being
them. The survey team found that “Delay in payments is quite common in
In Noida, the team observed that “non-payment of wages was found to be quite frequent” The survey team noted reduced work for construction workers in the area. It found only 15 to 20 days work is available for workers in a month. In case of major developer Unitech Ltd., the survey team found that, there was “no construction in eight sites for the last six months.” It further observed, “Each site had at least 300 labourers majority of whom went back to their respective villages. Some found jobs elsewhere”. Several builders told the survey team that the work on their project has slowed down. Payment is delayed by up to two months everywhere.
these issues were raised in the past by the Construction Workers
India (CWFI) but the government of
However, the survey is a gross under estimation of the extent of job losses that have taken place in the construction industry as a result of global economic meltdown and its adverse impact on Indian economy. According to the trade unions in construction industry, the loss of jobs in this industry would be to the tune of 20-25 lakh during the last 10 months.
the same Indian Labour Conference, all the trade unions demanded
Employment Guarantee Scheme to urban areas also so that some relief is
the workers affected by the economic recession. They further demanded a
daily wages under the scheme to Rs 100 per day and increase the work
entitlement from present 100 to 180 days as suggested by the ILO.
trade unions criticised the violation of all labour laws by the
the government failed to take any action against the employers. They therefore demanded strict observation of
labour laws in the country and the government of
meeting convened by the ILO in
trade unions suggested that the government of
The meeting also proposed construction of proper houses for the construction workers wherever construction project is undertaken. In absence of this, the working and living conditions of construction workers is extremely bad. The Director General of the ILO is talking about decent work but in the construction industry the work is extremely indecent which needs to be improved drastically so that they will have decent work in reality.
The trade unions pointed out that the conditions of working women in the construction industry worsened due to the economic recession. They not only are the first to become victims of loss of jobs in the industry but they also have to face several difficulties in day to day work. Maternity benefit is denied to them while elementary requirements for a woman worker are not available in the construction industry. Perhaps the cases of sexual harassment and molestation are the largest in this industry. Though the employment of women in construction industry is more than 30 per cent of the total employment, the central government has not taken any meaningful steps to protect their interests.
the course of discussion it came to light that the
The director of the ILO, Leila Tegmo Reddy, noted that the global recession is going to be a long drawn one and the overall rate of growth all over the world has come down to only 1.5 per cent. According to ILO Director General, over 20 crore jobs will be lost all over the world due to the present global recession. Citing this, she expected that the governments in developing countries would introduce unemployment insurance for the workers affected by the global economic recession.