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India: SEWA calls on government to recognize the rights of informal sector workers in new wage legislation

The vast majority of India’s waged workforce fall outside the coverage of the government’s proposed new Code on Wages. The Self-Employed women’s Association (SEWA) is campaigning to bring recognition and rights for informal sector workers, including home-based and domestic workers, within the scope of the new legislation. Among other measures, SEWA is demanding a uniform national minimum wage, its extension to all workers and a statutory role for unions in ensuring compliance with the new Code.

SEWA’s proposals are set out in the latest issue of their national newsletter, which also includes an article on what happens when beedi (hand-rolled cigarettes) workers are required to enroll their children online for schooling in a country with limited connectivity. Enrollment levels in the scholarship program have dropped as workers lacking computers at home are compelled to visit cyber cafés to fill out the forms – at the cost of two days’ wages.

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