Challenges facing daily wage workers

No system of paid leave and a lack of compensation for the unorganised work sector( March 23)


No relief in sight:

“Ramesh Kumar, from Uttar Pradesh, was found sitting on the Labour Chowk with some other labourers in search of work, said that he knew "there won't be anybody to hire us, but we still took our chances". (25th March)

“At least 90% of India's workforce is employed in the informal sector, according to the International Labour Organization, working in roles like security guards, cleaners, rickshaw pullers, streets vendors, garbage collectors and domestic helps.”

Rendered jobless and unable to return to their homes, workers’ sense of insecurity increases (26th march)

"I live on rent along with my wife and a three-year-old daughter. People are not coming out on streets, which is why earning has come down. I have very limited grocery left in my house. I am standing on the road in hope of getting some work, but, it is extremely difficult to find passengers " Mukesh Tiwari, a rickshaw puller hailing from Lucknow said.

India’s vulnerable sections suffer from cough and cold routinely, making coronavirus detection difficult (30th March)

“For India’s coronavirus strategy to succeed, barriers that prevent the poor from accessing healthcare will have to be removed.”

Is there any light at the end of the Tunnel ?(6th April)

As many as 92.5% of labourers have already lost one to three weeks of work, according to a rapid assessment survey by Jan Sahas, a civil society organisation that focuses on human rights of socially excluded communities. Many also worry that they will not be able to find work once the lockdown ends, found Jan Sahas, which surveyed 3,196 migrant workers across northern and central India between March 27 and 29.


Children are amongst the worst-hit (11th April)

“With 472 million children, India has the largest child population in the world and campaigners say the lockdown has impacted around 40 million children from poor families.
Sanjay Gupta, director of Chetna, a Delhi-based charity that works with child labourers and street children, says the worst affected are the millions of homeless children who live in cities on streets, under flyovers, or in narrow lanes and bylanes.”

A lack of social protection for women, lockdown could worsen their food and nutrition security (15TH April)

Women’s contributions are seen as central to the food security of the households. They will continue to carry the primary responsibility for purchasing food, as well as preparing it for their households. It will be the responsibility of women to procure supplies from designated shops that supply rations.

State Government responses

Coronavirus Outbreak:Uttarakhand to give ₹1000 to over 3 lakh daily wage workers facing loss of work( March 22)

Coronavirus lockdown: Delhi govt to give Rs 5,000 to auto, cab drivers
“Kejriwal has come up with several measures to ensure that the needy get through the lockdown comfortably.”

India has the largest postal service in the world - and now it is stepping in to help deliver lifesaving medicines during a countrywide lockdown aimed at tackling the coronavirus pandemic.” (14th April)

Kerela Govt.  announces 20,000 Crore relief package, March 20

The pandemic has destabilised our public life and business community. So, the government will offer Rs 2,000 crore loans through Kudumbashree Mission to the families on soft interest. Under Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, another Rs 2,000 crore would be dispersed in April-May," Kerela C.M said

Private sector response

Private sector steps in (March 24)

Reliance Foundation will provide free meals to people across various cities in partnership with NGOs during the crisis situation.

The Mahindra Foundation will create a fund to assist the hardest hit in our value chain small businesses and the self-employed," Mahindra said he would contribute 100 per cent of his salary and gradually increase collections in the fund to assist small-scale businesses.

The Godrej Group and other FMCG players like Hindustan Unilever and Patanjali are reducing prices of soaps and hygiene products, to enable wider access.

Vedanta Resources Limited CEO Anil Agarwal also committed Rs 100 crore towards fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, highlighting his concern especially for the daily wage workers

Netflix donates Rs 7.5 crore to help daily wage workers in India(April 4, 2020)”

“Streaming platform Netflix on Saturday announced that it will contribute Rs 7.5 crore to Producers Guild of India (PGI) Relief Fund to help daily wage earners in the entertainment industry in the country.

Hrithik Roshan ties up with NGO ‘Akshaya Patrato provide 1.2 lakh meals for daily wage earners and senior citizens ( April 7)

Home grown Dabur group, on Tuesday, pledged Rs 21 crore to support the relief efforts and help the immediate needs of people affected from the Covid-19 pandemic.(8 april )

The group will also provide assistance to people engaged in frontline efforts to fight the virus and support to members of vulnerable sections of the society and migrant workers, who are the hardest hit by this pandemic.

Indian software major Infosys, too, joined the Covid-19 fight with a Rs 100 crore donation. The Infosys Foundation has contributed half of this amount to the PM CARES Fund to expand hospital capacity for treatment and enable hospital stays for poor Covid-19 patients.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has donated Rs 5 crore to non-profit organisation Give India in the wake of coronvirus crisis, to provide cash assistance for families of daily-wage workers  (April 13)

Designer Anita Dongre pledged a medical fund of Rs 1.5 crore to support small vendors, self-employed artisans, and partners associated with her brand who may not have medical insurance or coverage.( April

NGO response

Help Trans community in their fight against Corona:

“Again, a citizen-led initiative by Kanaga, this fundraiser seeks to help the trans community, which is one of the most marginalised communities in India

Help Daily Wage Earners hit by Coronavirus:

This campaign started by Luis Miranda, President of the Board of Trustees at CORO, a 30-year old Mumbai-based NGO, will distribute food packages, masks, sanitisers and soap to people who have been hit by the short-term closure of businesses.

Support The Daily Wage Earner:

This is a citizen-led initiative by Riddhi Shah in Mumbai. The money raised through this fundraiser will provide masks, sanitizers, handwashing liquid and soaps as well as necessary items like food packets milk to the slums and kholis in Banganga, Lower Parel, Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat, Colaba, Cuffe Parade, Colaba Macchimar Nagar & Dhobi Ghat, Nepean Sea Road.

Fight Against Coronavirus:

Organised by Pranyas Developmen Foundation this NGO seeks to create awareness about the novel coronavirus in slums and villages by going door-to-door and providing masks to families, all while following the basic rules of hygiene and social distancing.


Civil society response

In India, women’s self-help groups combat the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic (April 11, 2020)

An 11 year old girl from Hyderabad raises Rs. 6.2 lakh for the needy( April 14th, 2020)

Frontline workers- 14TH APRIL 
Police personnel, bankers, nurses, delivery boys,  doctors etc. have to go beyond their call of duty amidst crisis.

They have managed to restore our faith in humanity by working day and night.”