INTRODUCTION:

 

“Constructing
the place to live for others but failing to construct living for them” aptly presents
the case of construction labors who work under rough conditions only to earn
wages which is just enough for living. Construction industry is major source of
employment to people working in unorganized sector arguably employing second
only to agriculture sector. 1
With infrastructure development being one of the major demands of this
competitive world economy construction worker form its backbone. Even though
construction work becoming demand of present its backbone i.e. construction
workers are prone to severe economic, social, political impediments in their
daily life.

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Construction
labor are mostly “migrants from small villages, town or even states” 2
performing unskilled and semiskilled work in construction sites. They
basically forms unorganized sector of economy or in “they have not been able to
organize themselves in pursuit of their common interest owing to certain
constraints like casual and uncertain nature of employment, ignorance and
illiteracy, small and scattered size of establishment etc”. 3

Uncertainty
of getting jobs put them under hands of contractors which results in low wages.
“Low wage rates are one of the most tragic problems for them”. 4
However it is not sole problem; health and safety issues at construction sites,
availability of proper roof over head, irregularity of income, lack of proper
representation in politics and no social security are some others of many more.
To provide basic human rights as well as to sustain construction industry
therefore it makes on part of government to take action to lessen the burden on
their shoulders.

This
made government to make legislation such as The Building And Other Construction
Worker (RECS) Act 1976, The Building And Other Construction Worker (CESS) Act
1976, Workmen Compensation Act, Minimum Wage Act, policies such as Atal Pention
Yojna, Food Securities act, etc. to improve socio- economical aspect of life of
construction labor.

These
schemes and guideline lines seems perfect effort on the part of government for
making the condition of construction less painful but fails to present the
ground level reality were worker in this unorganized sector are being denied
their rightful wages and being exploited at the hands of contractor also the
safety and security major at works place seems far fenced dream with guideline
by government ignored and making work place prone to hazardous risks.

The
research tries to understand the plight in life of construction labor by
conducting empirical research using questionnaire and interviewing the
construction labors, the research tries to identify problem on issue of
economic security, living standards, health and accidental risks and tries to
find out government policies for them and after analyzing policies put forwards
there loopholes and try to suggest changes or any other suggestion in
them.    

LITERATURE
REVIEW:

 

The
literature on construction labors mostly includes research papers and scholar
articles highlighting the grievances in their life. Literature reveals that
most of the labors are very young in age around 45% are from 20-40 age group.
Majority consists of men workers and average wage lies around 3000 per week.
The literature reveals about causality of employment and how bargaining power
of labor are nothing in front of powerful employers. The nature of work is also
seasonal and dependent on availability of water, literature talks about
migration of workers in big city from villages and around 70% of construction
labors in migrates from northern region. (Chavan Prabhakar.S, 2015).5

Literature
reveals that around 60% of workers lives in tin sheds and around 25% of sites
provides for sheds inside sites. The construction sites don’t have any proper
toilets and no special arrangements for women labor. The literature talks about
how majority of construction workers are dependent on public source for water
and around 66% of construction companies do not provide helmets to their
workers. Studies suggest that majority of children of construction workers do
not go to schools (76% approx), mostly employers do not provides for medical
treatments and they do not get holidays on weekly basis (Kumar. Deepa).6

Literature
talks about excess of supply in construction industry then requirement and
reveals that women are only around 30% of workers in industry. The reason for
it is provided as taking care of children, harsh working condition, no
provision of leaves, and most importantly wage discrimination7.(Spooner
Dave and Hopley Annie, 2011). Literature also reveals about relation between
working for more No. of hour and development of bad habits and illness in
labors along with migration the same relation can also be traced with
unavailability of social security8
(Pramanik  Surapati ,
Chackrabarti  Sourendranath, 2013). Much
literature reveals about relation of occurrence of accident and injuries with
size of project around 16% of small and 13% of big project workers are at risk
of injuries and with complex mechanization it is necessary to have close look
on safety measure in construction sites ( Kanchana, S.2015) 9

Literature
reveals that initially problem of construction workers for which mostly voice
being raised was low wage rate being initially they tried to make union for
their rights Sundra Navelkar one of the first Indian female lawyers and leader
of Communist Party of India Marxist formed first trade union for labors in
Mumbai and the.  basic focus was timely
payment of wages, enactment of minimum wage act,etc. but now focus has been
shifted to asking government directly to interfere and the demand from wages has
shifted to basic human rights. Instruction Workers NGO, explains,
“Laborers are not interested in fighting for wages anymore. They are more
concerned about human rights issues, such as education, malaria, safe child
delivery, and isolation. They don’t want to rebel anymore”(Agrawal Rina, 2008).
10

Literature
related to life and condition of construction includes various research papers
providing as with ground level reality of what is being demanded by various
legislation how well these guidelines of legislation are being defiled by the
employers. There are various guidelines and schemes to provide support to the
part of one of the most vulnerable segment of unorganized labor system of India
i.e. construction workers. These guidelines includes “Guidelines for Safety and
Health on Construction Sites”11
by the government which gives various equipment’s that are required to be
provided to the labor handling different types of works like working at height,
moving, lifting handling logs, site vehicles. These guidelines are made keeping
in mind guidelines by ILO (Safety and Health. Also there other schemes like
Minimum wage Act 1948, Worksmen Compensation Act, to provide construction labor
with their due wage and to compensate construction labor in case of accident at
work place respectively. While there other schemes that are not made
particularly for construction labor but do encompass them like various BPL
schemes like AnatodayaYojan.

There
are also specific acts such as Building and Construction Labor (Regulation of
Employment and Condition of Services act) and Building and Construction Labor
Welfare Cess Act. 1996 which ask for various employer employing more than ten
workers to take various welfare measure and set fund according to prescribe
percentage for welfare of labor board set under RECS act. 12There
are also legislation such as Contract Labor act 1970, Minimum Wage Act 1948 and
Equal Remuneration Act 1976 talking about wage rates and other acts such as
Inter State Migrant Workers Act 1978 talking about plight of interstate migrant
workers. Most importantly new bill on construction labor has been send to
standing committee in 2013 by government but till now the bill has not been
passed.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS:

 

·        
What is socio-economic state of
construction labor?

·        
What is the state of current policies
towards construction labor. Are they aware of these policies and what are
loopholes and suggestions?

OBJECTIVES:

 

·        
To analyze and study state of
construction labor

·        
To understand the difference in the life
of upper middle class and construction labor

·        
To know the policies for upliftment,
support and security of construction labor

·        
To understand political awareness and
their representation

HYPOTHESIS:

 

The research assumes that
construction laborers are not considered a part of society and just treated as
a utility which they provide. Also this research assumes that they do not have
enough political representation as most of them do not exercise their right to
vote as they either migrate or do not have proper documentation. This research
also assumes that due to these factors these laborers are stuck in a cycle of
poverty and are isolated from the middle class and upper class society.

METHODOLOGY:

 

The
research is being carried out by using empirical and doctrinal method of
research. The research is based on interview, questionnaire and narration of
construction labors. The research will be carried out in four different sites
and with the interview of at least 40 construction labors. The questionnaire is
framed to understand social, economic and political condition of construction
labors. Then the data will be analyzed and presented in organized manner to
draw conclusion from the study. The secondary data and doctrinal method will be
used to understand and analyze various literatures on construction labors and
to analyze policy and legislation of government on them. Than the loopholes in
policies and problem faced by construction labors based on survey has been
tried to be answered and at last policy improvement and suggestion in policies will
be made.

LIMITATION:

 

The
research has tried to cover utmost possible aspects of socio, economic and
political life of construction labors but research suffers from certain
limitations. Out of them some are:

·        
The research has been carried out in
limited time period and life of construction labors has not been observed for
long period of time and in every season of year.

·        
The research focuses on limited issues
related to research question and other important issues such as construction
labor and technological development etc has not been included due to limited
scope of research.

·        
Research tries to deal only with some of
most important acts related to construction labors and all acts are not been
included.

·        
Research has been carried out on only 80
workers due to limited research team member and larger sample has not been
examined.

·        
Research is restricted on limited
available secondary source of data for analyzing life of construction labors.

DIVISION OF
LABOR:

 

The
research work has been divided between 4 team members as follows:

·        
Ashish Mishra

To do policy research
for any existing laws or bills in support of Construction laborers by the
Central government.

To accompany Sidharth
to at least 2 construction sites and to interview at least 20 laborers.

To proof read the
Synopsis.

To prepare questions
for the interview.

·        
Sidharth Sharma

To
research existing studies and articles on the state of construction laborers in
India.

To
accompany Ashish to at least 2 construction sites and to interview at least 20
laborers.

To
record and edit the recording for the purpose of presentation.

To
prepare questions for the interview.

·        
Shiv Kumar Sharma

To
research existing policies by the Central government regarding Minimum wage
act. MNREGA and identify and study the migration patterns of construction
laborers.

To
accompany Sriram to at least 2 construction sites and to interview at least 20
laborers.

To
help with the direction and presentation of the short video documentary
depicting the plight of the construction laborers.

To
prepare the questionnaire.

·        
Sriram Prasad

To
research policies of the state government regarding construction laborers.

To
accompany Shiv to at least 2 construction sites and to interview at least 20
laborers.

To
proof read the final draft

To
provide technical support for the video documentation of the construction
laborers.

To
prepare the questionnaire

1 “Construction Workers.” Construction Workers in the
Informal Economy | WIEGO. Accessed January 15, 2018.
http://www.wiego.org/informal-economy/occupational-groups/construction-workers.

2 Kumar, Dileep. “Problem of
construction labor: a quantitative research”. Indian MBA.com. May 7,2006.
Accessed  January 15,2018.
http://www.indianmba.com/Faculty_Column/FC340/fc340.html

3 Pramarik, Surapati. “A study on
problem of construction worker in west Bengal using Neutrosophic Science”. International Journal on Science innovation
engineering and Technology. Vol. 2, Issue11 (November 2013). https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/9eaf/f7cdfc046ea669286720a32a326d8d25daae.pdf

4 Agrawal, Rina. Reshaping Social Contract: Emerging
relationship between state and informal labor. Theory and Society, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Aug., 2008), pp. 375-408.
http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/40211043.pdf

 

5 Chavan, Prabhakar.”Problem of
construction workers in Navi Mumbai city”. Scholarly
research journal of interdisciplinarystudy.Vol.5,Issue403(2015)http://www.srjis.com/pages/pdfFiles/147895027129.%20PRABHAKAR%
20 CHAVAN. pdf

6 Kumar, Dileep. “Problem of
construction labor: a quantitative research”. Indian MBA.com. May 7,2006.
Accessed  January 15,2018.
http://www.indianmba.com/Faculty_Column/FC340/fc340.html

7 Spooner, Dave and Hopley, Annie.
“Construction Workers” Women in Informal Occupation: organizing and
Globalizing.com.AccessedJanuary15,2018.http://www.wiego.org/informal-economy/occupationalgroups/construc-
tion – workers.

8 Pramarik, Surapati. “A study on
problem of construction worker in west Bengal using Neutrosophic Science”. International Journal on Science innovation
engineering and Technology. Vol. 2, Issue11 (November 2013).
https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/9eaf/f7cdfc046ea669286720a32a326d8d25daae.pdf

9 Kanchana,S. “safety of
construction labor at construction sites”. The
scientific world journal. Vol.2015(2015).
https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2015/590810/#B3

10 Agrawal, Rina. Reshaping Social Contract: Emerging
relationship between state and informal labor. Theory and Society, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Aug., 2008), pp. 375-408.
http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/40211043.pdf

11″Guideline for safety of labor at
construction sites”. Accessed 15 January2018. http://labor.govmu.org/English/Documents/Code%20of%20Practice/guidelines/5.%20Guidelines%20for%20Safety%20and%20Health%20on%20Construction%20Sites.pdf.

12 Koushik, Anup. “Labor welfare
cess and implication on construction industry”. Lakshmishri.com. Accessed 15
January 2018.
https://www.lakshmisri.com/News-and-Publications/Archives/Publication/Labor-welfare-cess-and-its-implications-for-the-construction-industry

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