We embarked on the journey of providing holistic support to migrants and their families in the year 2013 with launch of Agrasar Bachpan – wherein we teach their children who do not go to schools, facilitate their admissions in the formal schools and then work for enhancing the quality of education in these schools where most of the children belong to migrant communities. The program evolved further over last six years as diverse needs of migrant workers and their families started taking priority in our journey towards a caring and compassionate society for all. Today, through our Migration Support Centres, we focus on enabling Gainful and Progressive Employment, Basic Entitlements related to Identity, Education, Health and Financial Inclusion and humane and thriving working conditions.
For Development Practitioners
| Published in July, 2020 |
This document is a compiled and abridged version of the major labour laws that exist in the country along with the recent amendments. Each law is preceded by a scenario which will allow the reader to connect further with the everyday issues faced by workers. For better understanding, readers should try to apply the major sections of the law to the scenario and develop their own understanding. The document is designed for perusal of development practitioners for whom understanding needs to be in a practical manner to be further disseminated through the community.However, while consulting the document, one needs to be aware that these labour laws have been formulated for a different era and have mostly remained unchanged over decades. There is a need to make these archaic laws friendly for both the employer and the employee so that the whole system benefits. This document is the first step towards making the existing laws understandable and easy for our development practitioners so that they have a baseline to judge the laws, use them as much as possible and further move towards advocacy.
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What we do
Social Assimilation, Identity Documentation, Financial and Legal Literacy, Placements, Post Placement Support, Linkages with ESI, PF and other government schemes for the people who have migrated from Odisha through ORMAS (under DDU GKY skilling program) and working in Delhi, Bahadurgarh, Gurugram and Hyderabad.
Social Assimilation, Identity Documentation, Financial and Legal Literacy, Placements, Post Placement Support, Linkages with ESI, PF and other government schemes for people who have migrated from rural parts of various states in India and working in Gurgaon, Rewari and Bhiwadi regions.
Ensuring legal awareness among workers through capacity building workshops and provision of legal aid to them for engaging with complex legal cases with contractors or principal employers. This facility is run in collaboration with Aajeevika Bureau and seek support from Aajeevika Helpine on need basis.
Socially concerned and proactive Youths among the primary stakeholders are identified, trained and collectivised as "Agrasar Saathis" who inturn support their fellow community members on all the aspects dealt by Agrasar.
'Career Express' covers a wide range of topics including Career Counselling, Interview Tips, Time Management, Stress Management, Job Search, Rights at Workplace, Awareness about Sexual Harassment, Financial Literacy, ESI, PF and more.
Our program design is informed by thorough research studies that we consistently keep doing to better understand various facets of our migration support work.
Agrasar has an innovative range of outreach activities to reach every nook and cranny of the community. Initiatives such as personalized door-to-door visits, group meetings, street plays, canopies, and focused community camps are meticulously planned to spread awareness amongst youth who are constrained in finding gainful employment opportunities or struggling with any other challenges to avail basic rights and services. Agrasar runs a Radio Programme-Career Express-in collaboration with Community Radio, Gurgaon Ki Awaaz 107.8 FM to reach youth who cannot access regular brick and mortar training facilities. Weekly Radio Shows, Newscasting Sessions and Workshops provide timely information regarding Identity Cards, soft skills, interview preparation, spoken English, Financial Literacy, Social Security, Workers Rights and Job Opportunities.
Baseline is conducted before beginning of any project. This serves the dual purpose of helping us understand contextual needs and hence adapt the program and also serving as a reference for Impact Assessment.
Rural to Urban migration leads to creation of a contextualised, dynamic and complex system. Our work begins with understanding the various actors, their roles and relationships among themselves. Relevant institutions are identified for partnerships.
While the capacities of stakeholders is continuously enhanced, one of the major endeavours of the program is to facilitate access to rights and services. Focus is always on the primary stakeholders taking up the responsibility for sustaining the efforts.
Instead of questioning the intent, and therefore getting into a dysfunctional loop, we focus on enhancing the capacities of various stakeholders – the government, industry, contractors, and the “migrants” and their families to achieve program goals.
Collation and integration of secondary research and complimenting/ strengthening emerging knowledge with localised research forms an essential part of our work. This also helps in adding to the body of knowledge in the field of migration.
Even though we understand that designing scalable interventions is important, we do not believe in targeting numbers. Whenever being asked the question - "How is it going?", our team members would normally talk about students and people - successes achieved or challenges being faced in particular cases. We also try to be fair and objective in communicating about 'impact' to all stakeholders. e.g. you would often hear us mentioning that - "Around 20% of the youth who come to our Employability Centres would have gone in similar jobs had they not joined us. Therefore, we need to find even better avenues of placement." We would also talk about children who we were not able to mainstream. We share our successes as well as challenges so as to attract people and organizations in our journey who mean to make a "real impact".
Regular Health Camps are being organised at our Migration Support Centre in Bhiwadi, which is run in collaboration with Odisha Government (ORMAS) under DDU-GKY scheme of Ministry of Rural Development. The camps mainly focuses on preventive healthcare, identifying nutritional deficiency and advising people on practices they can follow in their context.
Monthly Meeting of community corps in Gurugram. "Community Corps" are central to our work on migration support. These are general or theme based solidarity groups of people belonging to migrant communities and are willing to support their fellows by regularly putting in time and efforts.
Last December, 55 students visited Pizza Hut at Ansal Plaza. The students got a glimpse of how the kitchen and store are managed. Through such exposure visits, the youngsters learn and get to explore job opportunity in various sector.
During Covid (un)Lockdown month of June 2020
| Published in July, 2020 |
This report brings in insights from a rapid survey of 108 migrant workers to understand their employment status as at mid-Jun20. This Survey shows that almost half of these workers are unemployed, despite the majority of this sample being skilled workers. Even those who have found employment have a large proportion whose incomes are much lower than their already meagre pre-COVID19 salaries. Many of them do not want to continue in the same jobs. Of the unemployed in Gurugram, majority are ready to do a lesser paying/lower skilled jobs but are uncertain of job prospects and most have borrowed money from landlords and friends/family to survive. Those who have gone back to villages are still mostly unemployed. In fact, money, not Corona virus, is the main concern for both the employed and the unemployed. If this is the state of this largely skilled sample of workers, one can only imagine the even worse status of the less skilled workers/daily wagers.There is a need for a more co-ordinated employment approach by the government and industry to improve this situation and a desperate need for cash-transfers to the unemployed until they are back in gainful employment. Employers also need to do better to retain their workers and for better productivity.
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During the covid lockdown period in 2020
| Published in May, 2020 |
In May 2020, Agrasar, in partnership with Safe in India, conducted a rapid survey of migrant workers for their April 2020 wages and found that despite the government announcement regarding employers paying their employees in full for the months of March and April, 75% of the migrant workers were yet to receive their salary. 77% these workers remained in their pre Covid-19 place of residence hoping to get a call soon but only half of them received a call from their previous employer. In May 2020, the government withdrew this mandate leaving the migrant workers to fend for themselves. SII and Agrasar have once again partnered to conduct a rapid survey of 111 migrant workers to understand their employment status post the lockdown.
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Case Studies and Stakeholders' Response
| Published in September, 2015 |
The industry has several manufacturing clusters in India, of which the Delhi-Gurgaon-Faridabad region is one among the largest four. This region is home to many Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), and Sub Contractor manufacturers ranging from tier-1 to tier-3 who employ over 80,000 workers across a very large number of factories in the region. This Study focuses only on the Gurgaon-Manesar belt within this larger region. Despite, and to some extent due to, its growth and success, more than a thousand workers meet with serious accidents just in the Gurgaon–Manesar belt every year. Most of these accidents lead to permanent disabilities, followed by either a loss of or significant deterioration in the employment of such injured workers. Unsurprisingly, while laws regarding work place safety, post-accident care and compensation do exist, there is an absence of strong and effective institutional mechanisms to support their implementation. This had led to unnecessarily hazardous working conditions, a low level of safety consciousness and training and inadequate post-accident treatment, care, compensation and rehabilitation. Injured workers are therefore often left with long term psychological and physical damage, with it consequent financial implications.
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"I have been living in Gurgaon for the past 11 years. All these years, I rarely went out of home alone because I feel uncomfortable while talking to new people. My husband used to accompany me whenever I had to go out for household chores or my personal work. I felt dependent on others but I could not overcome my fear of being in unfamiliar surroundings. I came to know about the course through Agrasar’s Camp at Dundahera Chaupal and I decided to give it a try. I have been a part of the training for the last four months and I can feel some improvements in my personality like I feel less anxious when I talk to people now. Not only do I come to the centre alone, I have also started to go out in the market and am more conscious about my appearance now than before. I have learnt new things from the trainers as well as from my batch-mates. I feel like it is an achievement for me to be able go out on my own and meet new people confidently."
Agrasar team has received salary related queries from Manish, Sunil Kumar, and Rahul who are working in an automobile parts manufacturing company. They took leaves without any notice and went to their villages. When they returned, the contractor in the company terminated their employment and held their salaries. Agrasar team organized a meeting with Manish, Sunil and Rahul to discuss about their problem. After the discussion the team visited the Company and met the contractor at the company and discussed the problem and find a solution together. During the discussion, contractor told that they always take leaves without any prior information and work could not be completed in time which had unfavorable repercussions for the company. Agrasar team requested the company contractor to release pending salaries and also had a conversation with the three youngsters about the importance of informing the staff as well as to the reporting officer before taking leaves. After some days, the company contractor released the pending salary and hired them again on the same job.
Savita is working as a caretaker. Her house in Odisha was damaged in August 2019 due to floods in the region. She took a sum of Rs. 50,000 from a money lender to meet the damage cost. The money lender gave money on compound interest without fully informing her about the concept of installment with compounded interest. After some time, the Money Lender started pressuring her to return the money with hefty compounded interest. Meanwhile, her husband became ill and had to return to his home town for treatment which added the financial burden. The team had a discussion with the money lender and learnt that he genuinely needs money urgently as there is a wedding in the family. The team helped her get Rs. 30,000 from the current Employer as advanced salary. Savita was able to repay her loan and saved herself from falling under a debt-trap.