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.
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 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.