Tenth Lecture in the series on Migration at Patna Centre, TISS: Dilli Door Hai: Migrant Labour in Manufacturing in the Megacity


Date: April 19, 2017

Venue: Department of Labour and Social Welfare, A.N. College, Boring Road, Patna.

Jointly Organised by: Departments of LSW and Sociology, A.N. College, Patna and Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Patna Centre.

Speaker: Prof. Mouleshri Vyas


The twenty first century is marked by increasing precarity of labour in countries across the world. Migration of the poor from rural and urban areas into large cities due to distress in their place of origin, and their conversion into informal labour in the manufacturing and tertiary sectors in the city is the sub text of this precarity. With increasing urbanisation in countries like India, studies of migrant labour engaged in various types of work highlight the nature of urban transformation and its meaning for the urban poor.

In this paper, I examine the nature of work and conditions of migrant labour in the stainless steel utensil manufacturing industry located in the Wazirpur Industrial Area in the National Capital Region of Delhi. It is based on a study conducted through a trade union in the area in 2013- 2014. I find that informalization of manufacturing process and the workers in this industry is marked by absence of Decent Work conditions; this makes everyday life and work difficult for them. The structure of manufacturing here reinforces fragmentation of labour, as well as its transient relationship with the city. The fact that workers live as well as work in this area results in further restricting their interaction with other areas in the city, and embedding their lives in the tenuous social, economic, physical and political space of the industrial area. These complexities play out as dynamics in efforts at labour organising in this industry, of which this study provides a glimpse.

About the Speaker

Mouleshri Vyas is Professor in the Centre for Community Organisation and Development Practice in the School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Her areas of teaching, research, field extension and publication are: Community and Development, with focus on mobilisation and organisation, and impact assessments; and Informal Labour.

Lecture Series on Migration

We live in the ‘Age of Migration’. Though migration is an old phenomenon, actively promoted by the Colonial State, It was after the advent of liberalisation and integration of markets that migration has accelerated and diversified exponentially. This has made migration a complex and multi-dimensional phenomenon. The lectures under the series would try to explore these complexities by looking into the relationship between migration and labour processes, globalisation and liberalisation, partition, ecology, gender, land and tenancy, urbanisation, state policies, violence, and social justice. A couple of lectures would also discuss folk literature as an epistemic source to understand migration.

TISS Patna Centre

The Centre for Development Practice and Research is a Patna-based centre of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. The Centre has been established, with support from the Takshila Educational Society, with the objective to pursue research and publication, limited teaching and direct extension work in the community.

Presently, the Centre is engaged in research on migration, school education and caste-based practices. It has initiated a lecture series on Migration and conducted a seven-day orientation course on Migration. For details, visit: http://www.tiss.edu/view/6/mumbai-campus/centre-for-development-practice-and-research/centre-for-development-practice-and-research/