Albert Christopher Dhas is associate professor of economics at The American College in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. In 2008, Dhas co-wrote a paper titled Social Security for Unorganised Workers in India.
To what extent do you think start-ups in the unorganised sector will help improve the standard of living of workers?
Currently, unorganised workers suffer from scattered and fragmented workplaces, poor working conditions and lack of attention from trade unions. In this context, any effort towards their welfare by any agency - public, private or social - is a positive development.
Why do you think entrepreneurs have recently begun tapping these sectors?
Due to the efforts by the government and NGOs, the informal sector has undergone a significant change. Enterprising entrepreneurs are now taking advantage of the situation.
What will the employment of unorganised workers in more mainstream jobs mean for the economy?
In the context of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation, the involvement of both private and unorganised sectors has become crucial for the growth of the Indian economy. A more inclusive approach will also create a stronger growth pattern over time.
Could this turn into a more organised form of white-collar exploitation?
A labourer's scope for upward mobility is very limited. And the sustainability of these ventures is dependent on profit margins. This might lead to some degree of white-collar exploitation in the long run. Regular checks will play a crucial role in curbing this.