Earning less than half a dollar a day

New Delhi, August 10:

Eighty-six per cent of working Indians earn less than 20 rupees or half a dollar a day, untouched by the country’s blistering economic growth, a government-backed study said Friday.

Out of 457 million workers, 395 million are employed in the so-called unorganised sector — in areas such as agriculture, construction, weaving and fishing — the study found.

“Only 0.4 per cent of the 395 million unorganised sector workers have access to any form of social security,” added the report from the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector.

“79 per cent of unorganised workers earn less than 20 rupees (49 cents) a day,” it said describing their living conditions as “sordid,” and “utterly deplorable.”

“No social security, pitiable working conditions, extreme poverty, no education, acute gender discrimination, and absent or poorly implemented laws - this is what India’s workers live by,” said author of the report and senior government official Arjun Sengupta.

It was sent earlier this week to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was elected three years ago on a pro-poor ticket and continually warns that the dividends of India’s economic boom must trickle down.