"Dissemination Workshop" to share findings of Research studies conducted as part of DWGB project

Dissemination Workshop: Sharing the Findings of Research Studies

 

Name of the Project: Empowering CSOs for Decent Work and Green Bricks in India’s Brick Kilns

Date: 26 October, 2017

Venue: Beta Hall, NCUI Auditorium and Convention Centre

 

Objective of the workshop:

The Dissemination workshop was part of the project titled ‘Empowering CSOs for Decent Work and Green Bricks’. The objective of the workshop was to disseminate the findings of four Research Studies, which were conducted in last two years, with wide range of stakeholders.

Key Deliberations:

Session I- Introduction:

The workshop commenced as all the participants were welcomed for being a part of the workshop. A brief introduction was given by the Executive Director of CEC about CEC’s work and its background. The organization’s focus on research, documentation, dissemination, campaign and advocacy was mentioned. The significance of this workshop was explained.

Session II- Presentations on the Findings of the Research Studies:

In order to share the findings of the research studies, the session was designed with a ‘panel discussion’, wherein along with the respective researcher, 2 to 3 experts from related field were selected to be a part of the panel to critically review the research studies, share their perspective on the subject, and provide recommendations. One of the experts was nominated to be the ‘Moderator’ for the panel discussion to moderate/facilitate the discussions. After deliberations by each panelist, the floor was made open to the participants who further enriched the research with their questions/clarifications and recommendations.

Panel Discussion on Study 1- “Occupational Safety & Health and Exposure to Emission of Brick Kiln Workers”

The first study presented was on Occupational Health & Safety and Exposure to the Emissions of Brick Kiln Owners. The panelists consisted of Researcher, Dr. Ashish Mittal, Mr. Jagdish Patel, an OSH Expert, Pradeep Narayan,Director, Research & Capacity Building, PRAXIS and Dr. Jugal Kishore, who was the Moderator for the panel discussion.

The panel discussion started with presentation by Dr.Ashish Mittal, who shared the findings of the research study, followed by discussions by the other panelists.

Study findings as shared by Researcher Dr. Ashish Mittal:

The objective of the study was to assess the impact of traditional brick manufacturing technology on the health of the workers.

Thestudy was done in Tripura, a state in North East India, as no health impact study ever was done in this State and the most of the stakeholder were ready to cooperate for this study to be done in Tripura.

Some key findings of the study:

  • Overall 49% workers are underweight, 64% of the females (16 out of 25) were underweight while 44% of males (30 out of 68) were underweight.
  •  51% workers are anaemic, 20 (80%) out of 25 female workers are anaemic, a haemoglobin level below 12 g/dl, whereas 40% male workers (25 out of 63) have a haemoglobin level less than 13 g/dl
  • 9 out of 11 female workers and 9 out of 15 male workers have either mild obstruction or mild restriction; 66% workers, 47 (68%) males and 15 (60%) females complained low back pain while 33% workers do have significant arm pain (23 (33%) male workers, and 8 (32%) female workers.
  • Brick kiln workers are suffering from high morbidity because of their work.

 

Feedback/Comments from Panelists:

Followed by the presentation, the panelists came forward to share their feedback on the study.

Jagdish Patel:

  • It is important to look how the workers’ health has an impact on their day to day life and also on their earnings.
  • It is relevant to collect hygiene data also.
  • The extent of disability should be assessed.
  • Data could have been collected on the number of minor or major accidents met by the workers in three years.

Pradeep Narayan:

•          Methodology: In a study to get a control group to be a representative of an ideal thing is difficult because later it ends up in taking the characteristics of control group itself.

•          Policy Recommendation: It is largely focusing on the state. Need to dig up data on other construction companies as only some focus on the supplyside and most of them don’t disclose. It is also important to find out if there is a way to build corporate responsibility in their core operations.


Open discussion -Feedback/ Comments from participants during discussion:

•          If there was any difference in the health of the workers in the state owned kilns and private kilns.

•          Children and their health conditions should have been included in the recommendations of the study.

•          The role of the government was not included in the study

•          The study should have linked other aspects too like women’s health issues (anemia).

Panel discussion on Study 2 - “Archaic Technology, Social Relations and Innovations in Brick Kilns”

The second panel discussion was on the study on ‘Archaic technology, Social Relations and Innovation in Brick Kilns’. The Panel consisted of Mr. J John, the researcher in this study; Dr Gonchaudhury, President of NBIRT, Tripura and Mr. O P Badlani, from Prayag Kiln and Technology as the Panelist;Dr. Sameer Maithel from Greentech Knowledge Solutions as the Moderator.

Study findings as shared by Researcher J.John:

The attempt in this research was to try finding out if there is a relation between the caste of the workers employed and the lack of technological innovations.Based on the technology used, the division of labour within the kiln is effected which further reinforces the discriminatory caste structure in the society.

The initial attempt was to look into different types of brick kilns operating with different technologies and the type of workers employed in them with focus on the caste of the workers presuming that caste configuration would change with change in technology.

The results from the initial investigation were presented:

  • It was seen that as technology of brick production picks up, the rigidity in caste based deployment of labour eases.
  • The casteist division begins with Bull Trench Kilns.
  • In order to understand how, the relation between technological innovations and its impact on society was understood conceptually.

Feedback/Comments from the Panelists:

The key points of discussion from the panelists are given below:

Dr. Gonchaudhury:

•          The brick field production is inefficient. Its productivity can be improved. The technology can be improved from traditional to zig-zag. The living conditions of brick kiln workers can be improved by policy and innovations.

•          Since this is an unorganized sector, brick kiln owners are not getting any incentive. Therefore, Integration can be made between this programme and Ministry of Renewable Energy, Ministry of Power, State Climate Action Plan. If they are eligible for any incentive from the government.

•          Can we link brick kiln workers with National Skill Development Centre Programme (Government incentives)? Can this programme be brought under Skill Development Programme?

•          Innovations can be made in the sphere of infrastructure for workers, access to portable solar energy can be explored, and sanitation can be improved. Bio-toilets can be introduced. Since brick industry is seasonal, permanent infrastructure is doubtful. Therefore, something that is portable can be thought of by the government.

•          For the sake of modernization, the cost of the bricks can’t be increased. The owner will be taking advantage from the government through incentives. The impression shouldn’t be made that people who are advocating technological change is giving opportunity to brick kiln owners to increase the rate of their bricks.

•          Why the construction companies are not able to fund these types of workers or owners through their CSR fund, the allocation should be there from construction companies for workers.

OP Badlani:

•          Personal experience in this sector was shared and the technicalities about the zig-zag kiln were explained.

•          If the workers are provided with supporting/technical devices, it will help in their upgradation and the productivity of the kilns will also increase.

•          Government support should is required in terms of resources (guidance, subsidy).

Open discussion -Feedback/Comments from participants during discussion:

•          The brick kilns are decentralized in nature and operates in a localized way so it difficult to integrate technology. Only technology cannot change, other issues should also be addressed.

•          Migrant workers (adivasis) are mostly involved in Pathai and the local workers do the Jalai or Bharai. Therefore, the dimension between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ still exists.

•          Along with technological change, the inhuman behavior with the workers should be addressed.

•          No authorizedgovernment body forbrick kilns. First advocacy should be to have a government statutory body responsible for brick kilns. State designated nodal agency should be formed.

•          Government schemes are available, Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Power Ministry or MNRE, the need is to tap them, approach them.

Panel discussion on Study 3- “Migration Pattern & Trend in Brick Kilns of Rajasthan”

The Panel for this study includes Sudhir Katiyar, Director from Prayas Rajasthan as the Researcher, Sameer Taware, Project Officer, Anti Slavery International, Delhi and Dr. RumaGhosh from V.V. Giri National Labour Institute as the Panelists, Mr. J John as the Moderator. Sudhir Katiyar and his other team members made a presentation on the study.

Study findings as shared by Researcher Mr. Sudhir Katyar and Team:

In Rajasthan majority workers are migrant workers, local migrants are also there coming from nearby areas. Hence, the objective of this study was to understand the migrant pattern; the socio-economic profile of the migrant workers coming to the brick kilns of Rajasthan’s Ajmer and Bhilwara region; Ethnographic study of source area- Chhattisgarh.

The criterion to map these 22 kilns was location stratification. For socio- economic profiling of the workers, 20% of the 1042 families i.e., 213 families from 1042 families was done.

Some key findings suggest:

  • There is large inter-state migration which amounts to 67% and intra-state migration amounts to 33% and it is same as previous year.
  •  The socio-economic profile of workers highlighted the workers’ access to entitlements such as BPL card, MREGA Card, Labour Construction Card, Bhamashah card (only for Rajasthan) and other entitlements.
  • In the aspect of indebtedness, it was shared 41% workers were indebted. The average amount of debt was more than 1 lac. The reasons of debt were marriage, sickness. 90% of the workers were working as labour to repay the debt.

Feedback/Comments from Panelists:

After the presentation, the panelists gave their feedback on the study.

Dr. RumaGhosh:

Dr. RumaGhosh gave a brief background on the migration trends and patterns. While giving an overview of migration in the unorganized sector, she latter discussed it in the context of brick kilns. Some key comments that were made are mentioned below:

•          One of the important reasons for migration to brick kilns is uneven development. They dynamics of various push and pull factors are at play. There is the aspect of advance in brick kilns. The wages given are not revised. It becomes complicated for an illiterate worker to understand how this works.

•          Policy initiative: There is not much legislative protection for brick kiln workers. An important policy measure would be to look into the livelihood conditions in source area.

•          There are schemes like RozgaarYojna, MNREGA, Ajeevika which needs to be looked at as policy measures.

Sameer Taware:

Mr. Sameer Taware made a presentation subsequently discussing on some of the major aspects of the study.

•          The study on migration is an extensive one.

•          This study has covered the composition of women workforce which is usually ignored in most studies making the women invisible and unaccounted.

•          Why indebtness more in the context of Rajasthani workers despite being local workers? A state specific local workers analysis can be done with certain indicators to see the extent of exploitation.

•          Giving skill trainings and other trainings are challenging in the context of migrant workers as their citizenship records/documents are hardly available.

Open discussion -Feedback/Comments from participants during discussion:

•          Wage rate standard, selling price of bricks should also be noted.

•          If there have been any key changes in the migration pattern? No major changes, only minor.

•          Why is Rajasthan largest in debt? Bharai, nikasi workers are slightly better paid off come from Rajasthan. Therefore, it can be associated they have more land ownership, more animal holding.

Panel discussion on Study 4 - “Labour Market Dynamics & Industrial Relation”

The panel for this study consisted of Ruchi Gupta, CEC as the Researcher, Professor Babu P Remesh, Ambedkar University Delhi and Dheeraj, Senior Programme Officer, PRAXIS as panelists; Gunasekaran S, Asst Professor, Centre for Historical Studies, JNU as the moderator.

Study findings as shared by Researcher Ms. Ruchi Gupta:

The study has attempted to understand the factors that influence the organisation of the brick kiln industry and the sourcing and distribution of labour. The study looks at the operation of the labour market, its dynamics, demand and supply factors, information flows, trends etc. in the context of the supply chain in the brick industry. The research location was Surir, in Mathura.

Some key findings:

  • The real estate was at peak in 2013. However, there was set back from 2014 with Land Acquisition Act, Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amended Act (2016), Real Estate (Regulation and Development)Act (2016), Demonetisation. Exclusive Brick Mandis emerged in Mathura due to TTZ regulation coupled with high demand from construction sector.From 2010 to 2013-14, more than 30% rise in brick kilns in two blocks in Mathura (Mant, Chatha).
  • In order to understand why Surir is a hub for migrant workers, it was observed that firstly, it is due to the rapid growth of brick industry in Surir, the owners are compelled to recruit migrant workers. This is more like a control strategy by the owners as the migrant workers are more vulnerable and easily exploited.
  • In Fatehpur, 58% of the workers are from SC community and 425 from OBC. The reason for working in brick kilns in Fatehpur is because of lack of alternative opportunities in the village, 78% had said this. 25% worked due to the lumpsum money that is given.

 

Feedback/Comments from the Panelists:

Here are some of the key comments that the panelists had made:

Professor Babu P Remesh:

•          In terms of decent work, the basic components include employment, it is important to address the inferior quality of employment. Another component is social security, in the brick kilns are lots of insecurities within a social system. How social insecurity is designed into the system can be highlighted.

•          One vantage point through which the study can be looked at is the depletion of natural resources as the social community is not detached from the activity and so is at risk.

•          How these information is brought to the CSOs and how CSOs can bring a check in terms of environment friendly practices.

•          No regulation in brick kilns shows the inactive action of state.

•          The nexus happening between local power groups and government can be looked at.

Dheeraj:

•          A comparative was made to relate the work conditions between the scenario in brick kilns and the formal sector, like a collective called the Corporate Responsibility Watch.

•          Different power relations exist in labour market dynamics. It is based on these power relations that workers work in kilns.

•          The impact of demonetization on the working class can be seen.

•          The big players, corporates would be engaged in buying the bricks. It would be good to engage with them to see what kind of push they make.

Open discussion - Feedback/Comments from participants during discussion:

Question: ‘Holidays’ for which category of worker since most category of work is piece-rate and so the wages depend on the output. Is it a paid holiday or non-paid?

Response: The worker gets a weekly off during which he/she is allowed to leave the kiln. He/she is not expected to mould that day but needs to do other work, e.g., lay the pitch for next 3-4 days. However, the worker doesn’t earn anything that day.

Session-III-Concluding Session

The panel discussions were successfully concluded with everybody’s feedback and responses.

Vote of thanks was finally extended by Ms. Bhawna Salhotra, CEC,thanking all the panelists, researchers and other participants for being a part of the workshop.

 

 



Event Gallary


  • Dissemination Workshop at Delhi