ILO has been working since 2002 in India with support from U.K. Department for International Development and the Government of Netherlands, as part of the sub-regional project to address family indebtedness and “Promoting the Prevention and Elimination of Bonded Labour in South Asia” (PEBLISA). In 2007, the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) invited the ILO to present a new concept note for a next phase of programme implementation, building on the lessons learned through PEBLISA, and upscaling the interventions in selected districts in the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. The current phase of the activities, since 2008, is funded by Government of Ireland.
A decision was taken to focus in the first instance on Tamil Nadu in two Districts of Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram in the Rice Processing and Brick Manufacturing sectors respectively. The pilot project in brick kilns sector was launched on 25th of June 2008 in Kanchipuram district in the presence of officials from the central and state governments and the district administration. The new project in Tiruvallur District was launched on 26th June 2008.
Target groups and partners
The ultimate beneficiaries are women, men and children currently working and/or living in the sites targeted by the project. The project is reaching:
- 6,000 families who live and work (for part of the year) in the brick kilns sector in Kanchipuram (Kattankolathur area) and
- 3,000 families who live and work in the rice mills sector in Tiruvallur (Red Hills area).
These families benefit through improvements to their living and working conditions that are generated as a result of project interventions.
The direct recipients of the project are the intermediate stakeholders in government, employers’ and workers’ organizations, who are responsible for implementation of various project components, and whose capacity are being strengthened to allow them to effectively fulfill the roles foreseen for them in implementation.
Description of the project strategy
The project adopts a comprehensive approach to enhance the opportunities for decent work and living conditions for poor families in the target sectors. It uses a combination of measures in destination and source areas of migrant workers in the brick kiln sector, and in the living/working areas of non-migrant workers in the rice mills sector:
- In the Districts of destination/workplaces, worker and family welfare and other enterprise productivity-enhancing measures aim together to uplift conditions in the workplaces, and hence enable the fulfillment of basic workers’ rights without undermining enterprise viability; and
- In the source Districts from where migrant workers originate, measures are taken to improve the functioning of recruitment systems, so as to eliminate the use of abusive and coercive practices, and to better track migrant workers to improve their access to social protection and other publicly-funded schemes.
- Ensuring social protection for workers through convergence of existing schemes and services, both at source and destination areas, to reduce their indebtedness and poverty situation;
- Empowering the workers by imparting rights based awareness education and enabling them to organize themselves and engage in collective bargaining;
- Implementing workplace improvement measures and facilitation to workers and their children to access government schemes while they are at workplaces; and
- Experimenting improvements in recruitment systems and working conditions including regulation of payment of wages and advances through active social dialogue process among tripartite partners.