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Work and Livelihoods of the Poor in the National Capital Region (NCR)

Towards Evolving a Strategy and Action Programme

Project Sponsors: Sir Dorabji Tata Trust
Project Director: Dr. Abhay Kumar

The Institute was awarded a research project entitled, “Work and Livelihoods of the Poor in the National Capital Region (NCR)” by the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (SDTT), Mumbai. The project was aimed at developing a strategy for enhancing the livelihood options of the poor in the NCR, in collaboration with the Government and other key stakeholders, through an evidence-based research and advocacy initiative.

Objectives: The core objectives of the project were to: a) provide support to a large section of the poor and vulnerable workers, particularly migrants, to help them enhance their income and economic security in the NCR through livelihood promotion activities; and b) provide policy support to strengthen the linkages required to enhance the work and livelihood opportunities of the poor in the NCR, in collaboration with the Government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Methodology: The project was divided into two phases. During the first phase, an attempt was made to arrive at a theoretical understanding of the NCR region on the basis of various factors including its demographics, poverty levels, livelihood activities of the poor, the pattern of migration, and the emerging livelihood sectors of the economy. This attempt was largely based on secondary data and literature. The second phase of the study was largely empirical and entailed the conduction of six different field surveys, including the Listing Survey (covering 20,244 households), the Household Survey (3073 households), four sub-sector studies (with each consisting of 300 household surveys and Focused Group Discussions [FGDs]) on informal workers engaged in the solid waste management, transport and construction sectors, as also female home-based workers.

Findings: The project culminated with the delivery of both the research reports as well as the policy and strategy documents to facilitate policy advocacy initiatives for the urban poor in the NCR. It was found during the course of the study that the illiterate, low-skilled poor manual workers and migrant workers are unable to adjust to the changing policy paradigm and have consequently been shifting out of the core areas of the city and settling in the suburban parts whereas the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi, which constitutes the core of NCR, absorbs more educated and skilled workers than the unskilled ones. In this backdrop, a major policy thrust has been recommended for promoting education and skill development among both the workers and their children in order to make their livelihoods more inclusive and sustainable in the long run.