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Publication Date Sunday, February 11, 2018



The Union Budget, announced on February 1, has committed to provide assistance for building 3.7 million houses in urban areas in 2018–19 under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY). However, this does little to resolve India’s urban housing crisis, which affects the poorest and most marginalised populations in cities.

I have never seen Ahmedabad city outside the factory. My body and mind always revolves around these machines,” said Gangaram, a migrant worker who hails from Barmer district in Rajasthan. He works in a garments processing unit in Ahmedabad, where 20 workers live inside their workplace. They sleep, cook, bathe and spend their free time in the spaces between the machines, on the shop floor.

For these workers, there is no line between their work and personal lives. They are not only constantly exposed to workplace hazards, but also face a higher degree of exploitation from the employer. They often work 18–20 hours a day during peak demand season, receive no holidays unless the machine stops working and are made to work even in the odd hours of the night, because they have nowhere to go after the workday.