Overworked, underpaid, abused: The world of India's domestic workers
In the decade after liberalisation, there was a nearly 120 per cent rise in the number of domestic workers in India, says author Tripti Lahiri in her recently released book, "Maid In India". Women constitute over two-thirds of the workforce in this unorganised sector. They usually come from backward regions such as Jharkhand, West Bengal and Assam, are often barely of legal working age, their wages less than the minimum fixed by the government. Their employers range from Indias elite to its nouveau riche, many of who still believe in the traditional divide between servants and masters. Abuse, mental, physical or sexual, of these women is not uncommon. One such dispute between a family and their Muslim domestic worker led to a riot-like situation in a gated community.
Through anecdotal evidence, Lahiri Asia Bureau Chief of Quartz, a digital media news organisation -- charts the sector's trajectory and details the business of brokers and agents and exposes the workers' limited access to justice and formalisation.