Implications of the COVID-19 Crisis for Labour and Employment in India: Impact, Strategies and Perspectives

Head loader in Ahmedabad
8 June 2020 - 9 June 2020


The Institute for Human Development (IHD), International Labour Organization (ILO) and The Indian Society of Labour Economics (ISLE)  organised a Virtual Conference on "Implications of the Covid-19 Crisis for Labour and Employment in India: Impact, Strategies and Perspectives" from 5:30 am EDT (GMT-4) – 11:00 a.m. over the course of two days (June  8-9). The conferences was organized  into four Web Panel sessions that featured a number of  distinguished scholars and public personalities who discussed three broad themes:

  • Impact of COVID-19
  • Strategies to Deal with the Impact
  • Perspectives for the Future

On Day 2 (June 9)  from 6:00 a.m. EDT (GMT-4) - 8:15 a.m., Marty Chen, International Coordinator Emeritus and Senior Advisor, Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) offered an international comparative perspective on the theme when she presented on Panel 3: International Experiences in Employment, Social Protection and Economic Strategy. She explored the topic COVID 19, Cities and Urban Informal Workers: An International Perspective.

Marty spoke more specifically to the size and significance of the informal workforce, how informal workers have been impacted by the pandemic-cum-lockdowns and their contribution to the provision of essential goods and services. She also highlighted the injustices faced by the informal workforce before and during the crisis while issuing a call for a better deal for informal workers going forward: with a focus on cities and the urban informal workforce.

Other Panellists

  • Sangheon Lee, Director, Employment Policy Department, International Labour Organisation (ILO)
  • K.S. Jomo, Senior Advisor, Khazanah Research Institute, Malaysia; Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, United Nations (2005-2015)
  • Kunal Sen, Director, United Nations University - World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), Helsinki and Professor of Development Economics, University of Manchester 
  • Ian Pirates, Researcher, Brazilian Center for Analysis and Planning and Research Fellow, Social Accountability International CEBRAP/SAI
  • Rogerio Barbosa, Post-Doc Fellow, Center for the Metropolitan Studies University of São  Paulo, CEM/USP

Related Reading

BLOG: Vegetables on Wheels in Ahmedabad, India: SEWA partners with municipality to ensure food access during lockdown

BLOG: To die from hunger or the virus: An all too real dilemma for the poor in India (and elsewhere)

COVID-19, Cities & Urban Informal Workers: An International Perspective (Marty's Presentation)

Focal City Delhi: COVID-19 response

More Information

Programme Agenda 

Concept Note 


Informal Economy Theme
Informal Economy Topic