Globalization and Economic Reform as Seen From the Ground: SEWA’s Experience in India

Renana Jhabvala, Ravi Kanbur
  • Publisher: SEWA

This paper looks at four industries in India, the construction sector, the garment industry, the forestry sector, and insurance. Focus is on SEWA, a trade union of poor, self-employed women. Moreover, the paper looks at the effects that globalisation and economic reform have had on these industries, and how SEWA aims to ensure that its members gain rather than lose from globalization and economic reform. SEWA uses several strategies to aid its members, organising for collective strength; help in access to financial services; capacity building; and social security. In construction and garment industries, SEWA has provided training to its members in order to help them adjust to the changing needs of the market. In both of these sectors as well as in forestry, SEWA has also aimed to influence government policies. In insurance sector, the organisation has pushed for policies that protect the ability of the poor to get insurance, as well as aimed to establish its own insurance company. It is argued that ensuring that poor people gain from globalization requires active measures and pro-poor policies from the government. One of the key issues is that membership based organisations of the poor are given a forum where they can affect policy making.

Informal Economy Theme
Occupational group
Publication Type