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Microfinance challenges: empowerment or disempowerment of the poor?

 | 
Isabelle Guérin
, 
Jane Palier

Part I - Questions as to definition: what is understood by empowerment?

6. Micro enterprises of self-help groups and State policies under a neo-liberal regime: Evidences from a village in Kerala

S. Mohanakumar et Suja Susan George

Texte intégral

1Microcredit, neighbourhood group (NHG), self-help group (SHG) and micro-enterprise are a few mantric nostrums frequently voiced by policy makers and bureaucrats of developing countries undergoing structural adjustment programmes (SAPs), and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The spread of the concept of microcredit dates back to the muchacclaimed Grameen Bank experiment in Bangladesh in 1984. Since then, microcredit has been the universally accepted panacea for resolving unemployment and poverty, the twin issues plaguing third world economies.

2Microcredit is a mechanism through which poor people can lend and borrow money at the market rate, enabling the state apparatus, in turn, to get rid of its responsibilities with market distorting priorities and subsidies. Theoretical postulates underline the fact that microcredit can be a potential source of mobilising savings for investment, for self-employment and for income generation, which would in turn have a strong bearing on poverty reduction. Such theoretical postulates evolve from the generalised proposition that the non-accessibility of the poor to credit, in the absence of possession of creditworthy assets, is one of the major bottlenecks to development. It draws its ideological roots from the neo-liberal paradigm vouchsafed by international donor agencies such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Neo-liberalism advocates a minimal role for the state and has been extremely selective in the choice of roles prescribed. Accord to this paradigm, the state should withdraw from its commitment to providing basic services, while at the same time preparing an environment conducive to investment and production.

3However, a review of two decades of the implementation of neoliberal ideas has convinced its proponents that the globalisation process has singularly contributed to widening disparities, not only between countries but within nation states as well (Agnihotri 2003). For instance, by the late 1990s, one fifth of the population living in high income countries accounted for 86% of the world’s gross national product (GNP), 82% of the market for exports and 68% of foreign direct investment (FDI). The assets of the developed world’s three million people count for more than the combined GNP of all the least developed countries and their 600 million people. In the economies of developing countries, neo-liberal economic policies have led to the feminisation of poverty, re-emphasising the observed and empirically proven fact that the brunt of any social evils impinge more on women (Isaac et al. 2002). Having realised the impending danger of global immiseration, the World Bank, on behalf of global finance capital, sponsored a Microcredit Summit in Washington D. C. in February 1997, in which international NGOs and transnational corporations participated. Microcredit programmes thus targeted mainly women, and the recommitment of mobilised savings into productive investment became the catchword from the 1980s. Such a shift within the neo-liberal paradigm is based on the premise that gender discrimination is an economic phenomenon and, therefore, the generation of employment and income through micro-enterprises would empower women. This idea has been incorporated in the anti-poverty programmes of developing countries to draw women closer to the neo-liberal agenda.

4The strategy of poverty reduction with microcredit, microfinance and women’s empowerment, is expected to defuse the impending danger posed to global capital and thereby ensure that the existing structure and distribution of wealth remains unaffected. It has also been argued that the promotion of microcredit, SHGs and micro-enterprises, besides linking microcredit with international finance capital, are powerful tools designed to deregulate the labour market. It enables global finance capital to return to the 19th century form of labour exploitation by both lengthening the working day and reducing the wage rate. As the cheap labour force get released into the “free labour market” existing reservation wages could be drive down.

5Yet another point of disagreement with the World Bank proposition is that the promotion of microcredit-linked micro-enterprises of SHGs by women have not contributed to additional employment opportunities. For Kerala, this hypothesis can be tested empirically with the data available from various rounds of the National Sample Survey in the 1990s. Microcredit and micro-enterprises spread widely during the 9th Five year plan period and therefore, it is justifiable that the rate of growth in employment in the rural sector, particularly for women, should have scaled up during this period. The results of employment data showed that employment in the informal sector (agriculture) registered a negative rate of growth to the tune of (-) 1.63% during the period 1990-91 to 1999-2000 (Sen 2002).

Box 1. Study area and sample selection.

The area selected for the study is Kunnathukal Grama Panchayat, a village in the southernmost part of Thiruvananthapuram district in Kerala. The choice of the village for the study has been influenced by the following factors: (i) Innovative development projects implemented in the village attracted wide attention under the People’s Plan during the LDF regime from 1996-2001; (ii) The Labour Bank model in the agricultural sector and micro-enterprises of SHGs in the industrial sector introduced in the village were emulated by many other local self-governments in Kerala (Mohanakumar and Gireeshkumar, 2000); (iii) The village has succeeded in mobilising women in large numbers under a federating structure of SHGs.
Sample units of micro-enterprises selected for the study included umbrella, bathing soap,
agarbathi (incense), emergency lamp and coconut oil extraction units. A preliminary assessment of the working of the sample micro-enterprises revealed that barring coconut extraction units, the rest of them became defunct on account of policy changes initiated from the fifth year of the 9th Plan by the UDF regime. However, preliminary observation compelled us to restrict the analysis to the coconut oil extraction microenterprises. The primary survey for the study was conducted from April to June 2003.

6Seen against this backdrop, the present study is an attempt to examine the impact of policy changes on the formation and activities of SHGs. The policy changes under question are those of the regimes of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) during 1996-2001 and the United Democratic Front since 2001. The study also examines the changes in employment, income and hours of work of those involved in the activities of SHGs. In Section 1 is discussed the political and economic environment existing at the time of the formation and functioning of SHGs under two different regimes in Kerala. Section 2 discusses the socio-political background during the formation of SHGs and micro-enterprise in the study village. The experiences of SHGs functioning at Kunnathukal Grama Panchayat is discussed in Section 3, followed by a conclusion.

1. Change in policies and SHGs

7Though NHGs and SHGs of women were formed even prior to the introduction of the Kerala Panchayat Raj Act in 1994, such institutional setups could never be a focal point of debate until the experiments carried out with the financial assistance of UNICEF at Alapuzha district in 1993. Mobilisation of women, particularly of the lower strata of society, into small SHGs and their venturing into micro-enterprises, received a face lift by the second half of the 1990s, specifically with the earmarking of 10 per cent of the plan fund, for the implementation of exclusive women-oriented development projects, which devolved to local self-governments during the 9th plan period. In this section, the discussion is focused on the policies of the State government with respect to SHGs, micro-enterprises and women’s empowerment. Even though a detailed discussion of a wide array of policies introduced since the commencement of the People’s Planning is beyond the scope of this study, we shall discuss the changes in policies brought in by two successive governments from 1996 and the implication of such policies for SHGs and micro-enterprises. The policies introduced with respect to the formation of SHGs and setting up of micro-enterprises were premised on the basic social objective of women’s empowerment. The important policies of the government, which introduced the women component plan in 1997, bore certain features, which have wider implications for SHGs and their micro enterprises. The policies are described below.

  1. In the plan fund devolved to local self-governments, 10% was earmarked for the formulation of projects exclusively for women’s development; under any circumstances, no dilution or diversion of the fund was permitted;

  2. The women component plan fund could be utilised by local self-governments for the promotion of any form of micro-enterprise on the condition that it helped women overcome social discriminations and improve their social status;

  3. In the total strength of the task forces constituted in every local self-government for the formulation and implementation of development projects, directives given through plan guidelines stated that one third of the total strength of the task force should be women;

  4. In every development project formulated in local self-governments, the impact of development activities on women ought to be clearly spelt out for the approval of the project.

8In brief, the primary objective of the women component plan and micro-enterprises initiated by the government during the 9th plan were aimed at improving their social status and promoting income generating activities through micro-enterprises.

9Following the general elections, the newly elected government assumed power in May 2001, and issued guidelines for the formulation of plan by local self-governments for the 5th year of the 9th Plan. Budget allocation, rules governing the utilisation of plan funds, formulation of development projects in local self-governments and plan fund to SHGs were laid down in the plan guidelines issued by the State Planning Board on behalf of the Government of Kerala (Government of Kerala 1999). Local self-governments could allot fund to SHGs, or for that matter, any development activities could be undertaken, strictly in accordance with the rules laid down in the plan guidelines. There were apprehensions that the new government would water-down the decentralisation process on which SHGs, microcredit and their enterprises had sprung up. To a very great extent, after the new government assumed power, devolution of plan fund to local self-governments became highly irregular and unreliable. Consequent to this, the local self-governments lost confidence in undertaking or launching fresh development projects, which has adversely affected microenterprises. The general features of decentralised planning, which disrupted the initiative of SHGs and micro-enterprises are given below:

  1. Local self-governments were prevented from forming co-operatives or allotting funds for any projects for the co-operatives or federations. This clause in the new guidelines prevented SHGs from forming an apex organisation like Samatha at Kunnathukal. As a result, production and marketing for all SHGs functioning in a village could not make use of the economies of scale, virtually stalling all micro-enterprises.

  2. In tune with a directive of the World Bank, local self-governments were given strict instructions not to allot fund under the women component plan to those SHGs, which included members from Above Poverty Line (APL) families. Such demarcation has gone a long way in crippling the effective functioning of SHGs. In effect, this clause in the decentralised planning process led to the disintegration of SHGs and micro-enterprises.

  3. Falling in line with the neo-liberal agenda, social activists, who had been the major driving force in organising women for SHGs and micro-enterprises, were replaced with bureaucrats. The process of bureaucratisation has filtered out the element of activism and people’s participation from the decentralisation process.

  4. For the LDF government, the very purpose of forming SHGs and micro-enterprises was to mobilise women to the forefront of the social and political arena. The translation of this objective into practice was sought to be realised by placing women in key positions under the people’s planning campaign. It has, in turn, helped them create a public space for women and enabled them to avail of plan funds for SHGs and micro-enterprises. The guidelines issued by the new government sidelined women from the mainstream of the decentralisation process and the concept of women’s empowerment was redefined to narrow economic objectives (Mohanakumar 2003).

10The cumulative effects of the policy changes brought in by the new government started showing by early 2002. The micro-enterprises lost the vital character of people’s participation, and by 2002, their gradual demise had occurred. The micro-enterprises that were functioning effectively at Kunnathukal Grama Panchayat did virtually close down, rendering about 150 women totally unemployed. Part of the working capital for such enterprises was met from the microcredit mobilised by poor women, which also sunk with the collapse of the micro-enterprises.

2. Formation of the federation of SHGs at Kunnathukal

11In this section, we discuss the political and economic environment that led to the origin, development and demise of SHGs under different political regimes in Kerala between 1996 and 2000. Kunnathukal Grama Panchayat is one of the Panchayats which took the lead in the formation of SHGs. Here, the initiative primarily came from the Women’s Wing of the Kerala Sastra Parishath (KSSP), known as Samatha. In 1998, to begin with, Samatha formed 30 SHGs, in which members representing 15-20 families living in neighbourhood areas constituted an SHG. The newly-formed SHGs were brought under a federating structure called Federation of Samatha SHGs at Kunnathukal. Encouraged by the patronage from the State government, 30 SHGs were formed at Kunnathukal Grama Panchayat as early as 1999. Stepping up into the next stage of development, of setting-up microenterprises for income generation and employment, called for a detailed study on market potential, products to be manufactured, training to the members of SHGs, procurement of raw materials, production and marketing of products. Apparently, such decisions could not be successfully carried out by individual SHGs. It was in this context that SHGs decided to form a confederation to undertake the above activities; the rules related to the plan fund were so flexible then that it could even be utilised by the federation on behalf of the SHGs. In 1999, all the SHGs functioning at Kunnathukal were brought under the Samatha Federation of SHGs. The federation was envisioned to discharge responsibilities such as the coordination, monitoring and supervision of the everyday activities of each SHG, undertaking market study, procurement of raw materials for micro-enterprises and marketing of products. Based on the market study, the federation was convinced about the economic viability of producing five products, viz., umbrellas, bathing soap, agarbathis, assembling of emergency lamps and a coconut processing and oil extraction unit. The federation arranged training to its members, who were selected as representatives of each SHGs. Sixty women were trained in the production of umbrellas and soaps, respectively. Given the nature of the products, training was imparted to 12 members for emergency light assembling and agarbathi making.

  • 99 Labour Bank is another innovative project to provide maximum days of employment to agricultural and (...)

12The federation realised that markets for products such as umbrellas and soap could not be adequately met within the village and that markets outside the village should be explored to ensure the long-term sustainability of the units. In markets for products like bathing soap, where fierce completion existed from multi-national corporations such as Hindustan Lever, winning the battle either in quality or in price was beyond the wildest dreams of the federation. However, the federation carved out a captive market by linking the products of the SHGs with the Labour Bank99.

13The expenditure for the training programme, which was for a month, was met with the plan fund allotted by the Grama Panchayat. The fund allocation was so flexible that the federation could avail of funds on behalf of the SHGs and expand. The working capital for setting up the unit, rent for the building and other initial expenditure could also be met with the plan fund, supplemented with the microcredit mobilised by the SHGs. Umbrella making on a commercial scale commenced by mid 1999 and the raw material for this was procured from a far-away district of Thrissur. The cost of raw material for two months priced between Rs. 40,000 and Rs. 50,000.

14Even though 60 women were trained in umbrella making, constrained by the size of the market, on an average only 15 women were engaged daily to restrict the total production to around 150 umbrellas. The trainer turned supervisor and quality controller would monitor and supervise the production and every morning, the umbrellas, stamped ready for sale after the rigorous quality check, would be taken to the Samatha store for sale. Initially, there was sufficient demand for umbrellas and their sale, when linked to the labour market, could bring in a market without much difficulty. Since umbrellas have, to a great extent, a seasonal demand, a new market had to be found outside village, and the Samatha could find it in schools and other academic institutions in other Grama Panchayats. The social capital created under People’s Planning could be made use of as a potential market source for the products produced by SHGs not only at Kunnathukal, but also for the products produced by other Grama Panchayats as well. Gradually, the number of people employed in umbrella making did go up, as the market widened.

3. Micro enterprises and women’s labour at Kunnathukal

15In this section, we discuss the experiences of the members of SHGs in micro-enterprises. We put forward the hypothesis that micro-enterprises do not help to augment the income and employment of women labourers, but accentuate the process of labour exploitation. The hypothesis is explained in the light of the experiences of the sample households engaged in the coconut processing micro-enterprises. Table 1 (see annexe) gives details about the type of umbrellas made, piece rate for labourers and the cost of the raw material. SHGs at Kunnathukal made four types of umbrellas, with prices ranging from Rs. 105 to Rs. 160. On an average, a woman would make five umbrellas, working for not less than 10 hours. The piece rate of making an umbrella priced at Rs. 105 was Rs. 5, and for other types, the rate was fixed at Rs. 7. The average daily wages varied between Rs. 25 and Rs. 35. The minimum wage rate for women agricultural labourers was Rs. 80 and the actual wage rate was Rs. 120 at Kunnathukal in 2000. The cost of raw material accounted for 90 per cent of the final price of the product and the profit per piece was Rs. 3. The favourable social, political and economic environment that prevailed in the Grama Panchayat was further boosted-up by the conducive policy package of the State government, which encouraged the SHGs to carry forward the micro-enterprises. Within a short period of 16 months, the number of women workers engaged in umbrella making recorded an increase from 12 to 20. Moreover, the markets for umbrellas became more or less steady. It is also important to note that the daily wage rate for female agricultural labourers (harvesting) that prevailed at Kunnathukal Grama Panchayat was Rs. 120 in 1999 and by 2001 the rate had come down to 95.

  • 100 Natural Rubber (NR) accounts for almost 75% of the area cultivated by sample households. Given the (...)

16The coconut oil processing unit was run by a SHG housed in Narani, a small village in Kunnathukal. The SHG selected six women members from the group to run the unit. Among the five micro-enterprises initially envisaged by the Samatha Federation, only the coconut-processing unit survives. This particular unit could obtain a sum of Rs. 33,000 from the women component plan of the Block and District Panchayats together. This speaks volumes about the way in which SHGs, women’s empowerment and micro-enterprises are being viewed by the new government. Table 2 presents a short profile of six women members engaged in this micro-enterprise, who belong to the age group between 30 and 45. It can be seen that women with a relatively poor socio-economic background are interested in such income generating activities under micro-enterprises. Their educational background shows that out of six, four of them have either Secondary School Leaving Certificate – (SSLC failed) or below SSLC. Only one among the six members possessed an Industrial Training Certificate (ITI). Economic hardship was found to be the main push factor for women working in the micro-enterprises. All these six workers reported that their families had only one earning member, and that they were working to supplement their family income. Male members of the family in four out of six cases are daily-wage workers and the other two are farmers with small-holdings or farmers in the sub-marginal category. It has been estimated that average days of employment for daily agricultural labourers in a month is less than 10 days and the average monthly income is Rs. 1,200. The asset position of women indicates the holding of less than 50 cents or half an acre of dry land for 50 per cent of the women. The other 50 per cent have a size of holdings of about one acre. Two prominent crops grown at Kunnathukal Grama Panchayat are natural rubber and coconut100.

17Table 3 presents the quantity of labour being expended by women workers in the micro-enterprises of coconut oil processing. Two scenarios have been presented here. Scenario 1 illustrates the time at which women rise if there is no work in micro enterprise and scenario 2 presents the time at which women rise if they have work in micro-enterprises. Column 2 and 3 of the table show the time of rising if there is work and no work in the processing unit. It is found that all workers have to get up earlier by an hour or more if they have work in the micro-enterprise. The working arrangement and its scheduling is kept flexible enough for women to take care of their domestic work along with the work in the micro-enterprise. In a working day, members are forced to work for more than 17 hours. The additional workload that they bear is clear from Table 3. Women go to the work place by 7 a. m. and work in the unit till 10 a. m. By 10 a. m., they would go back to performing domestic work at home. Along with the domestic work, two women members worked in the rubber holdings to collect latex to assist their spouses in their work, but the wages for the tapping work was received by the male. One among the six members had to remain in the unit from 7 a. m. to 8 p. m. By 1 p. m., all of them return to the unit and remain there till 4.30 p. m. when they go back home. On serving food to their school-going children and other family members, they return to the unit and remain there till 8 p. m. The tick marks in Table 3 indicate the times during which SHG members shuttle between their home and workplace. It is often alleged that the strategy of micro-enterprises to engage women labour is multi-pronged. Small enterprises set up in habitat areas of poor people to make them available for work for more than 8 hours. It helps deconstruct the notion of oneself being a worker. As long as a worker does not feel that she is working for someone else, there is no way that she identifies herself as a worker and is felt underpaid or overworked. Another advantage of micro-enterprises is that as such units are small in size and scattered, unionisation of workers seldom takes place. The SHG at Narani chose coconut processing to suit their availability of labour time.

18The activity chart describes the work in the coconut-processing unit. The chart shows the labour hours required and the existing wage rate for processing 200 coconuts. Every month, on an average, this unit process 700 to 1,000 coconuts (Chart 1). Coconut processing involves six types of activities to be performed. In the chart, the actual wage rate existing if the work is performed by a hired labourer, as well as the labour hours required, are given. Now that we have illustrated the working and functioning of the micro-enterprise at Kunnathukal, we can look into the remuneration these women receive for labour power expended at the micro-enterprise. The group has not maintained proper accounting of their income and expenditure. However, details are available for the last three months. It is found that in July 2003, their business made a profit of Rs. 1000, which was shared equally among them. During the subsequent months the unit has consecutively been incurring a loss to the tune of Rs. 300 to 500, which should be made up by members engaged in the micro-enterprise. The stipulated condition underlined at the time of formation of this unit is that as profit is shared among the six members, so is the loss. Increase in the price of coconuts in the lean season and the poor quality of coconuts available for processing during this period two important reasons for the loss. Further, the group of uneducated and economically backward women are organised by those relatively better educated and economically advanced, who live in the area. The latter often do not take part in microenterprises, but perform the role of office bearers, such as in the case of the sample micro-unit. This woman is reported to have left the SHG with a sum of Rs. 7,000. As there was no provision to recoup the amount from her, the money was repaid by these six member to the SHG, whose money mobilised through microcredit and plan funds allotted to the units are used as working capital by the micro-enterprise.

Conclusion

19Microcredit and micro-enterprise have been the centre of the development debate, particularly with respect to developing countries, since the 1980s. Microcredit was promoted primarily by the international donor agencies to link it with international finance capital. Moreover, microcredit has been depicted as a panacea for poverty and unemployment in developing economies. The spread of microcredit and the mobilisation of women serve the twin purposes of enabling the state to withdraw from economic activities and diffusing any form of resistance against the state in the context of globalisation. The use of cheap women’s labour in micro-enterprises is glorified as women’s empowerment by the neo-liberal regime.

20Kerala, too, has not been an exception to the popularisation and practice of the agenda of neo-liberal regime. The much acclaimed experiments at Alapuzha District in Karalla under the UNICEF-assisted Urban Basic Service for Poor (UBSP) and Community Based Nutrition Programme (CBNP) made NHGs and SHGs popular in Kerala. However, the introduction of the Kerala Panchayat Raj Act in 1994 and the launching of the People’s Planning from 1996-97 opened up ample space for women to get involved in the social and political arena in the state. The earmarking of 10 per cent of the plan fund for the formulation of projects exclusively for the development of women for the first time in the history of planning in India has proved to be a source of funding for SHGs to initiate microenterprises. The State government then in power shared an ideological platform with respect to women’s empowerment, microcredit and SHGs, in variance with the one propagated by the World Bank. Under the People’s Plan in Kerala, SHGs and women involved in micro-enterprises did significantly increase, registered progress and gradually released women from the trap of low wages and exploitation. In May 2001, the new government, subscribing totally to neo-liberalism, reshaped their policies to fall in line with the agenda of global capital. The changes in policy helped to disintegrate micro-enterprises already formed in the State by 2002. The new micro-enterprises, started under the initiative of the new government, overburden women in the name of women’s empowerment. It has been found that SHGs are an innovative device at the hands of global capital to bring back century-old production relations, enabling global capital to exploit the members by lengthening the working day and cutting down wages. In fact, SHGs do not empower women and speed up development, but work in the reverse direction.

Annexes

Annexe

Table 1. Raw material costs and wage rate for umbrella making

Price range (Rs.)

Average raw material cost per piece

Piece rate per umbrella

Average production of 10 hours (nos)

Total daily wage rate (Rs.)

105

85

5

5-10

25-50

125

100

7

5-9

35-63

140

110

7

5-7

35-63

165

150

7

5-7

35-63

Source: Primary Survey.

Table 2. Education, land holdings and occupation of main earning members in sample households

Table 2. Education, land holdings and occupation of main earning members in sample households

Note: ‘’ and ‘-’: yes and no respectively.

Table 3. Activity chart of women working in micro enterprises

Table 3. Activity chart of women working in micro enterprises

Note: indicates the work of women in each timings. DW = Domestic work; SHG = Work in coconut processing unit

Chart 1. Activity chart of Coconut Oil Extraction unit of SHG

Activity sequence

Activity (200 coconuts)

Standard time required

Prevailing wage rate (Rs.)

1.

Tracing of supply source, coconut procurement and delivery to the processing centre

Head load 3 hours

25.00 (piece rate)

2.

De-husking and deshelling

2 + 3 = 5 hours

65.00 (piece rate)

3.

Slicing de-shelled coconut Drying coconut (four days

5 hours

50.00 (piece rate)

4.

of continuous drying in the sun)

40 hours

200.00

5.

Milling of dried coconut and oil extraction

----

30.00

6.

Transporting back to the SHG unit

----

15.00

Note 1. The activity chart is for 200 coconuts. Column 4 of the chart gives the existing wage rate for the work and all such work is traditionally performed by men. In the case of the SHG sampled for the study, all such work is performed by women and virtually for no pay.
Note 2. In the case of drying coconuts, even if the quantity exceeds by another 200 numbers, the rate given would not increase much.

Notes

99 Labour Bank is another innovative project to provide maximum days of employment to agricultural and other labourers in the unorganised sector at Kunnathukal Panchayat. In fact, Kunnathukal Panchayat became known for its innovative projects of the Labour Bank. Under this project, about 600 labourers in the unorganised sector, primarily agricultural labourers, were given employment for not less than 20 days in a month. Wages for these labourers were paid on a monthly basis, with other benefits such as group insurance and thrift fund (Mohanakumar and Gireeshkumar 2000).

100 Natural Rubber (NR) accounts for almost 75% of the area cultivated by sample households. Given the sharp deterioration in terms of trade in agriculture, the farmers find it very difficult to eke out a living with the land under possession. The price of both these crops has encountered violent fluctuations in the 1990s. On introduction of the neo-liberal regime in 1991 in India, the stable price enjoyed by NR started oscillating in a way that to relay on the crop is no longer safe. Violent fluctuations in the price of the crop impacted on the investment and employment, in rubber holdings in particular, and the agricultural sector in general, which hold good for the State as whole as revealed by the rate of growth in employment in the agricultural sector in Kerala (Sen 2002: 411). The sole earning members in four out of six families are agricultural cum tapping labourers and others are sub-marginal farmers. It further confirms the observations made in other countries that neo-liberalism breeds a conducive environment for the exploitation of labour.

Table des illustrations

Titre Table 2. Education, land holdings and occupation of main earning members in sample households
Légende Note: ‘’ and ‘-’: yes and no respectively.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4752/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 104k
Titre Table 3. Activity chart of women working in micro enterprises
Légende Note:indicates the work of women in each timings. DW = Domestic work; SHG = Work in coconut processing unit
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4752/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 148k

Auteurs

Social Scientist, Economic Research Division, Rubber Research Institute of India, Kottayam (India)

Senior Grade Lecturer, Saint Marry’s College, Kottayam (India)

© Institut Français de Pondichéry, 2005

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540

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