This chapter provides a comprehensive picture of the relationships between activity status, morbidity patterns, and level of hospitalisation in India and across its six main geographical regions. Regional differences are striking, as the reported prevalence of ailments is higher in southern regions than other regions in India. The greater social and economic development, coupled with greater accessibility of healthcare services, could be responsible for the regional variations observed during the study. Alongside these regional patterns, there are wide differences in morbidity rates among different socioeconomic groups. The results also show a social pattern in health which is quite different from that usually observed in high income countries.
This chapter examines the direction and magnitude of changes in key domains such as the labour force, employment, and productivity in India in relation to some historical antecedents of Western industrial economies. The findings suggest that India is at the early stages of a qualitative transformation leading to improvement in worker participation rates along with structural changes in the distribution of workforce into sectors, status groups, gender divisions, and skill categories. There have also been some impressive gains in managing the labour market from the supply side by way of improving the age-structure and skill content of the workforce. However, the post-war construct of employment and industrial relations adapted from Western economies, based on which the transformation of labour market was planned and nurtured in Indian context, is literally falling apart under the onslaught of globalisation.
This chapter looks at the health and lifestyle factors among tea garden labourers in West Bengal. Tea garden labourers enjoy access to some free facilities like education for children, medical facilities, piped drinking water, housing, and subsidised food. Yet they still suffer from several health problems. This might be due to insufficient or inadequately maintained facilities, poor lifestyles, or a mixture thereof. The chapter then focuses on the work environment, lifestyles, and physical health status of Oraon tea garden labourers of Jalpaiguri district, West Bengal. The results reveal that around 60 per cent of the labourers are underweight, despite reporting that they were getting sufficient food to eat. Poor hygienic practices may explain these results. Anaemia was also high for both sexes. Ultimately, the overall health condition of the labourers may be explained by the poor health lifestyles that they have adopted in response to their work environment.
This introductory chapter provides an overview of work, stress, and health in India. India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The growth of the Indian economy has been matched by the steady increase in its labour force. However, globalisation and rapid industrial growth in India in the last few years has led to occupational health-related issues emerging. The major factors that contribute to the high prevalence of cardiovascular diseases and neuropsychiatric disorders in India include the increase in life expectancy, changes in lifestyles, stressful living and working conditions, and general lack of support systems that enable better coping mechanisms. Ultimately, work-related stress represents a major and costly health problem for individuals, companies, and nations.
This concluding chapter argues that the chapters in this book represent some of the state-of-the-art research on the relationship between work and health in India. Both individually and collectively, they have made some significant contributions to understanding these issues. However, as India continues to go through economic and epidemiological changes, one should expect to see a rapid growth in the number of studies in this area. As such, it is important to identify areas that should be the focus of future research: (1) occupational or industry-specific studies to capture new forms of working; (2) the development of nationally representative prospective cohort studies of the work environment and health; and (3) greater multidisciplinary dialogue.
This chapter studies the differentials in chronic diseases among occupational classes in India. The results of the 60th round of National Sample Survey conducted from January to June 2004 show that those who are engaged as own-account workers in a household enterprise have the highest rate of reported disorders in joints and bones, respiratory illnesses including ear, nose, and throat ailments, and bronchial asthma during the last 15 days of the survey. Meanwhile, the leading diseases among employers are diabetes, cardiovascular disease, disorders of the joints and bones, hypertension, and gastritis. Furthermore, the higher reported prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) resulting from higher prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases among richer groups could have contributed to the greater burden of illness among them.
This chapter explores the current state of policies and practices in India that aim to promote a good work–family balance, as well as the obstacles to their realisation. Overall, it can be said that the family, co-workers, supervisors, and organisations can play a major role in improving the work–life balance of their employees. Currently, it is a concern that work-life balance issues do not appear to be high on the agenda for many Indian organisations. However, there are some encouraging signs that some companies, such as Marriot Hotels, are taking the lead to implement positive work–life balance policies. Yet the research in this field in India is still in its infancy so it will take time to properly assess the impact that these developments might have.
This chapter addresses the crucial issues of gender and rural–urban differences in the time spent on unpaid household work in India. These are particularly pressing issues given the wide disparities between these groups. Women are largely under-represented in the workforce in India. According to a McKinsey Global Institute report on gender parity, women in India are almost ten times more likely to be engaged in unpaid work such as cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children and older members of the family than are men. This compares with a global average of roughly three times the amount of time spent by men. The findings that women spend more time than men in unpaid household activities related to management and maintenance and care of children, sick, elderly and disabled household members provide clear evidence that there is gender division of unproductive and productive activities which is induced by prevailing sociocultural norms and practices.
This chapter examines the predictors of psychological stress among police personnel and the role that emotional intelligence might play in moderating the relationship between the determinants of psychological stress and the subjective experience of stress itself. The results of multiple hierarchical regression revealed that factors such as inflexible work schedules, work–family conflict, political interference and lack of fairness significantly influenced stress. Moreover, emotional intelligence was found to buffer the relationship between a number of stressors and the experience of stress. The findings of the study suggest that those who possess the qualities of an emotionally intelligent person will deal with the stressors in an appropriate way, which may eventually prevent an individual from experiencing stress.
The rapid economic growth of the past few decades has radically transformed India’s labour market, bringing millions of former agricultural workers into manufacturing industries, and, more recently, the expanding service industries, such as call centres and IT companies.
Alongside this employment shift has come a change in health and health problems, as communicable diseases have become less common, while non-communicable diseases, like cardiovascular problems, and mental health issues such as stress, have increased.
This interdisciplinary work connects those two trends to offer an analysis of the impact of working conditions on the health of Indian workers that is unprecedented in scope and depth.