Hemantika Basu

Contact Details




Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati Campus
14-A Bhuban Road, Uzan Bazar, Guwahati-781001

PhD Project Title

Informal Labour Market and Women in Siliguri, West Bengal: Understanding Work and Employment from Decent Work perspective

Abstract of PhD Thesis

Siliguri is a rapidly urbanising city in northern part of West Bengal. Along with  higher levels of urban growth, dictated by strategic location, the city is facing in-migration from neighbouring states (Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Assam), across countries (Bangladesh and Nepal) as well as from less developed counterparts of North Bengal. Siliguri’s nature of urban growth shows signs of ‘neo-liberal urban development’ in a labour-surplus economy.  In the labour market post 1991, changes are noticed in the emergence of new work options as well as new employment relations in the old work opportunities (growth of casualised labour). The work opportunties are generated in the burgeoning private healthcare, real estate, finance, sales, education, insurance. Interestingly this pattern of urban development (labour market) is largely fed by migration and women’s participation in urban informal services like healthcare (nursing), beauty services, domestic services, construction work and so forth. Notwithstanding these work options are informal.

As opportunities for work is increasing  in the sectors characterised by informal work such as nursing (private hospitals, clinics, nursing homes), the study attempts to understand the nature and conditions of employment that are being generated in the process. While the natures of work will be explored from labour process perspective and control of work, the employment relationships will be examined with regard to subordination of work in the informal economy. The meaning of decent work for the workers shall be understood using ILO(1999) framework. The objectives of the study are,

·        to examine changing nature of work and employment relations in the nursing jobs in the era of market-driven demand for private healthcare in non-metropolitan cities in India,

·        to examine the factors (specific government policies and or else) responsible for these labour market outcomes (expanding informal services), and

·        to explore employment and work opportunity that are being created/generated for women.

·        to understand how and to what extent the work and employment patterns of workers conform to the decent working standards.

With respect to the first pillar of decent work, work and employment opportunities,  job options available and process of choosing work (in nursing) shall be explored. The socio-economic determinants help to understand freedom of choice of employment and whether or not work is generating adequate livelihood for the workers. The channels of recruitment of the workers, amount of skills required and process of acquiring skills will help to understand the labour process in nursing service.  To understand the working conditions, working hours, safety and security at workplace, control and organising of work (at workplace) shall be taken into consideration. The social security provisions that the workers are availing, as well as the existing mechanisms for organising the workers shall be explored.


Prof. Virginius Xaxa, Deputy Director, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati Campus

Area of Interest

Macroeconomics, Labour Market, Informal Sector, Work, Political Economy, Decent Work, Development Economics, Urbanization

Educational Background


Bachelor of Arts, University of North Bengal, India, majoring in Economics with Mathematics and Statistics as subsidiary subjects


Masters of Arts, University of North Bengal, India, majoring in Economics with focus on Resource and Environmental Economics and Agricultural Economics. Topic of dissertation: SHG-Bank Linkage Programme in India: A Socio-Economic Impact Assessment.

Bachelor of Education, University of North Bengal, India


M.Phil in Economics, University of North Bengal, India, majoring in Gender Economics. Dissertation topic: Urban Wage Workers in an Informal Economy: Domestic Workers in Siliguri Municipal Corporation area

Professional Experience


Lecturer in Economics, Surya Sen College, University of North Bengal, India.


Higher Secondary school teacher (contractual) - Economics and Social Sciences - for the Kendriya Vidyalaya , Air Force Station, Bagdogra, Siliguri, India

Social/Political Activities

  • Member, Court Committee, University of North Bengal, India


  • NET in Economics (National Eligibility Test for Lecturership in Colleges and University in India) qualified