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Introducing the Status of Domestic Workers in India

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Recognition of the Rights of Domestic Workers in India


Domestic work has been a vastly understudied field, although it absorbs a significant part of the work force, especially in developing countries. This chapter recognizes that the undervaluing of domestic work is rooted in larger structural discriminations and identifies the need to bridge the gap between legal and social dimensions of domestic work. The chapter further proposes the requirement of a comprehensive database that could pave the way towards minimizing the gap between existing policy recommendations on domestic workers and its implementation.

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  1. 1.

    These figures exclude child domestic workers below the age of 15. According to ILO estimates of 2008, there are around 7.4 million child domestic workers worldwide (ILO 2013).

  2. 2.

    As per the caste system prevalent in the Hindu society in India, there are four castes—the Brahmins (priestly caste), the Kshatriyas (warrior caste), the Vaishyas (traders) and the Shudras (menial task workers). Dalits (formerly known as the untouchables) fall outside these four castes and are considered below all, so much so that even their touch is considered polluting.

  3. 3.

    Formerly known as untouchables, they are also referred to as Balmikis.

  4. 4.

    The definition of domestic work as given by the National Policy has been discussed later.

  5. 5.

    See Hindustan Times (2010), Indian Express (2010), Times of India (2008).


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Mahanta, U., Gupta, I. (2019). Introducing the Status of Domestic Workers in India. In: Mahanta, U., Gupta, I. (eds) Recognition of the Rights of Domestic Workers in India. Springer, Singapore.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Singapore

  • Print ISBN: 978-981-13-5763-3

  • Online ISBN: 978-981-13-5764-0

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