In Punjab's labour hubs, workers are pleading for jobs at a third of the official minimum wages -Arjun Sharma

-India Spend/

India’s informal sector continues to reel from the impact of demonetisation and GST.

Stress had put deep wrinkles on Balkara Singh’s forehead though he was just 32 years old. The daily wage worker, dressed in a faded blue sweater and jeans, has been coming to the Gol Diggi labour hub in southern Punjab’s Bathinda city every single day for the last five years to look for jobs.

Since the end of 2016, he has returned home disappointed most days. The best he could hope for were about 10 days of work in a month, he said.

Poverty drove Balkara out of school when he was in Class 2 and his only dream was to see his children – aged four and six –complete their education. His small house in Amargarh village, where he lives with his wife, children and parents, is about 14 km from Gol Diggi. It takes two bus changes and Rs 30 to reach the hub.

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India Spend/, 14 May, 2019,

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