How do working mothers in the informal economy breastfeed their children without maternity/labour protections? Using 150 interviews with domestic workers, vendors, home-based & pheri working mothers in Delhi, @antaraxrai, @sosurie & I share new work. Read:
79% of the sample was breastfeeding. Of the 21 women with a child under 6 months, 14 reported exclusively breastfeeding. However, 11 of them had fed water/other food too in the last 24 hours, and 2 of the remaining 3 were at risk of disruption b/c of pressure to return to work.
Informally working women need to balance earning income with optimal care for their children & themselves. Six months exclusive breastfeeding was difficult as 38% returned to work under 3 months of delivery (and 60% within 6 months of delivery), leading to early weaning.
90% aware of the importance of EBF but only in the standard language of public health messaging. Effective knowledge (why, what if, how) is missing, which hinders mothers from making everyday decisions + how to deal with difficult trade-offs.
Effective & adequate child-care options missing in large parts due to limited Anganwadi timings, no affordable+safe creches, unsafe physical infra - need constant attention, fear injury, hard to carry & care with time/physically-intensive work, not always welcome by employers.
How can we do better? 1. Delay return to work (w/ targeted cash transfers that compensate for loss of income?) 2. Increase proximity b/w mother & child (with adequate child care infra) 3. Improve home & workplace conditions (w/better infra at residences & public spaces)
4. Effective knowledge on breastfeeding & ECD practices among all stakeholders (w/improved translation of simplified scientific knowledge in ICDS curriculum & training) 5. Enhancing problem-solving capacity of the mother (w/localised counselling programmes reflecting their lives)
The research attempts to address a structural gap in current knowledge on the health of informal workers more broadly and with respect to maternal and child health outcomes for informally working mothers and their children specifically. Read on that here:

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More from @GautamBhan80

26 Apr
Fourteen states have said the vaccine will be free. More will follow. They should - it makes ethical, economic and political sense. But just realise when we all casually say 'health is a state subject', what this implies for all spending on health, and not just vaccines. (1/7).
States likely to spend 2.5-3% of budget on vaccines. Rajasthan has said ~3000cr over next 6months. The question is: what's the immediate trade-off? Income support for workers? NREGA/PDS expansions? Preparation for health infra expansion for third wave? It isn't free. (2/7).
For perspective, Rajasthan also had Rs 3000cr budgeted for NRHM and Health Insurance this fiscal year. Does Centre want states to make such trade-offs? This after handing them a Rs 400/600 ticket price that the states didn't even have a chance to negotiate themselves? (3/7).
Read 7 tweets
9 Apr 20
Thread. Few questions to hold onto re: urban social protection. It’s hard to think of a “post” now, but policy makers and urban practitioners must at least grasp at the questions that must guide us through the transitions to come so we don’t go back to a deeply unjust “normal.”
1. What are the new ways to deliver social protection innovated during emergency time that must remain and endure “post” this crisis? Eg. direct cash transfers to informal workers, technological innovations, community kitchens, rent protections.
2. Which of the measures currently seen as “relief” should just be normal social entitlements? eg. expanded food support, living wages + basic income supports, universal health care, rent protections, eviction moratoriums.
Read 10 tweets
18 Mar 20
As we think of physical distancing + social solidarity, a thread on things that those of us with economic resources should consider personally doing right away.
Let’s take stock of the workers whose labour run our homes as we “work from home” because we can. (1/10).
For domestic workers, offer paid leave. If you can’t, offer full pay for reduced hours. If you can’t, offer a bonus to privatise their transport to your homes. If nothing else, offer a bonus of an extra month’s income. (2/10).
For those who collect waste from our homes, reduce collection days as much as you can without
cutting costs so they can reduce their labour and the need to go from home to home, thereby reducing their exposure. (3/10).
Read 10 tweets
22 Dec 19
1/ Second thread, time time on NPR-NRC. Puts together NPR Schedules (; 2003 Citizenship Act Rules (; Census Schedules ( Read them for yourself, and real along with the thread!
2/ First, the 2003 rules. These are the basis of the NRC, and are put into action through the NPR which is defined in Para 2(l). What is the NPR? Effectively, it's a set of extra questions - called a “Schedule” - to be asked of households beyond the Census.
3/ NPR is meant to start April 1, 2020 (See With it, the NRC starts, no matter what PM is now trying to say.
Read 18 tweets
16 Dec 19
1/ There are lots of good and vital ethical, moral, and political arguments against the fundamental injustice of the #CAA. This thread lists other arguments and forms of resistance that focus on procedural and institutional challenges.

Writing this so that we remember that our forms of resistance must be as varied and diverse as the forms of exclusion we face. The courage of today's protestors deserves pathways tomorrow to grow and sustain.

In a nutshell: the #CAA constantly seeks to separate from the #NRC. Former is the "Act", latter only an "implementation mechanism." This will make legal challenges focus on CAA and less on NRC which will appear procedural and apolitical.
Read 18 tweets

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