Informality in the Indian Automobile Industry

  • Timothy KerswellEmail author
  • Surendra Pratap


This chapter questions informality in India’s automobile sector, applying commodity chain analysis to explain why the sector is beset by informality, low wages and insecure working conditions. It illustrates how leading firms in India’s automobile industry, with the connivance of the Indian state, exploit the automobile commodity chain marginalizing both subordinate firms and contract/casual workers who make up most of the industry’s workforce. India’s automobile industry structure locks workers and firms into insecure work, with productivity gains consumed by leading firms, further reducing margins of lower-level suppliers and wages of workers. This qualitative study of Haryana’s automobile sector demonstrates why when the demand for vehicles in India is growing, wages and conditions are not improving. It concludes that India’s industrial relations regime has long ceased to reflect the actual balance of power between labour and capital, institutionalizing non-compliance with the labour law, and providing the basis for the industry’s informalization.


India Automobiles Commodity chains Informality 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Assistant Professor, Department of Government and Public AdministrationUniversity of MacauMacauChina
  2. 2.Director, Centre for Workers EducationNew DelhiIndia

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