Labour Law Reforms in India: All in the Name of Jobs, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Labour Law Reforms in India

All in the Name of Jobs, 1st Edition

By Anamitra Roychowdhury

Routledge India

314 pages | 33 B/W Illus.

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Labour market flexibility is one of the most closely debated public policy issues in India. This book provides a theoretical framework to understand the subject, and empirically examines to what extent India’s ‘jobless growth’ may be attributed to labour laws. There is a pervasive view that the country’s low manufacturing base and inability to generate jobs is primarily due to rigid labour laws. Therefore, job creation is sought to be boosted by reforming labour laws. However, the book argues that if labour laws are made flexible, then there are adverse consequences for workers: dismantled job security weakens workers’ bargaining power, incapacitates trade union movement, skews class distribution of output, dilutes workers’ rights, and renders them vulnerable. The book:

  • identifies and critically examines the theory underlying the labour market flexibility (LMF) argument
  • employs innovative empirical methods to test the LMF argument
  • offers an overview of the organised labour market in India
  • comprehensively discusses the proposed/instituted labour law reforms in the country
  • contextualises the LMF argument in a macroeconomic setting
  • discusses the political economy of labour law reforms in India.

This book will interest scholars and researchers in economics, development studies, and public policy as well as economists, policymakers, and teachers of human resource management.


‘This excellent study skillfully combines information about labour laws with theoretical analysis. It deserves to be read by all, researchers, politicians and practitioners in the field who are not swayed by oversimplified rhetoric of labour market reform.’

Amit Bhaduri, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

‘Dr Anamitra Roychowdhury’s book Labour Law Reforms in India: All in the Name of Jobs is a careful analysis of one of the major economic questions in recent times. After critically evaluating the voluminous literature, the author builds formal analytical models to explain the empirical findings. The book is a valuable addition to the academic and policy discourse.’

R. Nagaraj, Professor of Economics, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India

‘This book alerts us that increasingly employers will offer contract rather than permanent work. It examines the theory behind labour market flexibility and offers us a macroeconomic perspective that contradicts the one which focuses solely on the labour market without considering the repercussions at the aggregate economy wide level. It is important reading for those concerned about the future of livelihoods and how developing nations should respond to that.’

Errol D' Souza, Professor of Economics, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, India

‘That the inevitable result of flexibility in the labour market—either by legislation or by stealth—has been widening gaps in income and well-being is now accepted by many economists with greater equanimity than before. This book will have further sobering effect on the supporters of the so-called labour market flexibility as it critically looks at the theoretical arguments that provide justification for flexibility. With a balanced combination of theoretical arguments and empirical evidence the book eminently accomplishes what it sets out to do – to show convincingly that the measures advocated to make labour market more flexible are unlikely to produce the results they are supposed to produce.’

Achin Chakraborty, Director, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata, India

Table of Contents


  1. Present Status of Labour Laws in India and their proposed amendments
  2. A Critical Examination of Labour Market Flexibility Debate in India
  3. Explanation of Jobless Growth in India Manufacturing and trends in Labour Conditions
  4. Identifying the Theoretical Structure underlying Labour Market Flexibility and its Critical Examination
  5. Some Market Clearing Models on Labour Market Flexibility
  6. Effectiveness of Labour Market Flexibility in face of Effective Demand Constraint
  7. Labour Market Flexibility in an Open Economy Context
  8. Concluding Remarks


About the Author

Anamitra Roychowdhury teaches economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. Previously, he taught at St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi. He completed his doctoral studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University and his areas of interest include development economics, labour economics, Indian economy and macroeconomics. He has published a number of research articles in many renowned international and national journals including International Labour Review, Agrarian South: Journal of Political Economy, Economic and Political Weekly and Social Scientist. His commentaries on contemporary economic issues have appeared in Global Labour Column, Mainstream and Macroscan.

About the Series

Critical Political Economy of South Asia

At a time when countries of the South Asian region are in a state of flux, reflected in far-reaching economic, political and social changes, this series aims to showcase critical analyses of some of the central questions relating to the direction and implications of those changes. Volumes in the series focus on economic issues and integrate these with incisive insights into historical, political and social contexts. Drawing on work by established scholars as well as younger researchers, they examine different aspects of political economy that are essential for understanding the present and have an important bearing on the future. The series will provide fresh analytical perspectives and empirical assessments that will be useful for students, researchers, policy makers and concerned citizens.

The first books in the series cover themes such as the economic impact of new regimes of intellectual property rights, the trajectory of financial development in India, changing patterns of consumption expenditure and trends in poverty, health and human development in India, and land relations. Future volumes will deal with varying facets of economic processes and their consequences for the countries of South Asia.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Labor & Employment
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies