ATLMRI - A Novel Initiative

I was associated with ATLMRI, though in a very small way, when it was being set up. I met Dr. Bino Paul recently and realised that they have done good work particularly, in study of employability. Here is Dr. Bino Paul's interview, he is very modest about the achievements, but we have come to know that the work at ATLMRI has received some international attention:

Why was Adecco-TISS Labour Market Research Initiative set up?

ATLMRI (The Adecco-TISS Labour Market Research Initiative) is a research and policy advocacy programme that aims to analyse and understand growth trajectories in the Indian economy and the character of labour force. We visualize providing pivotal linkage between the government, industries, education training providers, and prospective employees. ATLMRI was established in 2006 through an agreement between Adecco and Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

What are the research areas and ATLMRI contribution in the field?

Conforming to its objectives, ATLMRI traces contemporary issues in Indian Labour Market, focusing the linkage between labour market, economy and society. Quite importantly, there is much focus laid on structural issues of Indian labour market in ATLMRI’s research, rather than giving an outline demand and supply of labour. Moreover, the knowledge output of ATLMRI, called discussion papers, covers a variety of themes such as employability, vocational training, labour law, contrast between formal and informal work, assessment of living and working condition of informal sector and updates about Indian Labour Market. An important initiative of ATLMRI is the launch of its website http://www.atlmri.com/. This site contains discussion papers, India Labour Market Report, and various issues of monthly news letter “ATLMRI India Labour Market Monthly Review”.

What are current and future projects?

In 2009, ATLMRI brought out the first issue of India Labour Market Report which outlines structural aspects of Indian Labour Market. A labour market information cell was formed as a part of ATLMRI, aiming to launch field action and research projects focusing three issues: domestic work and social security, jobseekers with disability and employability of rural migrants. Now, on these themes, three projects are on. Moreover, the project has been building ties with trade unions, firms, government and NGOs. This year, ATLMRI published one journal article, two discussion papers and five newsletters.

What is the applied value of your research?

As an initiative, ATLMRI is too young to contribute to significant changes in economy and society. However, it is worth noting that people from diverse backgrounds –managers, trade unions, civil servants, students, activists, NGO professionals and scholars- have interacted with us, referring to our research. Interestingly, such interactions have led to outcomes like advocacy, filed action and creation of databases for policy. For instance, two of ATLMRI projects – (a) Social Security for Informal work and (b) Living and working condition assessment- have emanated from our interaction with institutions like trade unions. Further, as acknowledged by young business professionals -one entrepreneur who is working on social security and two managers from the field of finance, our research has been useful in shaping their output.

What is the model of funding and collaboration?

Initially, ATLMRI was started as a MoU with Adecco with an endowment. After a year, a team from Adecco Institute, London visited us, which assessed our contribution. They found our work quite interesting, and having a potential to emerge as a think tank on labour market in emerging economies, in future. Following this meeting, we have been receiving financial support from the Adecco annually.

Has this work impacted policies and strategies of Government?

We are yet to see any visible changes in policies which emanate from ATLMRI’s work. However, now there are opportunities emerging for ATLMRI to contribute to a significant change in social policy, especially in the field of social security. The scope for a positive social change, with the active involvement of ATLMRI, is well reflected in our initiatives on labour market information cell and social security.

About Bino Paul G D.

After graduating in Development Economics from Dr John Matthai Centre of University Calicut in 1995, Bino Paul joined department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Bombay for M. Phil in Planning & Development in 1997 and Ph D in economics of knowledge in 2005. He began his career as a market researcher with Drshti. Later, in 2001, he joined Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. In 2004, he joined TA Pai Mangement Institute (TAPMI), Manipal as an Assistant Professor. After a three year stint at TAPMI, he joined School of Management and Labour Studies at TISS as an Associate Professor. He teaches labour economics and social network analysis. His scholarly contributions include journal articles on Inequality in knowledge, Social networks in knowledge and Indian Labour Market. Currently, he coordinates ATLMRI.

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