Assam Wage Campaign: Income Breakdown

Day 13 in New Delhi

Continuing on with my work for Nazdeek creating visuals for their current campaign to assist tea plantation workers in Assam, India, push for an increased minimum wage, I was tasked with creating an infographic that shows what portion of tea workers wages are deducted–unlawfully–from their net income versus what they are entitled to according to minimum wage and labor rights law in India.

The core concept of the infographic was simple: highlighting that while 94 rupees per day was already an unbelievably low wage after deductions and taking into account modern costs of living, tea workers incomes were actually unlivable.

Sketch 1


One of the initial ideas for the graphic was to show total daily income, with deductions pulled from one side, and cost of living from the other. The remaining space would be what workers are left with, and if the too overlapped it would show that workers actually have to buy less food than is medically needed to sustain healthy living–which is what inevitably is happens–or begin taking on debt.

Sketch 4

The problem was, using cost of living standards put forth by the Indian Labour Conference in 1957 and the Indian Supreme Court the base cost of living was calculated to be 330 rupees per day, over three times what tea workers earn. The differential was so big that we agreed it would be distracting from the core focus of this infographic, which was unjust deductions from workers net incomes. The final product reveals that over 25% of workers daily income is lost to illegal deductions made by tea plantations. See the full res version here: Income Breakdown


I then created a second graphic, using the guidelines set forth in the Indian Labour Conference, breaking down the 330 rupee minimum daily wage that workers were entitled to. This graphic was meant to justify the 330 number, and explain why this was the bare minimum workers could feasibly earn to reach the most basic standard of living. The style mimics the Income Breakdown graphic, as these two are meant to be used together to get our message across. Check out the full res version here: Proposed Min Wage 2


2012 Working Papers

Neera Chandhoke, “Compound Inequalities and Political Violence in India

Lopamudra Banerjee, Ashwini Deshpande, Yan Ming, Sanjay Ruparelia, Vamsi Vakulabharanam, Wei Zhong, “Growth, Reforms and Inequality: Comparing India and China

Wei Zhong, Vamsi Vakulabharanam, Sanjay Ruparelia, Yan Ming, Ashwini Deshpande, Lopamudra Banerjee, “Wealth Inequality: China and India


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