Around 08.30 every morning, hundreds of workers arrive at the main bus depot in Noida Phase II, about 30 km from New Delhi. They fan out into the lanes of the neighbouring Hosiery Complex. With nothing more than a tiffin box in their hands, they begin their daily job hunt.
Almost every factory gate has a board proclaiming “Avashyakta hai (wanted)”. It lists the daily requirement of jobbers–tailors, finishers, ‘pressmen’ (as those employed for ironing are called), packers and so on–needed by the 200 small, export-driven garment units in the complex. The boards have been blank since the factories were hit by the aftermath of ‘demonetisation’–as the invalidation of the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes is being referred to.