“Anxious to plug the shortfall of informal workers and heal the scars left by last year’s strict lockdown, a growing number of Indian companies are offering off-the-books labourers perks normally reserved for payroll staff.

More than 90% of India’s 450-million strong workforce are informal, recruited through tiers of labour contractors with low wages and no social security benefits such as health insurance or pensions.

Almost a quarter of the informal workers are migrants who typically travel from their villages to bigger cities in distant parts of the country to work at brick kilns, garment factories, in hospitality or at construction sites.”