Sandstone mining and silicosis deaths in Rajasthan: a critical legal and policy analysis

Mohammad, Shamim, Huchhanavar, Shivaraj, Rahman, Hifzur and Pasha, Tariq Sultan (2023) Sandstone mining and silicosis deaths in Rajasthan: a critical legal and policy analysis. International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare. ISSN 2056-4902 (In Press)

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The extant literature underlines the inadequacies of legal and policy frameworks addressing the safety and health concerns of sandstone mineworkers in India. Notably, Rajasthan, a state renowned for its extractive industries, mirrors these concerns. Against this backdrop, this paper aims to critically evaluate the relevant legal and policy landscape, with an emphasis on the recent central statute: the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code of 2020 (OSHWCC). Given that the Code subsumes the key legislation pertaining to the safety and health of mineworkers, an in-depth critical analysis is essential to forge suitable policy interventions to address continued gross violations of human rights.

The critical analysis of legal and policy frameworks on silicosis in sandstone mineworkers is based on a comprehensive reading of existing literature. The literature includes relevant laws, case law, reports of the Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission and National Human Rights Commission, publicly available data and key scholarly contributions in the field.

Although the OSHWCC has made some changes to the existing regulatory architecture of mines in India, it has failed to safeguard the safety and health of mineworkers. Notably, the vast majority of mines in India – constituting approximately 90%, which are informal, seasonal and small-scale – remain beyond the jurisdiction of this Code. In Rajasthan, there are specific policies on silicosis, but these policies are poorly implemented. There is a serious shortage of doctors to diagnose silicosis cases, leading to under-diagnosis. The compensation for silicosis victims is insufficient; the distribution mechanism is complex and often delayed.

Research limitations/implications
The central and many state governments have not established the regulatory institutions envisaged under the OSHWCC 2020; therefore, the working of the regulatory institutions could not be critically examined.

The paper critically evaluates laws and policies pertaining to silicosis in sandstone mineworkers, with a special emphasis on the state of Rajasthan. It offers a comprehensive critique of the OSHWCC of 2020, which has not received much attention from previous studies.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Human Rights | Healthy and Safety | OSHWCC 2020 | Sandstone mining | Silicosis
Subjects: Physical, Life and Health Sciences > Medicine
Social Sciences and humanities > Psychology > Social Psychology
Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Health (Social sciences)
JGU School/Centre: Jindal School of Public Health and Human Development
Jindal School of Art & Architecture
Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Subhajit Bhattacharjee
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2023 13:54
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2023 16:58
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