23rd December 2016: Demonetization has been one of this era's most contentious exercises and will remain one of the most significant monetary occasions of our time. Its effect is being felt by every Indian as this step influences the economy’s liquidity. Its impact will be in light of the fact that about 86% of cash available for use was suddenly declared useless with only a few hours’ notices. Subsequently, after the withdrawal of the Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes, there was a crevice in the cash arrangement as the only valid currency notes were either the Rs. 100 currency note or notes of the denomination Rs. 2000.
In the quest to shed light on social issues and working to empower our clients through strong, reliable data, we at Outline India take on the challenge and search high and low to get meaningful data for various studies. Every journey into the field forces me to stretch my horizon of understanding this country and its people. The dramatic turn of the landscape from city life to village life prepares us for an unknown environment. A recent study-related to dowry trends among migrant married men across Delhi-NCR, the cocoon of knowledge that I know this city was broken. Multiple shades of the city life and the working people emerged that came to redefine my knowledge of the city.
“We had a huge garden with mango trees and plum trees. Every morning at the crack of dawn we would go pluck a basket full of fruits to devour post lunch, sitting on our charpai in our backyard whilst enjoying the fresh breeze.”
One of our recent studies involved exploring instances of child labour in Gawan, Jharkhand. Our researchers were deployed to our base at Giridih for this study. Our site was a further 4-hour journey from our base. After a long journey through the dry and dusty roads of Jharkhand, we were nearing our sample villages and we could see from the distance, the ground was shining. The glistening ground was due to the rich mica deposits in the soil. Naturally, one of the main occupations of the region is mica mining.
Field work is hard. Our typical day on the field starts at 6 a.m., because often, the village we have to visit for data collection is a 2-3 hours’ drive from the town centre where we stay. Rural India is largely an agrarian society with 70 percent of people living in rural areas and half of our workforce still engaged in agriculture (2011-12). This means that we also have to time our field work in a way that we are able to meet the respondents before they leave to work on the fields. Often this entails checking with the local inhabitants the timing of electricity and water supply, and migration and work patterns before making a field plan.