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Community Psychology attempts to reach out to the communities in such a manner that

they also get involved in the process of identifying issues, targeting problems and reaching
solutions. This allows for the issues that the people face themselves to receive proper attention
rather than an outside body intervening and working on the things they see as relevant.

The topic for the present study was chosen as this is a community that is present in
almost all regions of India and yet has not always received that much attention. Rickshaw pullers
form a large portion of the migrant population of Delhi. The workers from outside of the city as
well as the workers from the city have their own unique problems that come about from their
hectic schedules, lack of sustainable incomes etc. Rickshaw pullers are at the periphery of every
urban area and many times the job is at great personal risk. A lack of separate lanes for cycles
means that they ride among heavy motor traffic. Additionally, the rules of rickshaw pulling are
such that an individual puller who owns a cycle rickshaw has no legal protection due to the quota
system for licenses. This study will attempt to trace the health issues faced by this community
keeping in mind the factors that cause and sustain drug and alcohol addiction.

Cycle rickshaws form an important mode of transportation in metro cities as they offer an
eco-friendly, cost efficient form of transportation for short distances. They are also considered
safer than other forms by many as the vehicle allows for the person travelling to be in complete
view. Rickshaws also provide a means of livelihood to a section of the society that have the
characteristics of chronic poverty. Rickshaw pulling thus offers an opportunity for earning a
higher income in urban areas for poor rural migrants be they seasonal or otherwise. Migrant
workers are disconnected from their families and societies which can cause great feelings of
loneliness and can lead to heightened emotional issues. After arrival in cities, they subsist on
very little as they try and save money as much as they can to send back to their families in their
villages and live a miserable life where their extent of accessibility in housing, electricity, water
and other amenities is very poor. These deprived and exploited sections are not explicitly
recognized in policy documents by the government and very little attention has been paid in
humanizing the livelihood of the rickshaw pullers.

The migration of large numbers of people from rural to urban areas has caused the
unplanned and explosive growth of cities in India. During the last few decades, India’s capital
city of Delhi has been witnessing unprecedented urban growth and a huge influx of migrants,
especially from the rural areas of adjoining states. A study conducted by the Jan Parivahan
Panchayat (“People’s Transport Council,” a working group of Lokayan, a movement for
development alternatives) revealed that about 90 percent of Delhi’s rickshaw pullers come from
the state immediately east of Delhi (Uttar Pradesh) and the state immediately east of that (Bihar).
The study further pointed out that most rickshaw pullers in Delhi are seasonal migrants who take
up rickshaw pulling for few months and return to their native villages during the peak
agricultural season. More than 64 percent of rickshaw pullers stay in Delhi for less than a year,
while around 27 percent stay throughout the year. The study further found that rickshaw pulling
provided a quick source of livelihood for seasonal migrants from impoverished villages and
generated vast employment opportunities not only to the pullers but also to the rickshaw
mechanics and others in the small-scale industries that produce rickshaw parts.

As they do not belong to the city, they do not have homes and with the
responsibility of their families at home, many sleep in rickshaw stands or other public spaces as
they cannot afford to rent rooms etc. A study on the rickshaw pullers of Delhi called “the urban
poor and their money: a study of cycle rickshaw pullers in Delhi” consisted of a large sample
with only 3% (5 people) from Delhi itself. It was found that there weren’t great ties in the
community as most felt that they could not trust their fellow rickshawalas with two-thirds
reporting that the community was large and loosely knit. One-third reported it being small and
closely knit. Less than 5% were involved in any form of professional associations or unions.
Given that 44% were homeless with the rest living in illegal slums or poor neighborhoods with
unsanitary and unhygienic living conditions, the lack of any unionization or professional
association is quite dangerous. In unions there can be a system of interdependence that takes care
of the people’s living situation through a pooling of resources and assets. Health issues are also
addressed better along with a much greater sense of community and more social capital which
would be great for these people that are living away from their families (Mani Arul Nandhi,

The income of a rickshaw puller is very variable, unpredictable and low. In the study
mentioned above, the estimated average gross income of a puller was Rs. 269 with the reported
average daily income of Rs. 179. This is without subtracting the daily rickshaw rent and other
necessary expenses. Age was shown to be an important factor in determining the daily income of
these pullers with the gross average earnings for pullers over the age of 50 being only Rs. 148.
The maximum daily income for all pullers was Rs. 500 with only Rs. 250 for those over 60
(Mani Arul Nandhi, 2011).

Rickshaws are driven in all sorts of weather and road conditions, be it cold, hot, rainy, on
a gravel path, or a silt road with police harassment. As it is a non-motorized vehicle the speed is
not very high and it takes all of the puller’s energy to drive the rickshaw through the day. By the
end of a working day a rickshaw puller could easily have contracted new sores or health
concerns. In these conditions with the health concerns and draining daily lives, it can be very
easy to fall into alcohol or drug dependence. In a study on the Rickshaw Pullers of Aligarh there
was shown to be a very large percentage that engaged in addictions of some sort. Habits such as
drinking, drug addiction, Gutka and Tobacco, Smoking etc. These habits cause an additional
drain on a puller’s daily income and cause other health concerns as well when done on a daily
basis and in large quantity. However, with the harsh conditions in which they subsist, these
become vices that take their attention away from missing their families and the strain of daily
living. The study found that 47% of the sample indulged in smoking, 43% in Gutka and
Tobacco, 7% in drinking, 6% in gambling and 4% in drugs. 30% reported no such addictions.
Health is an important indicator of levels of socio- economic development and determines the
quality of life. Most of the rickshaw pullers have been reported to be suffering from various
diseases due to their unhygienic living conditions, arduous nature of work, poor nutrition and bad
habits. The health of the pullers in this sample was also not in the best condition with 30%
reporting coughs and colds, 27% reporting joint pains, 21% reporting back pain, 20% reporting
chest pain, 10% reporting Asthma, 5% reporting Gastroenteritis, 4% reporting Tuberculosis, 4%
reporting stones in their Gall Bladders, 3%% reporting Diabetes and 2% reporting high blood
pressure. (Khan, Hassan & Shamshad, 2010). (add more about health and what is done by them
for it)
Rickshaw pullers, due to their status as seasonal migrants, do not receive basic social
security in urban areas. Important documents like ration cards or voter identity cards are difficult
to procure due to lack of proper identity proofs. The study conducted by Jan Parivahan
Panchayat in 2001-2 revealed that around 88 percent of the rickshaw pullers in Delhi do not have
ration cards issued by the Government of Delhi, which would entitle them to subsidized grains,
cooking oil, sugar and other essential items. More than 90 percent of the rickshaw pullers did not
possess voter identity cards and could not enroll their names on the voter list due to lack of
evidence of residential and identity proof. The voter identity card, one of the most important
identity proofs in India, helps in obtaining various other facilities like a bank account, driver’s
license, electricity connection, telephone connection and so on. The study, “The Urban Poor and
Their Money: A Study of Cycle Rickshaw Pullers in Delhi” examined the saving behaviour of
Rickshaw pullers. 95% of the respondents saved some portion of their daily earnings. The two
most popular informal saving mechanisms were saving with self, on one’s person, or at the place
of stay, used by 55% of the pullers, and saving with neighborhood shopkeepers, used by 31% of
the pullers. Rickshaw pullers in the sample deposited on average, Rs.105 per day with the
shopkeepers. The average monthly savings with shopkeepers was about Rs.2503. The upfront
cost of saving with a shopkeeper was approximately Rs. 4 per month, and the “opportunity cost,”
in terms of how much interest would have been earned in a bank account, was on average
Rs.110.25 per month. For the poor every rupee or penny earned is useful. Rs.4 is approximately
3.8 percent of the average puller’s daily savings, making it a significant cost. Only 1% of
rickshaw pullers reported using a bank account to save. This is also because of the migrant
concerns due to which they cannot save with a bank.

4 researches were used for this much, please find more and add to what is written

Factors to be tapped:

Migration related issues,

House structures

Unions that exist and the work done by them,


Education related NGO’s that exist

The change that has come

Conclusion on how this is an area that has been ignored and that it needs to be
worked upon.