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Home based workers are part of the informal economy. They refer to the general category of workers who carry out remunerative work with in their homes or in the surrounding grounds. Home based work encompasses a wide diversity. From traditional embroidery and weaving, home based work today extends to some of the latest sectors such as computers and tele-work. Home based workers may work in the new economy (assembling micro-electronics) or the old (weaving carpets); they can be in the rural areas as well in the urban.
There are about 50 million home based workers in South Asia, out of which 30 million are from India.
In Bangladesh, 71% of all women workers are home based, in contrast to only 20% of all male workers who are home based.
In Pakistan, 65% of all women workers are home based, in contrast to only 4% of all male workers who are home based.
 
  In India, 51% of all women workers are home based as against 11% of all male workers who are home based.
  Home based work is increasing. In 2000, 35% of all women workers were home based workers. In 2005, 51% of all women workers were home based workers.
  They earn very little -the daily wages for Home based women workers (Piece rate workers) - Rs.27/-, as compared to the non home based daily wages - Rs.58/-.
  Annual Income of self employed home-based women is Rs.7800/- as against the annual income of non-home-based women workers in the unorganized sector which is Rs.59, 700/-.
  Mostly the young work as home based worker - 51% of the women workers are under 30 years, out of which, 8% of workers are children under 14 years.
  With globalization, production process spreads over different parts of the world and value is added at each stage. The design can happen in one country. The sourcing of raw materials in another. Production in several other parts, and marketing in yet another part of the world. The connection between these is captured in the term value chains. Evidence shows that - For a commodity that costs Rs.100 to a consumer, the home worker receives Rs.15 in zardoshi and Rs.17 in bidi, but only Rs.2.3 in agarbatti (the latter is said to be so low because the cost of perfuming the agarbatti is high).
  In PakistanIn prawn peeling, it appears that a home based worker's share is 2.5 per cent of what a consumer pays in the domestic market.
  Home-based workers contribute to the country's growth and to its exports. For example, the incense-stick industry contributes $300 million annually to production in India including an export value of $56 million. The garment industry in Bangladesh contributes approximately $454 million to its national income and is the country's largest export earner and fourth largest employer. Pakistan accounts for 80% of the world's match-grade footballs and earns nearly $50 million in foreign exchange from this industry alone. This market is growing rapidly. In India, the handicrafts exports have increased by 67% in last four years (2002-2006) from $2.2 billion to $3.7billion. Despite its contribution, the true extent and nature of home work has not been reflected in the official statistics nor perhaps recognized by the workers themselves. Home based workers remain invisible and unrecognized and are also unprotected by the law.
  Homenet South Asia -a dynamic and vibrant network of 600 organizations representing over 3,00,000 home based workers from five countries in South Asia - Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
   
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