Launch of "RAGS" Project to Improve Social Standards in the Indian Ready-Made Garment Sector 

With support from the UK Development Agency- DFID, RAGS will focus on home workers and gender discrimination

December 2010

SAI is pleased to announce its selection as one of the grantees in the new project- "Responsible and Accountable Garment Sector (RAGS): Improving Social Standards in the Indian Ready Made Garment Sector," an initiative supported by DFID aimed at improving conditions of home workers, a predominately female sector, and gender and caste discrimination. SAI's work at the factory level will complement that of other grantees including the UK-based Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and its grassroots partner the Indian National Homeworker Group (NHG), Monsoon, the ITGLWF, Tesco Stores Ltd., and Impactt Ltd. The 28-month project will have links with SAI's joint development partnership (PPP) in India with the BSCI and GTZ, and include  the participation of global retailers Gap Inc. and Timberland, who will engage a select group of their suppliers based in India.

The project, launched at a November meeting in London, addresses the big concern that, while garment export has fueled economic growth in scores of developing countries and  created over 25 million jobs worldwide, maintaining decent working conditions remain a critical issue, with gender discrimination, excessive working hours, and safety violations commonplace.

RAGS' goals to improve workers' lives will be addressed through four measures:

  1. Develop training tools and standards- The project will leverage multi-stakeholder partnerships with producers, brands, NGOs, and unions to incorporate their feedback. Over 100 India factories will test the training tools that focus on home workers, discrimination issues, and management systems designed to assure decent work.
  2. Build local training capacity- utilizing a 'training-of-trainer' strategy, SAI will train and qualify 30 local trainers qualified through the PPP to deliver RAGS project training courses, contributing to the project's sustainability after the program has ended.
  3. Increase worker and manager skills and awareness of rights- Continuing with the project's qualification program, trainers will work with 100 factories to improve avenues of communication to lessen discrimination in the workplace and encourage/enable responsible subcontracting to homeworkers.
  4. Strengthen local audit capacity- SAI will deliver auditor guidance on home worker and discrimination issues, using both existing guidelines and new ones addressing issues that are specific to the local context.

Click here to download Project Summary: RAGS- Improving Social Standards in the Indian Ready-Made Garment Sector [PDF, 90KB]

Click here to learn more about SAI's work in India
Click here to learn more about DFID's RAGS project

For more information, contact SAI Communications & Development Coordinator, Joleen Ong- JOng@sa-intl.org.

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Original article featured in SAI's December 2010 e-Newsletter