Digital Labour Chowk: India's First Job Portal for Labourers

Know the story of Digital Labour Chowk - India's first job portal for unskilled workers started by a CA from a small district called Darbangha in Bihar.

Hitanshu Bhatt
New Update
Digital Labour Chowk

If you reside in India and travel across any railway station, bus stand or prime locations in your city, you might have definitely come across a bunch of labourers tirelessly standing there, looking for what? Well, those who are aware of a ‘Labour Chowk’ might know the answer to this but for the unversed, a labour chowk is a place where daily wage labourers wait with their tools for people to come and hire them for work. Most of the time, these workers get the job, probably by lunch time but there are days they have to head back to their homes helplessly, depriving them of meat and bread for that particular day as this is their only source of income. 


Just like us when Chandrashekhar Mandal was walking past a labour chowk near his office in Delhi, he noticed that many workers go home without getting work for the day. This was the time of COVID, so it made it more difficult for them to get jobs as there were restrictions on gathering in groups, and as we all know by now labour chowk essentially means ‘gathering in groups.’ This made him pity their struggles because he also hails from a small district named Darbangha in Bihar, from where a lot of workers migrate to metropolitan cities but he couldn't help but watch this every day. Until one day when he stumbled upon an idea where these workers get what they want and nobody goes home empty-handed. “I thought of transforming the ‘Physical Labour Chowk’ to a ‘Digital Labour Chowk’ solving the problem of joblessness for the workers,” shares, Chandrashekhar - founder of Digital Labour Chowk

Chandrashakhar Mandal
Chandrashekhar Mandal - Founder of Digital Labour Chowk

He researched and found out that there are ample hiring platforms for white-collar jobs out there in the market but none for daily wage earners. He started looking for ways to develop a business model where these workers could register and people could easily get their work done without going out in search of a contractor who then would assemble the labourers required for a particular job and get the work started. After visiting almost every labour chowk in Delhi NCR and talking to a bunch of labourers he designed the model. He even went to his hometown Bihar for R&D to understand the lifestyle and thought process of migratory workers. Once the model was ready, Mandal needed funds to start his venture, so for obvious reasons, he reached out to the government for a loan but didn’t get any assistance. 

He started trying his hands for investments from private companies and was lucky enough to get his first funding of INR 10 Lakhs from an incubation centre. Later, with his innovative approach and multiple pitch decks, he won the ‘Social Innovation Lab Challenge’ which was powered by Citi Bank. Here, he stood first and got a grant of INR 10 Lakhs. Following this, there was another grand of INR 30 Lakhs which he won in the ‘National Innovation Challenge’ organized by the ‘Kerala Start-up Mission’ and powered by Hitachi. “This set the wheel going for Digital Labour Chowk in 2022 with a 7-person team which now has grown and has to date registered 57,000 workers, 3,000 customers, around 2,800 jobs and 12,000 applications in Delhi NCR and Kathir, Bihar alone” tells the founder to Local Samosa. On this portal, one can find workers like construction labourers, masons, carpenters, painters, electricians, plumbers and other daily wage workers. 

But was it easy to please the workers to register?


It was very difficult for the organization to initially make them understand the know-how of the application and how it is helpful to them. “When we asked them to register on our mobile application they used to think that the money from their bank account would be transferred into our app and they would be scammed,” said Chandrashekhar. Gradually, when they started using our application and got jobs from it, they were relieved and assured about its functioning, adds the founder. 

They have built the app very user-friendly so it becomes easy for everybody to use. Along with the workers, customers who are looking to offer any job can also book the labourers according to their needs. The process is very simple for workers as well as the customers as they have to register themselves once they install the application and put their requirements that the portal will match and they can get their work done. The application charges no money from the labourers because it aims at building a place for them to ease their job-getting process and earn their living but the customers who wish to avail of the services need to pay a basic sum of INR 399 a year which includes corporates and organizations who form a major part of business for DLC. 

Digital Labour Chowk receiving MSME Heroes in the Tally's MSME Honours Program Award

Chandrashekhar wishes to keep the portal free forever for the workers as he feels it's their right to get the work they need for the amount of hard work they put in. For his unique business model and act of kindness, his company has received many recognitions such as the ‘Best Startup Award 2023 and 2024,’ ‘Champion of Impact Award’ and many more from organizations like Startup Bihar, the Department of Industries of Bihar, MSME, Tally and others. Although these awards are a testament to Digital Labour Chowk's unique business model, it is the will of entrepreneurs like Chandrashekhar to envision and bring these kinds of start-ups into reality that cater to the modest sections of society. 

India's First Job Portal for Labourers Labour Chowk Chandrashekhar Mandal founder of Digital Labour Chowk