Context:

The government established a dedicated task force to fill employment data gap and ensure the timely availability of reliable information regarding job creation.

Introduction:

  • The task force appointed by the Prime Minister has recommended that traditional Employment-Unemployment Surveys carried out by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) every five years be scrapped.
  • The recommendation comes amidst criticism about the lack of adequate jobs as well as a debate over jobs cuts in the economy.
  • The task force was headed by Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya.
  • The draft report has suggested a host of recommendations to help the government collect more reliable, timely and relevant labour market data which is essential for appreciating employment situation.

Suggestions of task force:

  • The panel has suggested a new periodic labour force survey to provide estimates of labour force, employment, unemployment, nature of employment and industry.
  • The task force said that a central facility on the lines of Reserve Bank of India should be created to collect date concerning employment from different ministries
  • A time use survey should be conducted at three year intervals to provide data on time spent in various occupations and non-market activities.
  • The new survey will collect information on how individuals allocate their time over a specific time period, usually a day or a week.
  • The task force also suggested that Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) should be discontinued and replaced by annual enterprise survey using enterprise registered with the Goods and Services Tax Network(GSTN) as the sample frame
  • To get more frequent employment trends data, an urban module of this survey will be updated every quarterly.
  • The task force, headed by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya, in the report has mentioned that “ much of the recent debate on jobs in the media has relied on the estimates from the Quarterly Enterprise Surveys,” which has “several loopholes”.
  • The task force also suggested that household survey, which is currently held every five years, should be conducted on an annual basis.
  • The task force also pointed out that the data of Employee Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), Employee State Insurance (ESI) and National Pension Scheme (NPS) should be used to formulate a better picture of employment scenario.
  • The task force also pointed out that there is also a need of possible definition of formal employment.
  • The task force recommended for frequent surveys, extensive use of GSTN data and a dedicated central facility to improve India’s employment statistics.

Loopholes of present survey:

  • The availability of reliable and timely employment data from the government has so far been lacking.
  • The agencies like the Labor Bureau collect and publish data; the coverage of which is very small and fragmented. This has made it difficult for policymakers to assess the extent of job creation.
  • Lack of data hampers the State’s efforts to address unemployment problem in India.
  • The latest employment data available on the Ministry of Statistics website is only up till 2012.
  • The Open Government Data Portal has sector-wise employment data till 2014. In contrast, the U.S. government puts up jobs data on a weekly basis.
  • The household survey currently held in every five years.
  • Quarterly Enterprise Surveys conducted by Labour Bureau measure employment in eight broad sectors of industry and services.

Some statistics related to unemployment in India:

  • The United Nations International Labour Organisation (ILO) released its 2017 World Employment and Social Outlook report, finds economic growth trends lagging behind employment needs and predicts both rising unemployment and worsening social inequality throughout 2017
  • According to the United Nations Labour report, unemployment in India is projected to witness marginal increase between 2017 and 2018, signaling stagnation in job creation in the country.
  • In contrast, unemployment is expected to fall in 2017 in developed countries (by 670,000), bringing the rate down to 6.2 per cent from 6.3 per cent in 2016.
  • The report added that global unemployment levels and rates are expected to remain high in the short term, as the global labour force continues to grow
  • According to the fifth annual employment-unemployment survey at all-India level, about 77 per cent of the households were reported to be having no regular wage/salaried person.
  • Unemployment rate was estimated to be 5 per cent at all-India level under the UPS (Usual Principal Status) approach.
  • Unemployment rate was 4.9 per cent in 2013-14, 4.7 per cent (2012-13), 3.8 per cent (2011-12) and 9.3 per cent (2009-10).
  • Labour Bureau did not bring out any such report for 2014-15.
  • In rural sector, unemployment rate was 5.1 per cent whereas in urban sector, the rate was 4.9 per cent under the UPS approach.
  • The figure was significantly higher among females as compared to males. Female unemployment rate was estimated to be 8.7 per cent, whereas for males it was 4.3 per cent.
  • In urban areas, female unemployment rate was estimated to be 12.1 per cent at pan-India level compared to 3.3 per cent for males and 10.3 per cent for transgenders.

Measures to Minimize Unemployment in India:

  • It is disturbing as well as distressing to find that the standard of living of people is still below the desired level and unemployment is still increasing. In order to meet the problem of unemployment, the following measures can be taken.
  • Planned development by accelerating industrialization, removing the deficiency of demand, stabilizing the rate of domestic investment and consumer demand can fight the problem of unemployment.
  • Creating more employment opportunities in the rural areas through intensive farming, greater irrigation facilities, extension of community projects, organiza­tion of co-operative farming, development of village industry and settlement of agricultural labourers on the reclaimed land.
  • Emphasis should also be laid on the development of small-scale and cottage industries to relieve the pressure on land.
  • To eliminate seasonal unemployment, the manufacturers can take up the production of some other commodities in the slack season.
  • Providing temporary work for those who have lost employment.
  • Self-employment schemes for the unemployed youth have to be launched to enable them to start their own business or small-scale firm, which can also generate employment for many others.

Recent government’s schemes:

  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), is a skill development initiative scheme of the government for recognition and standardization of skills. It seeks to provide the institutional capacity to train a minimum 40 crore skilled people by 2022. The scheme was launched in 2015.
  • Make in India: The main aim of the Make in India programme is to generate employment in the manufacturing sector.
  • Digital India, Startup India and the Smart Cities project were all aimed at creating jobs for the country’s youth.

Conclusion:

  • Unemployment is a very serious problem in India which is projected to increase from 17.7 million last year to 17.8 million in 2017 and 18 million next year according to the latest United Nations labour report.
  • Unless unemployment problem is solved, the future of India cannot be bright.
  • There will be no peace and prosperity in the country if jobless people do not get a proper channel.
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