Joblessness on the rise in India

What is the News?

There has been a massive increase in joblessness of at least 10 million due to COVID-19 on top of the 30 million already unemployed in 2019. 

What are the key highlights from the article?
Less number of Non-Farm Jobs Generated

According to the Periodic Labor Force Survey(PLFS), the number of new non-farm jobs generated between 2013-2019 was only 2.9 million, when at least 5 million were joining the labour force annually.

Increase in Farm Employment

The agricultural output may have performed well during COVID and free rations may have alleviated acute distress. 

But this completely ignores that between 2019 and 2020, the absolute number of workers in agriculture increased from 200 million to 232 million, depressing rural wages — (a reversal of the absolute fall in farm employment of 37 million between 2005-2012, when non-farm jobs were growing 7.5 million annually). 

Manufacturing Employment

According to PLFS, manufacturing employment increased between 2017-18 and 2019-20 by 1.8 million. But what this ignores is that between 2011-12 and 2017-18, manufacturing employment fell in absolute terms by 3 million, so recovery is hardly any consolation. 

Further, manufacturing as a share of GDP also fell from 17% in 2016 to 15%, then 13% in 2020, despite ‘Make in India’.

MSMEs have not recovered to Pre-Covid Levels

It is being said that GDP in FY22 could not have returned to the pre-COVID FY20 level without workers returning to work and MSMEs recovering. However, this is not true.

This is because the Consortium of Indian Association(CIA) conducted a survey of over 81,000 micro-businesses across India in June 2021 two months after the second wave was over. 

According to the survey, 59% of these MSMEs reduced their staff compared to pre-COVID levels; 88% of respondents had not availed of any government stimulus packages; 28% reported they were unable to get payment dues from their customers from private or government; 64% reported banks were not giving loans.

Source: The post is based on the article “Joblessness on the rise in Indiapublished in The Hindu on 4th May 2022. 

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