List of Contents
What is the News?
The Labour Bureau, which works under the Ministry of Labour, has released findings from the All-India Quarterly Establishment-based Employment Survey.
About All-India Quarterly Establishment-based Employment Survey(AQEES)
AQEES has been taken up by the Labour Bureau to provide frequent (quarterly) updates about the employment and related variables of establishments, in both organised and unorganised segments, of nine selected sectors.
These nine selected sectors are Manufacturing, Construction, Trade, Transport, Education, Health, Accommodation and Restaurant, IT/ BPO and Financial Services.
Note: This survey report covers employment figures for the first quarter of 2021-22 (April 2021 – June 2021).
What are the key findings of the survey?
Firstly, there was a 29% increase in employment in these nine sectors during the peak Covid-19 outbreak months of April-June 2021 over a base of 2013-14.
Secondly, among these nine sectors, manufacturing accounts for nearly 41% of the employment followed by Education with 22% and Health with 8%.
Thirdly, the most impressive growth in employment has been recorded in the IT/BPO sector, with 152%. On the other hand, employment in Trade came down by 25% and in Accommodation & Restaurant, the decline was by 13%.
Fourthly, the overall participation of female workers stood at 29% slightly lower than 31% reported during 2013-14.
Fifthly, around 27% of the establishments reported pandemic-induced retrenchment. But the silver lining was that 81% of the workers had received their full wages during the lockdown.
Lastly, regular workers constituted 88% of the estimated workforce in the nine selected sectors, with only 2% being casual workers.
What are the issues with the existing current survey?
Data accuracy: This first round of the QES was conducted mainly during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, and thus much of the surveying had to be done using the telephone.
Transparency: The original database from which the sample of surveyed establishments was selected dates from the full-scale Economic Census of 2013-14, a more recent round of the Economic Census was carried out in 2020 but is yet to be made public.
Faulty conclusion: The government has compared its inference of employment in the nine sectors to the full figure in the Economic Census of 2013-14 and concluded there has been healthy growth in the amount of employment available in these sectors.
However, this comparison may be faulty, given that many establishments in the 2013-14 sample were non-responsive and some of them had shut down. The gain or loss of jobs in these sectors can only be determined with a higher degree of certainty when the 2020 Economic Census results are released.
What is the way forward?
First, 2020 Economic Census results should be released without delay in order to make the QES more relevant and to give it a clear baseline.
Second, consensus to bring reforms. The government has made a good start towards re-creating a structure for labour statistics in India. It must follow up taking on board constructive criticism from the academic community about the statistical features of the QES.
Source: This post is based on the following articles
- “Jobs increased by 29% since 2013, says survey” published in The Hindu on 28th Sep 2021.
- “A good start” published in Business Standard on 28th September 2021.