Tap GST for jobs data: PM-appointed panel: 

Tap GST for jobs data: PM-appointed panel


Context

  •   NITI Aayog has proposed a plan of using Goods and Services Tax (GST) as the sample set to collect employment-unemployment data

The Proposal

  • NITI Aayog recently recommended scrapping of the traditional employment-unemployment surveys that are carried out by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) every five years.
  •  The last such survey was carried out in 2011-12 and the one due in 2016-17 was skipped implying irregularity and inefficiency in data collection. Thus the very purpose of the office is getting compromised.

Justification of this Proposal

  • The GST Network (GSTN) will include enterprises of all sizes in the goods and services sectors with turnover exceeding 20 lakh
  •  Continuous updating of GSTN will provide for an updated sample frame. Over 80 lakh firms are registered with the GSTN already.
  •  A subset of the GSTN database-backed surveys could be used to generate monthly or quarterly enterprise-based employment estimates
  •  For firms outside the GST net, Aayog has recommended separate annual surveys and an economic census every three years.

Way Forward

  • A new periodic labor force survey will be conducted annually to provide estimates of labor force, employment, unemployment, nature of employment and industry.
  • The first such labor force survey has already been initiated in this April
  • Apart from a new GST-backed Survey approach, the NITI Aayog has called for a fresh definition of  formal employment to include any person who gets a Form 16 reflecting income tax deductions at source.
  • Also workers covered under any one of the The Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 or EPF and miscellaneous Provision Act 1952, government and other public sector employees, workers having coverage under private insurance or pension schemes of PFs,” be considered formal workers.

Conclusion

  • A time use survey should also be conducted at three-year intervals to provide data on the time spent in various occupations and non-market activities.
  • If the inputs are implemented, India will be able to generate reliable estimates of a number of critical variables for informed policy making.
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