New Delhi: The government on Friday said that 5 lakh people lost jobs during the four-month period ended December 2008 on account of economic slowdown in sectors including textiles, automobile and information technology.
“The total employment in all the sectors covered by the survey (conducted by the Labour Ministry) went down from 1.62 crore during September 2008 to 1.57 crore during December 2008, thus resulting in job losses of about half a million people,” Corporate Affairs Minister Prem Chand Gupta said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.
The assessment of job losses has been based on a quick sample survey by the Labour Bureau of the Labour and Employment Ministry.
The survey covered seven sectors including mines, textiles, metals, gems and jewellery, automobile, transport and IT/BPO.
Recalling the fiscal steps taken by the government to improve the situation, Gupta said the measures included “two packages announced on 7 December, 2008, and 2 January, 2009, (respectively) to provide fiscal stimulus” to the economy.
The initiatives taken by the government, Gupta added, were aimed at providing tax relief and increasing expenditure on public projects to create employment and public assets.
As part of the first stimulus package, the government slashed excise duty by 4% on items other than petroleum goods.
Impacted by global financial meltdown, the economic growth rate in the current fiscal is expected to moderate to 7.1% from 9% in the previous fiscal.
Among the worst-hit sectors are exports, which started shrinking in October after a gap of seven years. Industrial production too moved into the negative zone during October and according to the latest data, the output during December declined by 2%.