New Delhi: A tripartite expert group assessing the social impact of the economic slowdown has recommended that the Union government tailor stimulus packages for sectors creating jobs and retaining employees.
“Employment creation by itself will be a stimulus for growth as purchasing power will increase and, therefore, local demand can be created, provided remuneration is adequate and monitored,” said the report sponsored by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The report also called for the implementation of a statutory national minimum wage and easier credit for micro, small and medium enterprises, and emphasized that benefits from financial incentives be monitored to ensure employment is protected.
“The findings will help policymakers in designing stimulus packages,” said Mukesh Gupta, senior specialist in employment-intensive investments at ILO.
The expert group, which consists of employers’ representatives, trade union members and government officials, submitted the report in July to the labour ministry.
The report is expected to be discussed at an inter-ministerial meeting, Gupta said.
The report suggested a slew of measures for the construction, textile and handicraft sectors, including implementation of welfare programmes and strict monitoring of contractors to ensure that contract workers get wages on par with regular employees.
It also said social welfare programmes such as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme should be expanded to urban areas.
An estimated 131,000 people have lost their jobs across 3,003 labour-intensive, export-oriented sectors such as leather, gems and jewellery and textiles, according to the Labour Bureau’s latest survey conducted between April and June.
The economy expanded 6.7% in the last fiscal, the slowest pace in six years.
Half-a-million people had lost jobs between October and December, followed by a mild recovery—280,000 new jobs were created in the January-March period.
The report has identified urban youth, women, migrants and workers in the informal sector, particularly in construction, among the worst hit. The informal sector includes economic activities that are not officially regulated and which operate outside the scope of the incentive system offered by the government.
No survey has been carried out on the impact of the slowdown on the construction industry, but experts say workers employed in this sector were the worst affected by the crisis that caused demand for real estate to slow sharply.