Home / Politics / Policy /  Govt likely to widen scope of quarterly employment survey

New Delhi: India is likely to widen the scope of its quarterly employment survey to include industries such as retail, financial services and telecom to make it a more relevant information source, reversing an earlier proposal to scrap the survey.

The government is now looking to broad-base the survey, conducted by the labour bureau, that only covers the textiles, metals, automobiles, leather, gems and jewellery, business process outsourcing, transport, handloom and powerloom sectors.

“You must have seen we have not released any employment report mapping the job scenario in 2014. There were some deliberations at the (labour) ministry level and there seems to have a broad consensus to bring it in sync with the current realities of our economy," said Daljeet Singh, director general of the labour bureau, an autonomous body under the ministry of labour and employment.

As the services sector contributes more than 55% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), the government is likely to include retail, consumer goods, telecom, financial services and healthcare, among others, in the employment survey to give a better picture of the job market, a senior labour ministry official said, requesting anonymity.

The quarterly employment survey was started in October-December 2008 to assess the impact of the global recession on the Indian job market.

“The quarterly survey was started to gauge the global recession’s impact on certain sectors, but things have changed now and we have to bring in something fresh, which will serve the purpose of the country better keeping in mind the new sectors," said the ministry official.

The ministry official said the new National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has promised to boost jobs and has started working on reforming labour laws to create more employment.

A lack of jobs was a big problem in the 10 years that the United Progressive Alliance governed India. The country created 59.9 million jobs between 1999-2000 and 2004-05, when the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government was ruling India, according to the latest economic survey. Between 2004-05 and 2009-10, the country created just 1.1 million jobs, and during 2009-10 and 2011-12, India added 13.9 million new jobs.

It’s important to improve the monitoring system of the job market as well, the official cited above said.

Time has changed since the quarterly survey was started—the global economy has started improving and the new government expects economic growth in India to accelerate as well. “Revamping the quarterly survey is a necessity," the official said.

Singh said that there were some proposals to scrap the survey, but it was decided to instead look at ways to improve it. “There was discussion on whether we should continue with it or stop; whether we should go with the same periodicity or change it," he said.

He said the labour ministry is constituting a committee comprising independent experts and authorities from several ministries and departments including the Planning Commission and the ministry of statistics to consider how this can be done.

The recommendations of the expert panel is likely to be ready in the next three months, he said.

“There is a definite need to expand the scope of the employment survey and map sectors like e-commerce, financial services, pharmaceuticals and healthcare as new-age jobs are getting created," said Rituparna Chakraborty, president of Indian Staffing Federation, a lobby group.

The labour ministry should develop analytics about the labour movement in the country and give a better segmentation of the job market through it, she said, adding: “They have to realize that a lot of business decisions are driven around such data. They also need to tell people about the methodology adopted and give data points of public versus private sector job creation in certain skill sets or industry sub-sectors, etc."

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