New Delhi: Come 2019, the Union government may have some answers on the number of jobs it has created over the past few years both in the formal as well as informal sectors.
It is likely to unveil a series of employment generation data collected from industries and households, as well as small businesses that have taken out Mudra loans from the government, said three government officials, requesting anonymity.
“The spadework is over, and final back-end work is on. Once the assembly elections to the five states, and the winter session of Parliament are over, the survey results will be unveiled," said the first official. Counting of votes for the assembly elections are to be held on 11 December, while the winter session of Parliament ends on 8 January 2019.
The three surveys are the employment and unemployment survey by the labour bureau, the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) findings on jobs, and the survey on employment outcome of the Mudra loans —also carried out by the labour bureau. The labour ministry’s quick employment survey is also awaiting a go-ahead from the government-appointed jobs panel.
Job creation has been a subject of heated debate. The current level of employment generation has not kept pace with the 12 million people entering the labour market each year. In 2015, India’s unemployment rate was 5% and joblessness among graduates and above in the 18-29 age group was 18.4%, according to labour bureau data. Though the government said 14.5 million workers joined the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) in the 12 months ending 31 August 2018, its data also showed 9.1 million leaving formal jobs. The EPFO data, however, has its limitations and suffers from duplication.
While the employment and unemployment survey, and NSSO findings are all household surveys, the one related to Mudra loans is a review of the informal sector. The quick employment survey will gauge the actual number of jobs added by companies.
“Of all the surveys, the labour bureau-conducted employment survey is the largest which will give a comprehensive picture—from unemployment rate to women’s labour force participation rate and youth unemployment, among others. It has taken a sample size of 150,000 households," the second official said, adding that the NSSO has a slightly smaller sample size but its outcome is well-regarded.
A spokesperson for the labour ministry declined to comment.
The second official said the survey to gauge employment generation from Mudra loans started in May-June this year and that the groundwork for most of it is over. “We have taken a sample size of 125,000 Mudra loan beneficiaries to show how a scheme has helped in creation of jobs in the informal sector."
The third official said the outcome of the survey will give a sense of jobs created in India in the last few years both in the formal and informal sector. “It will also arm the ruling coalition in the centre with indisputable data before the general elections," he said, adding whether these jobs in the informal sector are decent work or not is a different debate.