Home / Economy / Urban unemployment rate hit 21% during first wave of covid: Labour ministry

NEW DELHI: Urban joblessness had hit a high of 20.8% in April-June 2020, when the country was under a stringent lockdown following the pandemic, the union labour ministry told the Parliament on Monday.

“As per Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) Quarterly bulletin April-June 2020, quarterly unemployment rate (in %), as per Current Weekly Status (CWS) in urban areas for persons of age 15 years and above in the country to the extent available for the quarter ending July-Sep 2019, Oct-Dec 2019, Jan-March 2020 and April-June 2020 were 8.3%, 7.8%, 9.1% and 20.8% respectively," the union labour ministry told the Lok Sabha

The ministry, however, said the complete picture of the country's employment/unemployment situation can be assessed only from survey data for full year covering both rural and urban areas.

“The annual PLFS data is available up to 2018-19. As per the results of annual PLFS, the unemployment rate for persons of 15 years and above on usual status (principal status + subsidiary status) basis in the country to the extent available during 2017-18 and 2018-19 was 6.0% and 5.8%, respectively," it added.

The ministry said government has taken a number of initiatives to boost jobs in the country through schemes like Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana that offers EPF subsidy.

The Union government will pay 24% of EPF dues, 12% each that would otherwise be paid by employees and employers, of this category of workers who join work during this period for two years from the date of joining. This is also applicable for new employees with monthly wage less than Rs15,000.

Every month, an employee pays 12% of his basic wage and part of some allowances as statutory EPF deductions. A matching amount is given by the employer. The government subsidising this amount will be a direct saving for both employees and employers.

This will be applicable to all firms employing up to 1,000 workers. Companies where the headcount is more than 1,000, the government will pay only the 12% share of the employees.

New employees under the scheme include those who have lost their employment during covid-19 pandemic and did not join any EPF covered establishment up to 30 September 2020. The terminal date for registration of beneficiary under the scheme has been extended from 30 June 2021 to 31 March 2022.

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