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Economists and experts said recent political developments—the Bihar elections and the Haryana government’s move to reserve 75% of jobs for locals—indicate how big an issue employment has become amid the loss of income and employment post the covid-19 lockdown.
Economists and experts said recent political developments—the Bihar elections and the Haryana government’s move to reserve 75% of jobs for locals—indicate how big an issue employment has become amid the loss of income and employment post the covid-19 lockdown.

PMO to keep tabs on jobs scenario

Data on payroll additions from the EPFO will be integrated to a PMO dashboard, under categories such as job creation by state, sector and demography

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is likely to track how many jobs are being created in both the informal and formal sectors from next week amid a noisy debate on joblessness in India.

Data on payroll additions from the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation, or EPFO, will be integrated to a PMO dashboard, under categories such as job creation by state, sector and demography, two government officials said seeking anonymity.

The move will also help the government keep tabs on a wage subsidy scheme it has rolled out via EPFO to spur job creation in the covid recovery phase. Tracking and monitoring have assumed importance as job creation has become a prickly political issue.

“Details of jobs and payroll will be integrated with a dashboard, and it will provide regular updates about the growth and fall of the sector. A lot of work has gone into it, and it will go live in the next few days," said one of the two government officials who declined to be named.

“A dashboard at the PMO on jobs or payroll additions gives two indications—the growing importance of jobs in public discourse; thus, government’s attention becomes a need and, second, a political requirement as the subject is gaining ground in several states," said the second official cited above.

In the last couple of months, the government has been making noise about mapping job creation in both formal and informal sectors, the official said.

While the impact of migrant movement and the lockdown on job creation is set to be mapped, tracing employment in the formal sector is also on the agenda.

The latter includes counting the jobs created by professionals such as around 2 million registered lawyers, over 1.15 million allopathic doctors and more than 300,000 chartered accountants. The Union labour and employment ministry has set up a committee led by S.P. Mukherjee, a renowned labour economist and emeritus professor of Calcutta University, to work on the details.

Economists and experts said recent political developments—the Bihar elections and the Haryana government’s move to reserve 75% of jobs for locals—indicate how big an issue employment has become amid the loss of income and employment post the covid-19 lockdown.

“Some surveys have shown that around 20 million regular jobs have been lost post the lockdown. It’s now a political and election issue, along with an economic one," said Santosh Mehrotra, a labour economist and retired professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

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