19 Lakh Jobless in Gujarat, not Six Lakh: Gujarati Economist

Image Courtesy: Metro Vartha

Gujarati Economist  contests chief minister Vijay Rupani’s claim for organised sector: Jobless Growth, Mockery of the Unemployed: Gujarat Model

Presenting independent calculation of the state’s employment figures, Lokshahi Bachao Andolan (Save Democracy Movement),  a campaign platform  set up ahead of the Gujarat elections, claiming to be not associated with any political party, has de-bunked official claims on employment and jobs. In a detailed presentation yesterday, they have said that much of the “tall talk” of employment generation during the biennial Vibrant Gujarat global investment summits, during 2004-15, 43.44 lakh fresh unemployed were registered with Gujarat’s Employment Exchanges. Of these only 24.41 lakh people could get employment.

Contesting the figure provided by Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, that there are only six lakh unemployed in the state as of today, economist Prof Hemant Shah, associated with the Lokshahi Bachao Andolan, or Save Democracy Movement, told media in Ahmedabad, “Even if we concede that Employment Exchange figures are true, as many as 19.09 lakh people could not get employment during 2004-15.”

Not only are lakhs of people jobless in Gujarat but there is zero social security for workers.

  • More unemployed persons get registered and less get employment.
  • Workers from the unorganized sector have been hard-hit.
  • Employment claims including those of ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ have been proved to be hollow.
  • Very few people get employment under ‘NREGA’.
  • Despite the avowed policy of giving employment to 85 % locals, Gujarat government surrenders to the industries at the cost of local employment.
  • Lakhs of workers are deprived of benefits of social security. 

Shah further said, “Each year fresh unemployed are registered, and the names of those who get jobs are deleted. The total number of new job seekers registered with Employment Exchanges in 2001-02 was 2.52 lakh. Things deteriorated year after year. In 2015-16, the number of those who registered for jobs increased to 6.11 lakh. Of this, job recommendations were made for 5.12 lakh, but only 1.77 lakh, i.e. only 35% people, got jobs.”

Pointing out that overwhelming majority of those who register themselves in Employment Exchanges are skilled workers, Shah said, this state of affairs is only of the organised industrial sector, adding, “As for the unorganized sector, we don’t have any figures of the people who may be unemployed or underemployed. Nearly 90% of the workforce in Gujarat and India is employed in the unorganized sector, which includes agriculture.”

Shah said, poor provision of employment in Gujarat has against the backdrop of huge claims made during the biennial Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors’ summits, begun by Narendra Modi as state chief minister in 2003. Thus, he said, figures show, during the 2009 summit an employment potential of 29.81 lakh was announced, followed by 60.69 lakh in 2011.

Lakhs of People are Jobless

♦ In the year 2001-02, 2.52 lakh fresh jobless workers entered the market and were registered but eight years later, in the year 2010-11, 4.11 lakh fresh jobless were registered. In the year 2015, 4.74 lakh jobless have been registered and only 3.37 lakh people got employment. Thus, year after year, more and more jobless people have been registered in the state.

♦ During  2001-11, 29.86 lakh fresh jobless were registered and only 13.38 lakh people got jobs in the state of Gujarat. Thus, during that period, 16.48 lakh people had remained unemployed. Taking into account the span of 2004-15, 43.44 lakh fresh unemployed people registered their names in the state employment exchanges but only 24.41 lakh people got employment  and 19.09 lakh people could not get employment. In this way, there has been consistent rise in the number  unemployed registered persons in the state.

♦ In the year, 2015, the number of registered jobless people was 6.11 lakh including both educated and uneducated unemployed persons.

♦ Records show that even all the recommended persons from the Employment Exchanges do not get employment. During the period of first six months of the year 2015-16, while there were recommendations to 5.12 lakh people, in actuality only 1.77 lakh people, i.e. only 35 % people got employment.

♦ The unemployment level of skilled and highly educated persons in Gujarat has created real distress. Almost 80 % of engineers in the State are jobless. Because of such large unemployment, there are some 200 to 500 applicants for only one vacancy as and when there is a job tender published and announced by the state government. Even for the vacancy of the post of Talati, lakhs of people applies for the job.  Similar is a predicament of Pharmacists, Dentists etc.

♦ The declared policy of offering employment to locals – upto 85 % of vacancies in the industries including Tata’s Nano Project, has not been implemented. While the government is offering relief in  lands, water and power supply to the tune of crores of rupees to corporates, on the question of job for the locals, the state government is content with merely issuing notices to defaulter industries.

♦ One of the reasons for tremendous rise in unemployment in Gujarat is attributed to thoughtless, sudden, haphazard and abrupt demonetization (2016) and GST. Over 90 % of the workers in the State are employed in the unorganised sector. Major portion of rural and urban population of the State is engaged in sectors such as construction, transport, home –based industries, small and tiny sectors etc. These people were producing 61 % products for the State’s GDP in the year 1997-98. Presently, its share has come down to 50 %. Due to the blows caused by demonetization and GST, a 2 % reduction has been observed in the GDP growth rate. As per one calculation, reduction of 1 % in the GDP reflects into 0.75 % reduction in the employment level. If one takes into account all this, then it will reveal that reduction of 2 % in the GDP has resulted into 1.5 % decline in the above-mentioned unorganised sectors, which accommodate over 90 % of the work force in the state of Gujarat.  

♦ While tall claims of employment generation were made in the Vibrant Gujarat Investment Summits organized at a huge public expenditure of crores of rupees, these have not been realised. In the Vibrant Gujarat Summits of the years 2003, 2005, 2013, 2015 and 2017 no announcements were made on the employment potential of the prospective capital investment. Whereas, in the summits of the year 2007 the employment potential of 13,12,436 persons and in the summit of the year 2009 employment potential of 29,81,021 persons was announced.  In the  2011 Vibrant Gujarat Summit, employment potential of 60 lakh  jobs was anticipated. With the implementation of Vibrant Gujarat Summit of 2007, employment opportunity for 55,463 jobs and in the summit for the year 2009, employment opportunity for 3,84,954 jobs was created. 

Addressing the media, former BJP chief minister Suresh Mehta blamed the Gujarat government for hiding jobs data in the organised sector after 2010, saying, “The figures show that, as of March 2008, 18.39 lakh people were employed in state and private sector enterprises, which increased to 19.49 lakh in March 2009.”

“Thereafter”, he said, “The state government only released jobs potential data announced at different Vibrant Gujarat summits. Since 2007, about one crore jobs potential data were announced. If we all jobs potential announced for Special Economic Zones, it comes to 1.16 lakh. On the other hand, we find from whatever figures we have been able to obtain, that jobs increase by 1.5 or 2 lakh per year.”
Continued Mehta, “The policy of offering employment to the local people up to 85% of vacancies in industries, including the Tatas Nano Project, has not been implemented. The government is offering relief in lands, water and power supply to the tune of crores of rupees, yet, thr government remains contented merely by issuing notices to such defaulter industries.”

Veteran economist Rohit Shukla said, “One of the reasons for tremendous rise in unemployment in Gujarat is attributed to thoughtless, sudden, haphazard and abrupt demonetization and Goods and Services Tax (GST). A major portion of rural and urban population of the state is engaged in sectors such as construction, transport, home based industries, small and tiny sectors etc.”

“These people were producing 61% products for the state GDP in the year 1997-98. Presently, its share has come down to 50%. Due to blows of demonetization and GST, 2% reduction is observed in the GDP growth rate. As per one calculation, reduction of 1% in the GDP reflects into 0.75 % reduction in the employment level”, he added.
 Very Few People get Employment under MANREGA

► MNREGA was promulgated by Parliament in the year 2005, but the state government, then led by Narendra Modi implemented it only in the year 2006.

► In the Budget of 2017-18, under the NREGA scheme, the government has made a provision for Rs. 380 crores and had stated that 6.1 lakh families will get employment. This means an admission that in each such family there are  jobless persons. If 2 unemployed persons are assumed per family, there are 12.20 lakh persons are jobless in the rural areas of the state. All these are uneducated families who do not get their names registered with the Employment Exchanges.

► During the period of 2007-12 the Central Govt. had allocated Rs. 2,236 crores to the State Govt. for implementation of NREGA but the Gujarat Govt. had provided employment only to 3 to 6 % workers demanding employment to the Job Card holder families for 100 days. Thus, the fund allocated by the central government has remained unutilized. 

► In the budget speech, the Finance Minister of Gujarat had announced that 6.1 lakh families shall be provided employment in the year 2017-18, and  340 lakh mandays employment will be generated. If employment for 100 days is to be provided to one family under the NREGA, then employment potential works out to 610 lakh of mandays. Thus the government had decided in advance to give employment for only 44 days as against for 100 days.

► In Gujarat 38.45 lakh rural families had obtained job cards under the NREGA. Even then, the State Govt. states that in the year 2017-18 it will give employment to only 6.10 lakh families. How, the campaigners have questioned, how will the remaining 32.35 lakh families get  employment? Moreover, the office of the Gujarat Rural Development Commissioner says that 7.50 lakh families had demanded job under NREGA, but jobs were offered to only 6.80 lakh families. Thus, 70,000 families did not get unemployment though they demanded job security under NREGA. In Gujarat, daily average wage of Rs. 130.81 is given under the MANREGA. Whereas against that, rate of daily wage is Rs. 153 in Bihar, Rs. 142 in UP, Rs. 159 in Maharashtra and Rs. 180 in Kerala.

► Under the NREGA, during  2016-17,  3,46,608 people of Gujarat had demanded  work but only 1,35,112 persons i.e. 39 % people were provided employment. During the entire year, 25.23 man days employment was provided. Thus, merely 7.22 % target had been achieved. Under the 2005 law, the government is bound to provide employment for 100 days to every family but employment was provided only for 18.76 days. If this is the situation for the last year, then how can the state government falsely claim that 340 lakh mandays employment will be provided during the current year?

► The situation for the year 2015-16 is worse. Statistics show that the number of people seeking employment was 5,70,509 but only 4,17,670 people could get jobs. Thus, 27 % could not get employment even though they had demanded jobs. On an average, only 35 days employment was given by the state and merely 10,418 families got 100 days employment.
Gujarat is trailing behind in Social Security of Workers:
→ In Gujarat, the Govt. does not pay enough attention for social security of the workers. Against every 1000 workers, only 419 of urban men and 604 of urban women have received any benefit of the Social Security Schemes. Here, respectively, Gujarat ranks at no. 32 and no. 22 in the country. In the same way in the rural areas, for every 1,000 men, 521 Nos. and 450 women have received benefit of social security schemes. In both the matters, Gujarat ranks at no. 22 in India as a whole.

→ Condition of workers engaged on contractual basis in Gujarat is worse than that in other states. Out of 1,000 contractual workers, only 78 workers get leave with wages and in that, the rank of Gujarat is at No. 7. Whereas, benefit of social security schemes reach to only 166 workers and in it Gujarat ranks at 16.

→ Among those, who get regular salary, the condition of such workers in respect of social security is poor in Gujarat. Out of every 1,000 workers only 422 workers get leave with wages. Here, among 36 states and Union Territories Gujarat is ahead of only Telangana and Chandigarh. The workers of Gujarat are far behind in availing benefits of Social Security schemes. Against 1,000 workers, only 362 workers get benefits of social security schemes and Gujarat ranks at 3 from the last rank only with Diu-Daman and Andhra Pradesh. 

→ In Gujarat, there are 12 lakh workers from Gujarat and 8 lakhs from other States, aggregating to 20 lakh workers are engaged in the construction business. For their social security, the Parliament had passed two Acts in the year 1996. Under those laws, cess at the rate of 2 % is levied on the construction of buildings and other constructions. As a result, an amount of  more than Rs. 1600 crore has been accumulated in the coffers of the state. The Board constituted under the Act for the welfare of the construction workers, got only Rs. 700 crore by the state Govt. The Govt. spends remaining amount in its budget funds. In fact, this sum has no relation at all with the general budget. Even then, the state government takes up this amount to the credit in the Consolidated Fund and spends off the same. Until the year 2014 the Govt. had not spent almost any sum from the income of such cess.

→ The situation of contractual workers in Gujarat is grim and out of 1000  urban workers, 948 workers are employed without any kind of written agreement. Gujarat ranks at no. 14 in such unfair practices. In rural Gujarat, only 6 out of 1,000 workers get jobs with any written contractual agreement and among 36 states and Union Territories, Gujarat ranks at no. 5 from the bottom, that is it is 31st in assessment of protection for the unorganised sector.

→ The central government runs many schemes for employment generation, including NREGA. However, the benefits have reached only 40 people out of 1,000 persons. In that respect, Gujarat is ranking at the very bottom except for Diu-Daman.

Note: Details and statistics furnished in this Press Note are based on the following documents:
Budget speech of Finance Minister of Gujarat, 2017.

  1. Socio-Economic Review, 2016-17, Gujarat State.
  2. Website of Gujarat Government’s Rural Development Commissioner.
  3. Outline of Activities: 2016-17, Budget Publication No. 32, Gujarat State.
  4. Various Reports of the CAG.
  5. 5th Annual Employment-Unemployment Survey, 2015-16, Labour Bureau, Govt. of India.
  6. Working Paper No. 2, National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector, Delhi, June 2008.
  7. Discussions in the Legislative Assembly of Gujarat State.  




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