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Impressive gov't employment scheme data does not reflect true depth of job crisis

ABRY and e-SHRAM data shows effectiveness of schemes but think tanks point out the stagnant state of jobs in India

Sabrangindia 14 Dec 2021

unemployement
Representational Image: Reuters

Maharashtra topped the list of states with most assisted beneficiaries under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY), said the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment on December 13, 2021. Addressing the Parliament on Monday, Minister of State Rameswar Teli said that Maharashtra (6,49,560) followed by Tamil Nadu (5,35,615) and Gujarat (4,44,741) reported the highest number of beneficiaries.

Under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat 3.0 package, the ABRY scheme aims to boost the economy, increase employment in post-Covid-19 times and incentivise creation of new employment with social security benefits. Maharashtra received Rs. 409.72 crore for new employees of 17,524 establishments, while Tamil Nadu received Rs. 300.46 crore for people in 12,803 places. Gujarat beneficiaries received Rs. 278.63 crore from 12,379 establishments. Similarly, Karnataka that reported 3,07,164 new employees received Rs. 221.63 crore in 8,024 beneficiary establishments.

Other states like Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh reported over two lakh new employees while Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Telangana and West Bengal reported over a thousand new employees. Overall, 39,72,551 new employees across 1,17,016 beneficiary establishments received Rs. 2,612.10 crore.

On top of employment generation, the scheme reduces the financial burden of employers of various sectors by using the Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO). In January 2020, it introduced auto settlement of EPF for the quick disbursal of the amount to workers.

What does this mean for employment?

Focusing on its primary intention, the scheme has not succeeded in curbing India’s unemployment rate that has risen from 6.5 percent in January to 7 percent in November, as per Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). CEO and Managing Director Mahesh Vyas called the November employment data “quite disappointing”. According to Vyas, the employment rate barely rose from 37.28 per cent to 37.34 per cent between October and November. “This translated into employment increasing by 1.4 million, from 400.8 million to 402.1 million in November 2021,” he said on December 6.

Another disappointing aspect of the November data was the decline in labour participation rate (LPR) that fell from 40.41 per cent in October to 40.15 per cent in November. Vyas said this was the second consecutive month reporting LPR fall. “Cumulatively, the LPR has fallen by 0.51 percentage points over October and November 2021. This makes it a significant fall in the LPR compared to average changes seen in other months if we exclude the months of economic shock such as the lockdown,” he said.

Vyas also shed light on how employment declined in urban areas faster than in rural areas. Between 2016-17 to November 2021 urban employment fell from 32 percent of total employment to 31.2 percent. Since urban jobs arguably provide better wages and have a greater share of organised sectors, their decline implied a decline in the overall quality of jobs. He also voiced concern about the fall in salaried jobs by 6.8 million and how the number of entrepreneurs had reduced by 3.5 million. These were compensated by an 11.2 million increase in employment among daily wage labourers and small traders.

“This again points to deterioration in the quality of employment. Salaried jobs, at 77.2 million, were 9.7 percent lower in November 2021 than they were in November 2019,” said Vyas.

Meanwhile, the government’s e-SHRAM portal showed 11.81 crore registrations from people in the unorganised sector on December 14. Earlier on November 22, only 8.57 crore registrations were completed. While this huge jump in enrolments is commendable, the question of social inequality remains. Registrations from the SC community reduced from 23.82 percent in November to 22.78 percent. Interestingly, workers from the OBC community account for 41.27 percent of registrations (4.87 crore registrations) while workers from the general category account for 26.97 percent (3.18 crore registrations).

Highest registrations came from Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand with more than half of total registrations originating from the agriculture sector.
 

Related:

e-SHRAM records over 8 crore registrations, but are all inequalities addressed?

Over 1 crore people register for jobs on eSHRAM portal!

India’s workforce demands fiscal support following the second wave of Covid-19!

92 percent of India’s workforce faces historic and unprecedented crisis: SWAN report

Impressive gov't employment scheme data does not reflect true depth of job crisis

ABRY and e-SHRAM data shows effectiveness of schemes but think tanks point out the stagnant state of jobs in India

unemployement
Representational Image: Reuters

Maharashtra topped the list of states with most assisted beneficiaries under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY), said the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment on December 13, 2021. Addressing the Parliament on Monday, Minister of State Rameswar Teli said that Maharashtra (6,49,560) followed by Tamil Nadu (5,35,615) and Gujarat (4,44,741) reported the highest number of beneficiaries.

Under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat 3.0 package, the ABRY scheme aims to boost the economy, increase employment in post-Covid-19 times and incentivise creation of new employment with social security benefits. Maharashtra received Rs. 409.72 crore for new employees of 17,524 establishments, while Tamil Nadu received Rs. 300.46 crore for people in 12,803 places. Gujarat beneficiaries received Rs. 278.63 crore from 12,379 establishments. Similarly, Karnataka that reported 3,07,164 new employees received Rs. 221.63 crore in 8,024 beneficiary establishments.

Other states like Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh reported over two lakh new employees while Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Telangana and West Bengal reported over a thousand new employees. Overall, 39,72,551 new employees across 1,17,016 beneficiary establishments received Rs. 2,612.10 crore.

On top of employment generation, the scheme reduces the financial burden of employers of various sectors by using the Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO). In January 2020, it introduced auto settlement of EPF for the quick disbursal of the amount to workers.

What does this mean for employment?

Focusing on its primary intention, the scheme has not succeeded in curbing India’s unemployment rate that has risen from 6.5 percent in January to 7 percent in November, as per Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). CEO and Managing Director Mahesh Vyas called the November employment data “quite disappointing”. According to Vyas, the employment rate barely rose from 37.28 per cent to 37.34 per cent between October and November. “This translated into employment increasing by 1.4 million, from 400.8 million to 402.1 million in November 2021,” he said on December 6.

Another disappointing aspect of the November data was the decline in labour participation rate (LPR) that fell from 40.41 per cent in October to 40.15 per cent in November. Vyas said this was the second consecutive month reporting LPR fall. “Cumulatively, the LPR has fallen by 0.51 percentage points over October and November 2021. This makes it a significant fall in the LPR compared to average changes seen in other months if we exclude the months of economic shock such as the lockdown,” he said.

Vyas also shed light on how employment declined in urban areas faster than in rural areas. Between 2016-17 to November 2021 urban employment fell from 32 percent of total employment to 31.2 percent. Since urban jobs arguably provide better wages and have a greater share of organised sectors, their decline implied a decline in the overall quality of jobs. He also voiced concern about the fall in salaried jobs by 6.8 million and how the number of entrepreneurs had reduced by 3.5 million. These were compensated by an 11.2 million increase in employment among daily wage labourers and small traders.

“This again points to deterioration in the quality of employment. Salaried jobs, at 77.2 million, were 9.7 percent lower in November 2021 than they were in November 2019,” said Vyas.

Meanwhile, the government’s e-SHRAM portal showed 11.81 crore registrations from people in the unorganised sector on December 14. Earlier on November 22, only 8.57 crore registrations were completed. While this huge jump in enrolments is commendable, the question of social inequality remains. Registrations from the SC community reduced from 23.82 percent in November to 22.78 percent. Interestingly, workers from the OBC community account for 41.27 percent of registrations (4.87 crore registrations) while workers from the general category account for 26.97 percent (3.18 crore registrations).

Highest registrations came from Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand with more than half of total registrations originating from the agriculture sector.
 

Related:

e-SHRAM records over 8 crore registrations, but are all inequalities addressed?

Over 1 crore people register for jobs on eSHRAM portal!

India’s workforce demands fiscal support following the second wave of Covid-19!

92 percent of India’s workforce faces historic and unprecedented crisis: SWAN report

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