Centre’s big claims on employment generation under PM Narendra Modi regime since 2014 is once again exposed. The recently released government’s Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) 2022-23 has revealed that both the employment and unemployment situation in the country remains a matter of serious concern.
Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) for the country on Current Weekly Status (CWS) was only 40 per cent in 2022-23, only a marginal improvement from 39.2 per cent in the pandemic year 2020-21, when economic activities were heavily curtailed due to lockdown and containment related restraint. There was a general hope that recovery in economic activities would improve LFPR to a great extent, but the data reveals otherwise. The Centre has been churning out very impressive data on economic recovery, but it is not reflected in the LFPR. If the recovery data is true, we will have to admit that the present model of economic growth does not proportionally generate employment.
Male LFPR has been recorded 55.4 per cent while for female it was only 23.7 per cent on CWS basis, clearly indicating that the policies are heavily against women, though the Centre has been trying to make women believe that they have been doing everything for women empowerment. Women in urban areas are even suffering more which can be seen in their participation rate of only 19.1 per cent compared to 25.4 per cent in the rural areas. Male participation in urban and rural areas are 57.9 and 54.5 per cent respectively.
The PLFS 2022-23 also has given the data on the usual status basis, that gives a litter better picture of workforce in India compared to the current weekly status basis. Even in usual status basis the data reveals that workforce in the country are in very bad shape.
On CWS basis, the Worker Population Ratio (WPR) in India was only 38 per cent, which reflect the predicaments of the working class in the country. It means 62 per cent of the workers population were not in work in 2022-23. WPR for male was 52.6 per cent and for female was only 22.5 per cent. WPR in the urban areas for women was even less at only 17.4 per cent while it was 54.2 per cent for male. In rural areas, WPR for male was 52 per cent and female only 24.4 per cent. Total WPR in urban areas was 36.3 per cent worse than rural areas where it was 38.6 per cent.
The quality of employment is shocking since most of the workers were not under social security coverage. Among the rural males on usual status basis, regular wage salaried workers were only 14.3 per cent while among females it was only 8 per cent. Casual male labour were 26.8 per cent and female 21 per cent. Self-employed males were 58.8 per cent and females were 71 per cent. It should be noted that most of the self-employed persons are in fact unemployment in disguise, since they were forced by necessity of doing something because there were no works available in the job market.
Self-employment in the urban areas among male was 39.4 per cent and female 40.4 per cent. Male casual labour were 13.6 per cent and female 8.9 per cent. Male on regular wage or salary were 47.1 per cent and female 50.8 per cent.
Agriculture supported 45.8 per cent of workers; mining and quarrying 0.3 per cent; manufacturing 11.4 per cent; electricity and water etc 0.5 per cent; construction 13 per cent; trade, hotel and restaurant 12.1 per cent; transport, storage and communication 5.4 per cent; and other services 11.4 per cent on usual status basis.
All these indicate that employment generation in almost all sectors are matter of serious concern. When we compare it with the pandemic year we don’t find much improvement even though the Centre has been claiming economic recovery in non-farm sectors. According to PLFS 2020-21, employment in agriculture was46.5 per cent; mining and quarrying 0.3 per cent; manufacturing 10.9 per cent; electricity and water etc 0.6 per cent; construction 12.1 per cent; trade, hotel and restaurant 12.2 per cent; transport, storage and communication 5.4 per cent; and other services 12 per cent on usual status basis.
As for the informal employment in non-agriculture sectors, these are on the rise. In 2020-21, a total of 71.4 per cent workers were in informal sector that rose to 74.3 per cent in 2022-23. Informality in rural areas was 80.2 per cent while it was 66 per cent in urban areas.
Working conditions of workers remain at disturbing level. In 2022-23, a total fo58.6 per cent of workers in regular or salaried jobs had no written job contracts. Percentage of regular or salaried employees not eligible for paid leave was as high as 46.8 per cent. Moreover, the percentage of regular or salaried employees not eligible for any specified social security benefit was as high as 53.9 per cent.
It reveals that for majority of the workforce in India there is not decent jobs available, while unemployed people, and unemployment rate remains high. On the basis of CWS, the survey reveals that unemployment rate (UR) in 2022-23 was 5.1 per cent and the proportion of unemployed (PU) were 2 per cent. Unemployment rate was highest at 7.3 per cent among the workers having education level secondary or above. Unemployment rate among youth between 15 and 29 years was 10 per cent on usual status basis, in urban areas as high as 15.7 per cent and rural areas 8 per cent.
A total of 51.6 per cent of ST workers, 43.2 per cent of SC, and 42.9 per cent of OBCs were participating in the workforce in 2022-23. LFPR for others was 38.4 per cent. LFPR among Hindus was 44.5 per cent, among Muslims 32.5 per cent, among Christians 45.8 per cent and among Sikhs was 43.3 per cent in 2022-23. PLFS 2022-23 thus reveals the pathetic conditions still prevailing among the workforce that need urgent redressal. (IPA Service)