February 2019
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[op-ed snap]Unemployment in India: The real reason behind low employment numbers

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Development & employment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS).

Mains level: Mismatch in actual job growth and data being provided and reasons why there is a mismatch


NEWS

CONTEXT

Last month saw a series of discussions related to employment numbers reported in the leaked Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS).

Reason Behind Different Employment rates reporting

  • There to be a stark difference in the methods used to choose survey households.
  • The PLFS is based on the education level of households and the EUS is based on expenditure (urban) or livelihood (rural) of households.
  • Any direct comparison of the survey results of the PLFS with the earlier EUS would lead to erroneous inference about the employment scenario.
  • The sample chosen in the PLFS was not quite representative of the underlying Indian population in terms of the achievement of secondary education leading to lower estimates for the population, labour force participation and employment.

The EUS

  • The EUS, which was last conducted during the 68th round of the NSSO for the duration July 2011 to June 2012, is a comprehensive survey providing a complete scenario of the labour force, across sectors like agriculture, industry, services, etc, in both rural and urban areas.
  • In any survey, a sample of locations are chosen judiciously to represent the entire country.
  • For the EUS 2011-12, the selection of locations for First Stage Units (FSU) in the sample, urban and rural classification was made based on the data from Census 2001 and each town with a population of more than 10 lakh was represented as a separate group in sample locations.
  • For the Second Stage Strata (SSS), the criteria for choosing households in both the rural and urban areas was household affluence, as shown in the accompanying table.
  • In rural areas, 50% of chosen households are those with principal earnings from non-agriculture-based activities.
  • For urban areas, the Monthly Per Capita Expenditure (MPCE) available from the previous rounds of the NSSO household surveys forms the basis for selecting households.
  • The sample also has good representation of the middle class engaged in gainful employment-related activities.

The PLFS

  • It provides continuous update on the employment situation in India (quarterly for urban and yearly for rural areas).
  • This survey has, for the first time, used the Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) method to capture data—a great step towards technology adoption. The sample size of various NSSO surveys are comparable and may assumed to be in line with the last EUS survey of 2011-12.
  • There is a major change in the criteria for the selection of households in the SSS for both rural and urban areas, based on the number of members in the household having general education up to secondary level (10th standard).
  • At first glance, the household selection criteria for the PLFS seems aspirational in nature, as the choice of households is dependent upon the education level of the household instead of the earlier criteria of affluence/expenditure.
  • It is true that mostly formal or better-playing employment is linked to the education level of the household members and this move by the PLFS is really aspirational in nature.
  • Percentage of people above secondary level as of 2011 is quite low, at 21.51%, which goes further down to 15.3% for the rural population but has a healthy number of 35.24% for the urban population. Not all informal or daily wage employment requires more than secondary level education. A healthy literate level of 63.07% implies that a large portion of the population has basic literacy, which is what is required for daily wage employment.
  • It can be seen that there are 66.42% of households (75.61% rural and 46.20% urban) with no family members with general education above secondary level. Whereas only 25% of households have been sampled based on these criteria, leading to a huge mismatch between the reality and the samples drawn. People from these households are mostly daily wagers or engaged in informal employment, which would also show lower employment estimates.

Conclusion

  • These numbers provided a good view on the education level of the people in India and showed that the stratification criteria used in the PLFS is not quite aligned to the secondary and above secondary levels of education in the country.
  • This under sampling, leading to under-representation of such households, is leading to lower estimates of the people for this group in labour force participation and employment rate.
  • The percentages of households for the urban area, though far from the sample sizes are closer to the reality in urban areas compared to rural areas.
  • It would be proper to wait for the next round of the PLFS (2018-19) that is under progress and compare its findings with the results of the PLFS (2017-18) to make a more correct assessment of the employment rate in the country.

 

 

Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

[oped snap] Little, late

Note4Students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basic knowledge  PM-KISAN .

Mains level: The news-card analyses PM-KISAN’s drawbacks and better alternative


NEWS

CONTEXT

That direct cash transfers (DCT) are the best way to support farmers — as opposed to subsidised supply of fertiliser and electricity or physical purchase of produce at above-market prices — is a well-established fact. The launch of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) by Prime Minister, therefore, welcome, except that it is too little too late.

PM-Kisan Yojna

  • The scheme provides a flat Rs 6,000 per year to all small and marginal farmers owning up to 5 acres of land — an estimated 12 crore — payable in three instalments.
  • There is no crop with a basic cultivation cost below Rs 10,000 per acre today.

Drawbacks Of scheme

  • An instalment of Rs 2,000 under PM-Kisan would enable a farmer to barely buy Bt cotton seeds for two acres, meet his fertiliser requirement of wheat for two-thirds of an acre or harvest cane from one-sixth of an acre.
  • So, even if the money is transferred directly into the farmer’s Aadhaar-seeded bank sans any leakage, its utility from a purely agricultural standpoint is quite limited.
  •  Such a narrow time window and then blaming them — especially those ruled by the Opposition — for not showing interest in the scheme smacks of political opportunism.
  • Telangana and Odisha have come out with DCT schemes that, even if primarily politically-inspired, are more meaningful and effectively designed.
  • The Centre alone has, for 2019-20, budgeted a mammoth Rs 2,77,206 crore towards food, fertiliser and crop loan subsidies. This is over and above the Rs 75,000 crore provision towards PM-Kisan.

Better Usage of Funds

  • Abolishing the subsidy on fertiliser and farm credit — both of which have no real economic rationale — and limiting that on food to maintaining a minimum buffer stock to enable market intervention if necessary, it would be possible to create a Central DCT fund.
  • The money from this can be used not only for resource-poor landowning farmers but even share-croppers, landless agricultural labourers and other vulnerable households in both rural and urban areas.
  • And with Aadhaar-seeded bank accounts and digitisation of land records, it can be well-targeted too.

 

Direct Benefits Transfers

Explained: Tree cover, forest cover – How are the two different?

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Difference between Tree Cover & Forest Cover

Mains level: Issues related to the clearances of forest lands


News

  • The Economic Survey of Delhi 2018-19, released last week, states that the capital’s forest cover has increased from 12.72% of its geographical area in 2015 to 12.97% in 2017 while its tree cover has increased from 7.48% to 7.62%.

Tree Cover & Forest Cover

  • The MoEFCC defines ‘forest cover’ in India as all lands, more than one hectare in area with a tree canopy density of more than 10%.
  • The ‘tree cover’ is defined as tree patches outside recorded forest areas exclusive of forest cover and less than the minimum mappable area of one hectare.

Trees outsides Forest

  • Between these two is a third measure, called ‘trees outside forest’, or TOF.
  • The ‘India State of Forest Report 2017’ defines TOF as “trees existing outside the recorded forest area in the form of block, linear & scattered size of patches”.
  • Since tree cover measures only non-forest patches that are less than 1 hectare, it is only a part of TOF.

Statewise cover

  • The India Report, as well as the Delhi Survey, cites state-wise figures, which show that Goa has the highest tree cover as a percentage of geographical area, at 8.73%, followed by Delhi and Kerala, both at 7.62%.
  • Forest cover highs are in Lakshadweep (90.33%) and Mizoram (86.27%). India has 93,815 hectares, or 2.85% of its area, under tree cover, and 7.08 lakh ha (21.54%) under forest cover.

Back2Basics

Forest Cover Classification

  • Classification scheme for the purpose of Forest Cover assessment is described as follows:
Class Description
Very Dense Forest All lands with tree canopy density of 70% and above.
Moderately Dense Forest All lands with tree canopy density of 40% and more but less than 70%.
Open Forest All lands with tree canopy density of 10% and more but less than 40%.
Scrub Degraded forest lands with canopy density less than 10%.
Non-forest Lands not included in any of the above classes.
Forest Conservation Efforts – NFP, Western Ghats, etc.

AP gets new railway zone called ‘South Coast Railway’

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: South Coast Railway Zone

Mains level: Importance of Railways Infrastructure


News

  • Indian Railways will be making a new zone in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh named ‘South Coast Railway’.
  • Indian Railways’ operations are currently divided into 17 zones, which are further sub-divided into divisions, each having a divisional headquarter. There are a total of 73 divisions at present.

South Coast Railway

  • As per item 8 of Schedule 13 (Infrastructure) of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014, Indian Railways was required to examine establishing a new railway zone in the successor State of AP.
  • The new zone named “South Coast Railway (SCoR)”, will comprise of existing Guntakal, Guntur and Vijayawada divisions.
  • Waltair division shall be split into two parts.
  • One part of Waltair division will be incorporated in the new zone i.e. in South Coast Railway and will be merged with the neighbouring Vijaywada division.
  • Remaining portion of Waltair division shall be converted into a new division with headquarter at Rayagada under East Coast Railway (ECoR).
  • South Central Railway will comprise of Hyderabad, Secunderabad and Nanded divisions.
Railway Reforms

[pib] SHREYAS Scheme

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Development & employment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Shreyas Scheme

Mains level: Skill Education in India


News

  • The Ministry of HRD has launched the Scheme for Higher Education Youth in Apprenticeship and Skills (SHREYAS) for providing industry apprenticeship opportunities.

SHREYAS Scheme

  • It is a programme conceived for students in degree courses, primarily non-technical, with a view to introduce employable skills into their learning, promote apprenticeship and also amalgamate employment facilitating.
  • SHREYAS portal will enable educational institutions and industry to log in and provide their respective demand and supply of apprenticeship.
  • The matching of students with apprenticeship avenues will take place as per pre-specified eligibility criteria.

Objectives of the Scheme

  • To improve employability of students by introducing employment relevance into the learning process of the higher education system
  • To forge a close functional link  between education and industry/service sectors on a sustainable basis
  • To provide skills which are in demand, to the students in a dynamic manner
  • To establish an ‘earn while you learn’ system into higher education
  • To help business/industry in securing good quality manpower
  • To link student community with employment facilitating efforts of the Government

Operation of the Scheme

  • The primary scheme will be operated in conjunction with National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) which provides for placing of apprentices upto 10% of the total work force in every business/industry.
  • The scheme will be implemented by the Sector Skill Councils (SSCs) , initially the Banking Finance Insurance Services (BFSI), Retail, Health care, Telecom, Logistics, Media, Management services, ITeS and Apparel.

Financing

  • Under the NAPS scheme, Central Government shares 25% of the stipend per month subject to a maximum of Rs.1500 p.m during the period of the apprenticeship.
  • Apart from that, an amount upto Rs.7500 will be met towards basic training cost, where needed.

Implementation

1st Track:  Add-on apprenticeship

  • The students who are currently completing the degree programme would be invited to choose a job role of their choice from a selected list of apprenticeship job roles given by the Sector Skill Councils of the MoSDE.
  • At the end of the apprenticeship period, there would be a test conducted by the Sector Skill Council concerned and successful students would get skills certificate in addition to their degree certificate.

2nd track: Embedded Apprenticeship

  • Under this approach, the existing B.Voc programmes would be restructured into B.A (Professional), B.Sc (Professional) or B.Com (Professional) courses – which would include a mandatory apprenticeship ranging from 6 to 10 months depending on the requirement of the skill.
  • During the apprenticeship period, the student would get a monthly stipend of about Rs. 6,000 per month by the industry, 25% of which would be reimbursed under the NAPS programme.

3rd Track: Linking National Career Service with Colleges

  • Under this, the National Career Service (NCS) portal of Ministry of Labour& Employment would be linked with the Higher Education institutions.
  • As of now, more than 9,000 employers have posted requirement of more than 2 lakh vacancies, for which the students can get considered.
Skilling India – Skill India Mission,PMKVY, NSDC, etc.

[pib] Yuva Sahakar Scheme

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Scheme

Mains level: Promoting cooperatives business venture


News

Yuva Sahakar-Cooperative Enterprise Support and Innovation Scheme

  1. To cater to the needs and aspirations of the youth, the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) has come up with a youth-friendly this scheme for attracting them to cooperative business ventures.
  2. The newly launched scheme would encourage cooperatives to venture into new and innovative areas.
  3. The scheme will be linked to Rs 1000 crore ‘Cooperative Start-up and Innovation Fund (CSIF)’ created by the NCDC.

Funding

  • The funding for the project will be up to 80% of the project cost for these special categories as against 70% for others.
  • The scheme envisages 2% less than the applicable rate of interest on term loan for the project cost up to Rs 3 crore including 2 years moratorium on payment of principal.

Eligibility

  • It would have more incentives for cooperatives of North Eastern region, Aspirational Districts and cooperatives with women or SC or ST or PwD members.
  • All types of cooperatives in operation for at least one year are eligible.

Back2Basics

NCDC

  1. Nodal Agency: Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare
  2. The NCDC has the unique distinction of being the sole statutory organisation functioning as an apex financial and developmental institution exclusively devoted to cooperative sector.
  3. It supports cooperatives in diverse fields apart from agriculture and allied sectors.
  4. It is an ISO 9001:2015 compliant organisation and has a distinctive edge of competitive financing.
Innovation Ecosystem in India

[pib] India’s first indigenous semiconductor chips for 4G/LTE and 5G NR modems

Note4students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Semiconductor chips mentioned in the newscard

Mains level: Not Much


News

  • A Bengaluru based company SIGNALCHIP has fabricated high performance and cost-efficient semiconductor chips.
  • These would enable high-speed wireless communication.

Four chips designed by SIGNALCHIP

  1. SCBM3412: a single chip 4G/LTE modem including the baseband and transceiver sections in a single device
  2. SCBM3404: a single chip 4X4 LTE baseband modem
  3. SCRF3402: a 2X2 transceiver for LTE
  4. SCRF4502: a 2X2 transceiver for 5G NR standards

Specifications

  • The RF sections cover all LTE/5G-NR bands upto 6 GHz.
  • These chips also support positioning using India’s own satellite navigation system, NAVIC.
  • The combined multi-standard system-on-chip (SoC) can serve as a base station chipset for a wide range of form factors from low-cost indoor small cells to high performance base stations.
  • Through the IPs created for devices, the company now has the potential to design products for multiple related fields.

Importance

  • Currently, in India, all devices and infrastructure, whether imported or domestically manufactured, use imported silicon chips.
  • Silicon chip design is a very challenging activity requiring high-cost R&D, deep knowhow and mastery of multiple complex domains.
  • Hence, this technology is not available in most countries.

Impact

  • Data Security is the paramount concern in the World today and India cannot remain secure in terms of data, unless it manufactures its own chips.
  • India is just breaking into the elite club of the world and this will have huge implications for India’s data security and data sovereignty, besides the positive economic implications.
  • At present only 8 companies and a few countries can design and build semiconductor chips.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes