From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : India Discrimination Report, 2022
Mains level : Economic and social discrimination in India
Oxfam India’s latest ‘India Discrimination Report 2022’ finds women in India despite their same educational qualifications and work experience as men will be discriminated in the labour market due to societal and employers’ prejudices.
About the report
- The Oxfam India report refers to unit-level data from:
- 61st round National Sample Survey (NSS) data on employment-unemployment (2004-05)
- Periodic Labour Force Survey in 2018-19 and 2019-20 and
- All India Debt and Investment Survey by the government
(1) Decline of women in workforce
- As per the Union Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI), LFPR for women in India was only 25.1 percent in 2020-21 for urban and rural women.
- This is considerably lower than Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa as per the latest World Bank estimates.
- The LFPR for women in India has rapidly declined from 42.7 percent in 2004-05 to mere 25.1 percent in 2021 showing the withdrawal of women from the workforce.
(2) Earning Gap
- There is also a significant gap in the earnings between men and women in the case of regular and self-employment in urban areas.
- The average earning is INR 15,996 for men and merely INR 6,626 for women in urban areas in self-employment.
- The men’s average earning is nearly 2.5 times that of the earnings of women
(3) Communal aspects of discrimination
- Oppressed communities such as Dalits and Adivasis along with religious minorities such as Muslims also continue to face discrimination in accessing jobs, livelihoods, and agricultural credit.
- The mean income for SCs or STs persons in urban areas who are regular employed is INR 15,312 as against INR 20,346 for persons belonging to the General Category.
- The rural SC and ST communities are facing increase in discrimination in casual employment, the report shows.
- The data shows that the unequal income among urban SC and ST casual wage work is because of 79 percent discrimination in 2019-20.
(4) Muslims and economic backwardness
- Muslims continue to face multidimensional challenges in accessing salaried jobs and income through self-employment as compared to non-Muslims.
- In rural areas, the sharpest increase of 17 percent in unemployment was for Muslims as compared to non-Muslims during the first quarter of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 6 percent of the urban Muslims population aged 15 and above were engaged in regular salaried jobs whereas 23.3 percent of non-Muslims are in regular salaried jobs in 2019-20.
- The lower employment for urban Muslims attributes 68.3 percent to discrimination in 2019-20.
- The report shows that the discrimination faced by Muslims in 2004-05 was 59.3 percent, indicating an increase in discrimination by 09 percent over the last 16 years.
Recommendations from the report
- Actively enforce effective measures for the implementation of the right to equal wages and work for all women.
- Work to actively incentivise the participation of women in workforce including enhancements in pay, upskilling, job reservations and easy return-to-work options after maternity.
- Work to actively challenge and change societal and caste/religion-based norms, around women’s’ participation in labour markets.
- Strengthen civil society’s engagement in ensuring a more equitable distribution of household work and childcare duties between women and men and facilitating higher participation of women in labour market
- Implement “living wages” as opposed to minimum wages, particularly for all informal workers and formalise contractual, temporary and casual labour as much as possible.
- Extend priority lending and credit access to all farmers, regardless of social groups and penalize biased lending.
Back2Basics: Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR)
- It is the percentage of the population which is either working (employed) or seeking for work (unemployed).
- According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the LFPR is a ‘measure of the proportion of a country’s working-age population that engages actively in the labour market, either by working or looking for work’.
- The breakdown of the labour force (formerly known as economically active population) by sex and age group gives a profile of the distribution of the labour force within a country.
- As per the ministry of statistics and programme implementation, LFPR for women in India was only 25.1% in 2020-21.