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

[op-ed snap] The republic of statistical scramble

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Mains Paper 2: Governance | Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the NSSO and Labor Bureau

Mains level: Accurate Data collection is very much needed for better policy prescription



  1. The article talks about the employment data in the country and the issues related to its collection

Contradictory Data on Employment

  1. One set of numbers claims the current phase of economic growth as jobless
  2. Other set of data have accompanied vigorous assertions of rising employment

Different Employment surveys

  1. The National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), under the ministry of statistics and programme implementation (Mospi), conducts a comprehensive household survey once every five years
  2. NSSO also conducts an unorganized units survey
  3. The labour bureau in the ministry of labour and employment also conducts two household surveys—a quarterly quick employment survey and another on an annual basis
  4. Finally, various government administrative bodies, such as the EPFO or ESIC, provide some indication of organized sector employment trends

Issues with employment data collection

  1. All the surveys given above suffer from some infirmity
  2. Why: Because of methodological issues, unviable sample size, inability to distinguish between different types of employment, long gaps or irregular frequencies
  3. But one thing is common: the findings only provide a partial picture and are therefore useless as a tool for policy design

Comments of the Economic Survey on Employment data

  1. Part two of the Economic Survey says: “The lack of reliable estimates on employment in recent years has impeded its measurement and thereby the Government faces challenges in adopting appropriate policy interventions”

Recommendations from the NITI Aayog

  1. NITI Aayog has recommended
    (1) vast improvements to existing surveys
    (2) institutional and legislative changes
    (3) improved physical and digital infrastructure
    (4) more aggressive use of technology to crunch the time-gap(in employment surveys)

The way forward

  1. The infrastructure of employment data collection needs an urgent improvement to maintain credibility, perceive economic trends and deliver appropriate policy prescriptions
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