Amid the raging debate on jobless growth in India, Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said on Saturday that the rate of unemployment is going down in India. Talking to reporters here, Dattatreya said his ministry would soon share with the public the data on unemployment. The minister’s remarks came even as the NDA government faced severe criticism for promoting “jobless growth”, after a Labour Bureau quarterly survey showed that only 1,35,000 jobs were added by certain sectors in a quarter in 2015. Another survey by the Labour Bureau said that unemployment in India was at a five-year high of five per cent of the workforce who are 15 years and above. Dattatreya said that while employment was being generated through a slew of initiatives taken by the government, including Make in India, Skill India and Digital India missions, the problem was with the collection of data. “To capture data more accurately, we need to do it through some new initiatives,” he said. Facing criticism for not creating enough jobs, the government set up a task force in May to produce authoritative annual nationwide employment data based on household surveys.
Labour Secretary M. Sathiyavathy, who is part of the task force headed by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya, said the quarterly reports coming out of the Labour Bureau were unreliable for measuring employment as the sample size was “very small”. “It is an enterprise-based survey covering about 10,600 enterprises across only eight sectors, she said. “The biggest challenge is that the Labour Bureau survey covers only those enterprises which employ more than 10 people. “In India, 98.5 per cent of the enterprises have less than ten employees. So we are, in effect, not covering 98.5 per cent of the enterprises in the country,” Sathiyavathy told reporters.
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She said there was a need to expand this survey to ensure that it reflected the actual ground reality. “So, the idea of the task force is to focus on these issues and ensure that we come up with some methodologies wherein we come out with a survey or any other way of data analytics where real situation on the ground is reflected.” According to her, the task force would give its recommendations by next week.