The draft report has suggested a host of recommendations to help the government collect more reliable, timely and relevant labour market data which is essential for appreciating employment situation.
The task force on improving employment data headed by Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya has suggested frequent surveys, extensive use of GSTN data and a dedicated central facility to improve India’s employment statistics. The draft report has suggested a host of recommendations to help the government collect more reliable, timely and relevant labour market data which is essential for appreciating employment situation. The Aayog has invited comments on draft report by July, 23. The task force said that a central facility on the lines of RBI should be created to collate data concerning employment from different ministries. Among other things, it has suggested that household survey, which is currently held every five years, should be conducted on an annual basis.
The task force further suggested that Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) should be discontinued and replaced by annual enterprise survey using enterprises registered with the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) as the sample frame. There are an estimated 80 lakh indirect taxpayers registered on the GSTN. The task force also recommended that the use of technology be enhanced to reduce the time taken in data collection and processing. “We also need to carry out enterprise surveys at a greater frequency,” the task force said. The task force also noted that the data of Employee Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), Employee State Insurance (ESI) and National Pension Scheme (NPS) should be used to formulate a better picture of employment scenario.
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Noting that as has been the usual practice, the ministries and departments work in silos with enormous possible synergies across different data sources going unexploited. “If all data are available at a central facility and accessible only from that facility, potential analysts can come there to analyse data with no loss of privacy or leakage of data,” the task for pointed out. “The relevant ministries and departments can continue to own data with no data used without their permission,” it added. Within India, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) operates an advanced system of financial data collection, warehousing and dissemination of information.
The task force also stressed on the need to allocate additional financial and human resources to data collection activity as the support for this activity has dwindled over time. It is recommended that MoSPI, MoLE and other ministries collecting employment data work together to eliminate such duplication and overlaps. The task force also pointed out that there is also a need of plausible definition of formal employment.The Prime Minister’s Office in May had constituted the task force to suggest solutions for having timely and reliable employment data for policy making.