The MSME sector seems to be driving job creation. Units employing 10-20 people created 4.5 lakh jobs on a net basis in July, while the entire universe of larger companies produced 9.5 lakh jobs during the month, indicating the smaller units’ higher labour-intensiveness.
According to Central Statistics Office (CSO) data, the EPFO’s monthly pay-roll data saw a net addition of 9.5 lakh till July, while the number of newly-registered employees under the ESIC fold during the month was 13.97 lakh.
ESIC registration is mandatory for an employee in an establishment employing 10 or more workers if her monthly salary is up to Rs 21,000.
The EPFO covers every establishment in which 20 or more persons are employed and certain organisations even if they employ less than 20 persons each, while the pay limit for mandatory enrolment is `15,000 per month. Persons drawing pay above Rs 15,000 per month are exempted or can be enrolled with some permission or on voluntary basis.
Although the ESIC and EPFO data are not strictly comparable — there is an element of overlap — the fact that ESIC’s “new jobs” for July is 4.5 lakh higher than that of EPFO indicates jobs are mostly created in the MSME sector. However, even as the EPFO says close to 1 million ‘formal jobs’ were created on a net basis in July 2018, a record for any month and 6.18 million for September 2017-July 2018 period, the CMIE, in sharp contrast, says close to 9 million jobs have been lost in the 11 months to July 2018.