Labour Bureau under the ministry of labour and employment on Thursday launched five pan-India surveys on – domestic workers, migrant workers, employment generated by professionals and transport sector apart from all-India quarterly establishment-based employment survey. DPS Negi, director general of the Labour Bureau shares with Surya Sarathi Ray the plan of action:
How will these surveys help?
Apart from bridging the data gap, the surveys will play a huge role at the national level by providing a comprehensive picture of the employment scenario in the country and help in formulating a sound national employment policy.
By when the surveys are going to be completed?
These surveys will be completed within 7-8 months from the date it starts in the field.
What will be the sample size of these surveys?
The sample size will be a minimum of 1.5 lakh for each survey. On an average, for each survey 300-400 investigators will be deployed.
Since these surveys will be mostly response-based and not document-based, how would you convince respondents to share the most authentic information?
Throughout the world, such sample surveys are generally conducted based on the responses of the sample. It all depends how the investigators put the question to the respondents.
Can laws be used to make it mandatory for respondents to share the most authentic information?
Though government has made the law in 2008, that was never used because use of law will defeat the purpose of the survey. In fact, the law should not have been made at all for making all-India surveys. It’s because if you force somebody, they may not respond at all and the whole purpose will be defeated
While framing the questions have you kept the labour codes in mind?
Yes, to a large extent.
Will the surveys be technology-driven?
Yes, these surveys will be heavily information technology-driven. IT will be used in the entire chain of data collection to report generation. The use of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning with data storage in cloud computers along with geo tagging will enhance the data collection, assimilation and processing. The AI-based speech-to-text facility will also reduce manual intervention. The use of IT will reduce the completion time of surveys by at least 30-40%.
What are the challenges?
Conducting five surveys at one go is itself a huge challenge. Normally, such a large-scale survey takes 1.5-2 years to complete the whole process.
How confident you are with respect to the questionnaires and the samplings in all these surveys?
A world-known statistician Prof S P Mukherjee and Prof Amitabh Kundu are chairman and the co-chair of the expert group formed by the govt and they have done an outstanding job with the full dedication of the officers, and staff of the Labour Bureau. They held 46 meetings. We are confident about the robustness of the questionnaires. For the first time, surveys are being conducted in major regional languages as well.