Amidst the divergent data on jobs — the EPFO claiming 1 million in July alone and CMIE suggesting 9 million jobs lost in the past 11 months — Azim Premji University said employment loss remained unabated since 2013. “Between 2013 and 2015, total employment actually shrank by 7 million. More recent data from private sources show that the absolute decline has continued past 2015,” the university said in a report titled ‘State of Working India 2018’.
Referring to a recent study conducted by Bhalla and Das, which claimed that the economy generated 13 million new jobs in 2017, the university said, “Unfortunately, the optimistic conclusion depends on selective use of data and unjustified assumptions.”
The report finds that the country has struggled to convert its high rates of economic growth into good jobs. Contrary to the 1970s and 1980s when GDP growth was around 3-4% and the employment growth was around 2% per annum, in recent times, a 10% increase results in less than 1% increase in employment. The shrinking ratio between GDP growth and employment growth started from 1990s. Wages, it said though, increased in recent times; but low earnings continue to remain a problem. Nationally, 67% of households reported monthly earnings of up to `10,000 a month, which is well below the minimum salary recommended by the 7th Pay Commission.
“This suggests that a large majority of Indians are not being paid what may be termed a living wage and it explains the intense hunger for government jobs. Even in the organised manufacturing sector 90% of the industries pay wages below the CPC minimum. The situation is worse in the unorganised sector,” the report said, adding that nearly 30% of all workers in organised manufacturing are contract workers.