Centre aborts job survey on aides to doctors, lawyers
The Centre has dropped two proposed surveys on employment generated by professionals like doctors and lawyers at their clinics or offices and on employment generated in the transport sector.
Both surveys were supposed to be conducted by the labour bureau, a labour ministry wing. But the finance ministry refused to sanction the amount necessary to conduct the two surveys, officials said. The estimated amount could not be confirmed by this newspaper.
One of the proposed surveys would have brought out how much doctors’ and lawyers’ assistants and receptionists are paid and whether they have job security and social security.
The other would have gathered similar data from the transport sector, which teems with private operators and where bus drivers’ pay often hinges on the fare collected, encouraging competition and lawlessness on city roads.
A labour economist who did not wish to be quoted said that surveys capture wide-ranging data on particular sectors, such as the size of the workforce, nature of employment, social security coverage, pay and workplace safety. “So, they are important for policy formulation,” he said.
For instance, he said, although the Centre has started an e-Shram portal to register unorganised sector workers, the range of data it contains about these workers is limited, he said.
“A survey gives a lot of evidence-based data along different parameters. The e-Shram portal will give the number of workers engaged in the various sectors but not further details.”
An email sent to labour secretary Sunil Barthwal asking why the two surveys had been dropped and how the government now planned to gather the data the surveys were meant to collect has remained unanswered.
The labour ministry had last year decided to undertake five all-India surveys – on migrant workers, on domestic workers, on employment generated by professionals, on employment generated in the transport sector and an All-India Quarterly Establishment-based Employment Survey (Aqees).
The migrant worker survey and Aqees started in March last year while the survey on domestic workers kicked off in November. Aqees reports are being released every quarter since last September. The surveys on migrant and domestic workers are still going on.
CPI member Sandosh Kumar P. on Monday expressed concern in the Rajya Sabha at the “alarming rate of unemployment” in the country.
According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), a private research agency, the unemployment rate in India has been more than 7 per cent for the last five months. In June, it was 7.8 per cent.
“The CMIE also states that one in five college graduates (is) unemployed. This high unemployment rate among the college educated has caused widespread youth disillusionment, and it reflects the growing crisis in India’s job market,” he said.
The ministry of personnel had in February said there were eight lakh job vacancies in the government. Only 78,000 have been filled since then, the MP told the House.
Kumar quoted CMIE data to say that 17 million Indians were looking for a job.
“Shockingly, more than 12 million people had applied for 35,000 clerical jobs with (the) Indian Railways. This is a clear reflection of the alarming rate of unemployment among Indian youth,” he said.
Kumar flagged a decline in the proportion of regular employees in the central public sector enterprises. Temporary workers accounted for 37 per cent of employees in 2019-20 in contrast to 19 per cent in 2015-16, he said.
He said the government’s promise of generating 100 million jobs through the Make-in-India programme had come a cropper. He urged the government to give priority to tackling unemployment among the youth.