The “State of Working India” report, a comprehensive and often eye-opening analysis of the country’s labor market, provides crucial insights into the challenges facing India’s workforce. This report underscores the stark gap between law and justice, revealing that labor laws, while theoretically protective, often fail to translate into tangible benefits for the majority of workers. Despite progressive labor legislation, a significant portion of India’s labor force continues to toil in informal and precarious employment, devoid of essential benefits and job security. This gap between legal provisions and the lived realities of workers is a testament to the urgent need for comprehensive labor market reforms and effective enforcement mechanisms to bridge the chasm between law and justice, ensuring that all workers can access their rights and enjoy decent working conditions. The report serves as a poignant reminder that addressing these disparities is paramount to building a more just and equitable labor landscape in India.
Tag: GS Paper – 3: Employment; Growth & Development; Skill Development; Human Resource.
State of Working India (SWI 2023) report; The findings; The 2017-2021 period; India’s growth strategy.
A new report is out called the State of Working India (SWI 2023) and it has used official employment and unemployment data to understand how economic growth impacts employment.
Decoding the editorial: State of Working India (SWI 2023) report
- It has been brought out by the Centre for Sustainable Employment within the Azim Premji University (APU).
- The report stands out because APU academics and researchers have used official employment and unemployment data to arrive at the results.
- This is the fourth edition of SWI and it focuses on “a long-run view of India’s structural transformation experience and its implications for three key social identities: caste, gender, and religion”.
- SWI 2023 analyses data from 1983 to 2023 and uses a whole host of official data sources including
- Periodic Labour Force Surveys (PLFS),
- National Family Health Surveys (NFHS),
- Census 2011, and
- Economic Census 2013.
- The impact of economic growth on employment in the aggregate.
- A good way to measure this relationship is to look at employment elasticity of growth.
- As can be seen in TABLE 1, employment elasticity has consistently fallen between 1983 and 2017, showing that a 1% increase in GDP leads to a less than 1% increase in employment.
- The table shows that since the 1980s, non-farm output, that is GDP from sectors other than agriculture, consistently grew much faster than non-farm employment.
- The impact of economic growth on different segments of the Indian economy.
- As data shows, factors such as caste, religion, age and gender tend to have a considerable impact on how the benefits of growth get distributed in the economy.
- The need to appreciate the quality of the jobs being created.
- For instance, providing “casual labour” at an MGNREGA worksite or a construction worksite or working part-time in one’s family enterprise without any pay (“self-employment”) are very poor substitutes for holding a job that provides a regular wage.
The 2017-2021 period
- The employment elasticity went up sharply during this period. However, this simple observation can be misleading, as observed by APU.
- There has been a fall in output growth.
- The non-farm employment growth rate improved during this period, but
- The non-farm output growth (the denominator in this formula) also fell quite sharply.
- The quality of jobs has fallen.
- When the economy does well and employers find it worthwhile to create new jobs, the kind of jobs that are created are regular wage jobs or, at least, casual labour jobs.
- But instead, what has been created in this phase is self-employment.
- This is the kind of work that pays no regular wage with the remuneration distinctly below other categories of jobs.
- Between 2017 and 2021, there was a slowdown in overall regular wage job creation but formal jobs (with a written contract and benefits) as a share of all regular wage work rose from 25% to 35%.
- In 2020-21 (pandemic year) regular wage employment fell by 2.2 million.
- The biggest losers in the process were the women.
- While half of the lost employment is accounted for by women, only a third of the increase in formal employment accrued to women.
- So in net terms, women lost out on formal employment in this period. Not only that, there was a shift towards self-employment due to distress.
India’s growth strategy
- Different experts have different solutions for India
- Doubling down on boosting labour-intensive manufacturing, even if it is for just domestic consumers.
- Shifting to “green” manufacturing can provide India with an opportunity to redo the industrial revolution.
- A framework for a National Employment Policy was outlined in the previous (2021) SWI report.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What is the State of Working India (SWI) 2023 report?
Answer: The State of Working India (SWI) 2023 report is an annual publication that offers a comprehensive analysis of the labor market in India. It provides in-depth insights into the employment conditions, trends, and challenges faced by workers across various sectors in the country.
Q: What are the key findings of the SWI 2023 report?
Answer: The report highlights various aspects of the labor market, including rising informality, wage inequality, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment, and labor law implementation. It also examines policy measures and their effects on the labor force.
Q: How can the SWI 2023 report be useful for policymakers and researchers?
Answer: The SWI 2023 report is a valuable resource for policymakers and researchers. It offers data-driven insights into the state of the labor market, which can inform the development of policies aimed at improving working conditions, promoting job creation, and reducing inequalities in employment.
Q: What are the recommendations provided in the SWI 2023 report to address labor market challenges?
Answer: The report typically includes policy recommendations to address labor market challenges. These recommendations may involve labor law reforms, social security enhancements, measures to boost formal employment, and strategies to mitigate the impact of economic shocks on workers.
Q: Where can I access the SWI 2023 report?
Answer: The SWI 2023 report is often made publicly available by the institution or organization that publishes it. It can typically be accessed online through their official website or through reputable research portals. Keep an eye on relevant news and research outlets for its release.
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