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Labour Ministry looks to add self-employed to job data

Labour Ministry looks to add self-employed to job data
Employment numbers could increase significantly if a labour ministry proposal to include self-employed people under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) in the data is implemented. That would give the government's job-creation credentials a boost ahead of the 2019 general election.
This proposal comes as a spat has been brewing over a recent report that said 5.5 million people will be added to the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) network in the current fiscal, reflecting employment growth. Critics have said EPFO enrollment doesn't necessarily mean job creation.
The PMMY initiative is separate from this and will be the first attempt to capture the number of self-employed people in the country's job data. It is expected to add more than 50 million people to India's existing workforce of nearly 500 million, a senior government official told ET on the condition of anonymity.
Out of India's total workforce of 500 million, a little over 10% is in the organised sector, leaving a huge chunk in the unorganised sector, largely deprived of social security benefits and even minimum wages.
The labour bureau, which is under the labour ministry's administrative control, will soon analyse and compute data on PMMY beneficiaries, most of them being individuals who have become self-employed using loans provided under the programme to small units.
This could then be followed by the collation of data on other self-employed people in the country and adding that to get a broader picture of the country's total workforce.
At present, there is a data gap with respect to statistics on employment across various labour intensive sectors," the official said, adding that the revised survey could be out as early as April."Besides, it does not cover the self-employed, which over the course of three years, have become a significant proportion of the country's workforce." from informal to formal.
According to labour bureau statistics, 416,000 jobs were created in FY17 — 77,000 in the first quarter, 32,000 in the second, 122,000 in the third and 185,000 in the fourth. That's dwarfed by the 10 million added annually to India's workforce as a result of which there has been criticism of the government for not creating enough jobs.
Since PMMY's launch in April 2015, the government has sanctioned Rs 4.67 lakh crore in loans and disbursed Rs 4.13 lakh crore, benefitting 104.8 million people.The government estimates that more than 50% of the Mudra beneficiaries are individuals who have become self-employed after availing of the loans. The quarterly employment survey of the labour bureau is already being expanded to cover 18 sectors against eight sectors and 10,000 establishments compared to 2,000 now, accounting for 84% of employment in the non-farm sector.
The sectors added to the proposed survey include food products manufacturing, manufacturing of non-metallic mineral products, building construction, retail trade, education, health, hospitality as well as the food and beverage industry.The existing survey includes the textile, metals, gems and jewellery, automobiles, transport, IT BPO, leather, handlooms and the power loom sector.

The Economic Times, New Delhi, 30th January 2018

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