To solve the problem of insufficient employment data, the government is coming out with detailed data set starting October based on the national survey for household on employment creation, Niti Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar said.
This data, which will be markedly different from the Labour Bureau’s survey on employment numbers, will be published every quarter. The government, in due course, plans to sync this data with other sources of formal employment such as the Employees Provident Fund Organisation, and data with the bodies like Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and Institute of Cost Accountants of India.
The government is implementing all recommendations of the Task Force on Improving Employment Data which submitted its report last year. “The status of the task force is that all its recommendations are accepted, and the government therefore decided to institute a regular national sample for household survey on employment. The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation is in charge of it and I think the survey is out in the field and therefore you should expect its first report by October and then every quarter. That will be most rigorously analysed and well-prepared employment survey at the household level,” Kumar told The Indian Express.
He said the government is also trying to adequately capture the data at the employer level by using the payroll data as well. “We are also trying to create some data on the basis of payroll data. The EPFO data has for the first time been made public, now it will be published every month so that you could get a very good idea of what is happening in the formal sectors of the economy. Then we will also try and gather data from some other sources like the Institute of Chartered Accountants, basically all these bodies having data for white collar jobs, which may not be captured in the EPFO,” he said.
This data will be synced with the household survey to arrive at a comprehensive set of numbers. “So the idea is that at the employer can you capture the data, as it is done in the US, so hopefully at some time these data sets will sync. We want to once-and-for-all decisively end this problem of lack of clear data on employment because it’s such an important subject for us. In some sense the government must be commended for it that at least it’s taking the steps to do so,” he said.
The scope of Labour Bureau’s Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) is small as it covers only eight sectors and comes with a significant lag. The QES covers eight sectors — manufacturing, construction, trade, transport, education, health, accommodation and restaurant, IT& BPO — and incorporates data for 18 sub-sectors.
Unlike other countries such as US, where employment data comes out every month, India has very few sources to ascertain the employment scenario. Apart from the QES, employment and unemployment data is released through once in every five years survey by the National Sample Survey Organisation. The last such survey was conducted for 2011-12.
When asked whether he expects the new data to become the main reference point for the employment scenario in the country, Kumar said: “I think so, of course. And once it comes out quarterly and it’s such a broad-based comprehensive data, and then it also combines with the payroll, I am not sure whether you need any other (data). The Labour Bureau data was a contingent response to the 2008 crisis, which was expected to hit our exports and labour intensive sector. But it’s sample size is relatively small and only eight sectors are covered. I am not sure what will happen to that (Labour Bureau) data.”