To map the employment situation in the wake of the Covid pandemic, the Labour Bureau, under the Labour and Employment Ministry, plans to begin field work for two of its intended labour surveys — domestic workers and migration — by February, results for which are then targeted to be finalised by October next year. Field work for two more employment surveys — professionals (such as chartered accountants, lawyers and doctors) and transport workers — will also be rolled out once the work for other two surveys hits the ground, a senior Labour Ministry official said.
“Out of the four planned employment surveys, field work will begin first for two surveys on domestic workers and migration. As of now, meetings are being held to finalise the sampling techniques, following which the field work is expected to begin by February. The results are likely to be finalised by October,” the official told The Indian Express.
The surveys on domestic workers and migration are expected to have a sample size of 1 lakh each. The survey on migration will be a household-based survey, while the data for domestic workers will be collected both from households and enterprises, the official said.
The migration survey to be undertaken by the Labour Bureau will provide estimates of the number of migrant workers in the country along with an assessment of the issues being faced by them. “The sample size for the survey on migration will be fixed based on the flow of migrant workers. Say, migrants are coming from West Bengal, Odisha and Bihar, so their sample size will be bigger than North-east,” the official said.
The panel has been asked to collect data on domestic workers, who constitute roughly 3 per cent of the workers in the country, making it a first-of-its-kind survey on domestic workers to be carried out by the Labour Bureau.
Since there’s also possibility of overlapping of the roles of domestic workers and migrant workers, the sampling technique needs to be finalised in a way that the roles are distinct while conducting the surveys, the official said. For instance, the expert group formed for these surveys has discussed outlining a working hours-based distinction for domestic workers, working in households and establishments, and migrant workers.
“There are internal deliberations going on fixing the working hours limit of whether 4 or 6 hours to distinguish between a domestic worker in a household or establishment, and being employed as a migrant worker,” the official said.
The Labour Ministry had in October announced three surveys on migration, domestic workers and professional bodies for assessing their employment situation, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The expert group, which is chaired by SP Mukherjee, Emeritus Professor, University of Kolkata, and consists of economists, statisticians and government functionaries, has been constituted by the government for a period of three years to provide technical guidance to the Labour Bureau with respect to surveys on migration, professional bodies, domestic workers and other surveys and to expand available sources of data on employment and unemployment.
While announcing the new surveys in October, Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar had stressed upon the need for having reliable data on these workers and the issues being faced by them following the Covid-19 pandemic. “The database will enable the government to devise pragmatic solutions to improve their conditions and plan employment opportunities for them,” he had said.
Given the urgent need of this data, the expert group has been asked to finalise all the technical details related to this survey at the earliest to enable the launch of the surveys without any delay, the Ministry had said.
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