Why India Needs a National Employment Policy

for Topstory1

In its first report on the state of employment in India, the Centre for Sustainable Employment (CSE), part of the Azim Premji University, has called for a National Employment Policy that is driven by hard data and deft analysis.

It says India has ample intellectual and practical knowledge to formulate such a policy that takes into consideration gender, caste and ecological concerns. A lack of such a policy could result in a warped economic transformation resulting in avoidable stress on employment, social and gender harmony.

The purpose of its first report is meant to help India generate a robust employment policy. The 170-page report, announced on October 3, 2018, offers broad direction and nudges the government to take this very critical issue seriously.

“Creation of adequate, high quality employment is one of the most formidable challenges for economic policy in India today. This requires imaginative thinking based on reliable data and thorough analyses. This report on the State of Working in India has been prepared with the aim of sharing such information and analyses,” the report noted.

“India’s challenge is one of completing a dual structural transformation, from an agrarian to an industrial economy, and from a largely informal to a formal economy, under significant constraints of equity and ecology.”

The report noted that labour productivity in organized manufacturing increased by six times over the past three decades but wages increased by only 1.5 times. That 82% of male and 92% of female workers earn less than ₹10,000 a month.

Growth creates fewer jobs than it used to. A 10 per cent increase in GDP now results in less than 1 per cent increase in employment.

The report offers following suggestions

  1. Job creation can be fruitfully tied to investments in green energy and climate adaptation efforts.
  2. A ‘universal basic services’ (UBS) approach can be imagined that delivers human capital advances alongside job growth. It requires investment in education, health, housing, and public transport and safety to create jobs,
  3. Public investment is urgently needed in agriculture to raise the income floor in the economy
  4. With over 500 officially listed arts and crafts, the sector represents immense cultural value, ecological positives, and millions of jobs.

The report does not claim to offer deep analysis of employment challenges. It hopes to do that in subsequent reports.


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