About nine million women went out of the job market in the rural areas between 2009-10 and 2011-12, a grim facet of the employment crisis in the countryside
The dismal trend in India’s jobless growth story was reinforced when the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) of the ministry of statistics and programme implementation released the highlights of its 68th round of its surveys, conducted from July 2011 to June 2012, on Thursday.
Jobs are scarce in India and women are faring worse than men, both in the urban and rural areas. While rural unemployment rose from 2.1 per cent in 2009-10 to 2.4 percent in 2011-12, if primary work alone was considered, in urban areas, it rose from 3.7 per cent to 3.8 per cent. But if other work was also taken into account, the rise in joblessness in the rural areas works was 1.7 per cent, against 1.6 per cent in 2009-10. In urban areas it remained stuck at 3.4 per cent.
For men, the overall unemployment rose from two per cent to 2.1 per cent, while for women, it climbed to 2.4 per cent.
The clearest indication of the fragility of the jobs market in India was one statistic thrown up by the survey: around 51 per cent of workers are self-employed, mostly in rural areas. Of these 33.5 per cent are casual labour and just 15.6 per cent have salaried employment. Self-employment is the last resort for workers when there are not enough job opportunities and economists sometimes describe this term as disguised unemployment. At a press conference to announce the results of the survey, India's chief statistician T CA Anant disclosed that among workers in rural areas, 54.2 per cent were self-employed compared with 41.1 per cent in urban areas. Of these 38.6 per cent work as casual labour against 17.5 per cent in urban areas. The dark shadow of rural jobless was highlighted by another figure that Anant cited. Salaried employees or those with regular wages were much higher at 41.4 per cent in urban areas whereas it was a mere 3 per cent in rural areas.
|Important employment and unemployment indicators (per 1000)
What the last statistic means is that about nine million women went out of the job market in the rural areas between 2009-10 and 2011-12, a grim facet of the employment crisis in the countryside.
The government’s Economic Survey 2012-13 pegs the labour force participation at 56 per cent rate, the same as in 2010. But, if more women enter the labour force, “the labour force participation rate could plausibly increase to 58 per cent by 2020”, it hopes. But even with this conservative assumption, “the number of missing jobs increases to 16.7 million, roughly six times that in the baseline scenario, and 3.7 per cent of overall employment in 2010”.
The number of missing jobs in 2020 under this higher projection of the employment scenario is estimated at 11.8 million or four times that in the baseline scenario. Not a happy prospect for the country.
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