What's Inside

The key findings of the report entitled State of Working India 2018 (please click here to access), which has been produced by Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University, are as follows:

• In the 1970s and 1980s, when GDP growth was around 3-4 percent, employment growth was around 2 percent per annum. Since the 1990s, and particularly in the 2000s, GDP growth accelerated to 7 percent but employment growth slowed to 1 percent or even less. The ratio of employment growth to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is now less than 0.1 percent.

• Between 2013 and 2015, total employment actually shrank by seven million. More recent data from private sources show that the absolute decline has continued past 2015.

• Unemployment rate is over 5 percent overall, and a much higher 16 percent for youth and the higher educated.

• Despite rising wages, they continue to be well below the Seventh Central Pay Commission’s recommended minimum level.

• When adjusted for inflation, wage rates have increased in most sectors at 3 percent per annum or more.

• Between 2010 and 2015, wages when adjusted for inflation, grew at 2 percent per annum for organised manufacturing, 4 percent for unorganised manufacturing, 5 percent for unorganised services, and 7 percent for agriculture (for the last, growth has collapsed since 2015). Since 2000, real wages have grown at around 3-4 percent in most sectors, with the exception of agriculture. As this rate real wages double every two decades.

• 82 percent of male and 92 percent of female workers earn less than Rs. 10,000 a month. Nationally, 67 percent of households reported monthly earnings of upto Rs. 10,000 in 2015. In comparison, the minimum salary recommended by the Seventh Central Pay Commission (CPC) is Rs. 18,000 per month. Even in the organised manufacturing sector 90 percent of the industries pay wages below the CPC minimum.

• In the early 1980s, one crore rupees of real fixed capital (in 2015 prices) supported around 90 jobs in the organised manufacturing sector. By 2010, this had fallen to 10.

• Contract workers comprise 30 percent of all workers in organised manufacturing. The share of contract work and other precarious forms of labour have grown since the early 2000s.

• Labour productivity is over six times what it was in 1982, but production workers’ real wages have grown by only about 1.5 times.

• Employment in the new service sector, including IT and modern retail, increased from 11.5 percent in 2011 to 15 percent in 2015. However, more than 50 per cent of service sector employment is still made up of petty trade, domestic services and other types of small-scale and informal employment.

• Women constitute 16 percent of all service sector workers but 60 percent of domestic workers. Women constitute just 22 percent of manufacturing.

• Women earn between 35 and 85 percent of men’s earnings, depending on the type of work and the level of education of the worker. In the organised manufacturing sector, the gap narrowed from 35 percent in 2000 to 45 percent in 2013. The disparity is the largest among own-account women workers and the least among the higher educated and regular workers.

• The percentage of working age women who are either employed or looking for work is low in India compared to many other developing countries. While only 20 women are in paid employment for every 100 men in Uttar Pradesh, this number is 50 in Tamil Nadu and 70 in the north-east.

• The ratio of female to male labour force participation rate varies from less than 0.2 in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab to 0.5 in TN and AP, to a more than 0.7 in Mizoram and Nagaland. Field studies suggest that lack of available work, rather than social restrictions, may be preventing women from entering the labour force.

• Scheduled Caste (SC) as well as Scheduled Tribe (ST) groups are over-represented in low paying occupations and severely under-represented in the high paying occupations, which clearly indicates the enduring power of caste-based segregation in India.

• SCs earn only 56 percent of upper-caste earnings. The figure is 55 percent for STs and 72 percent for Other Backward Classes (OBCs).


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