Mapping Invisible Jobs to Help Measure India’s Real Growth

first_imgFor those trying to solve the Indian economy jigsaw puzzle, reliable jobs data has been one crucial missing piece. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a plan to fix that defect.The government is set to map employment in the economy’s vast informal sector when the labor ministry starts publishing quarterly surveys on jobs in about a year’s time, covering enterprises with less than 10 people, including those who are self-employed. These are businesses that are typically cash-based and don’t pay tax.“It’s a huge survey and takes the entire country into account,” B.N. Nanda, senior labor and employment adviser in India’s labor ministry, said in an interview at his office in New Delhi last week. “This will be the first informal sector data from the government, enterprise-wise.”With more than 90 percent of India’s labor force estimated to work in the informal economy, a lack of periodic and credible data in this sector makes it difficult to assess the impact of policy actions and measure true growth.Multiple data sets for formal jobs point in different directions, giving the perception that Modi has failed to generate employment. That’s denting his popularity among young voters ahead of next year’s election. He swept to power in May 2014 with the biggest electoral mandate in three decades after promising to create 10 million jobs each year for the country’s burgeoning youth population.About 12 million young people are set to enter the workforce every year in Asia’s third-largest economy over the next two decades. The World Bank says India must create 8.1 million jobs a year to maintain its employment rate.The state of joblessness is so dire that over 28 million people applied for about 90,000 vacancies this year at Indian Railways, the country’s biggest employer, while engineers and lawyers vie for low-skilled jobs in the government.Much of the government’s annual jobs data based on household surveys, which also captures the informal sector, is dated. The survey published for 2015-16 put the unemployment rate at 3.7 percent. The labor bureau will soon publish the data for 2016-17 — after a lag of two years — and has discontinued any more surveys, Nanda said.The organized sector, for which data is available from multiple sources, creates some confusion. The labor ministry’s figures released in March show India added 136,000 workers across eight sectors in the quarter starting July 2017, against 64,000 additions in the previous quarter.The first set of data released by social security organizations in April showed over 3.5 million new payrolls were generated in the six months through February. As the levels of employment are from various sources, there are elements of overlap and the estimates are not additive, the statistics ministry said in a statement Wednesday.NITI Aayog, the government’s policy think tank, had in April said the monthly payroll data was an “eye opener” and puts an end to “speculations and conjectures regarding job creation.”But not everyone bought the argument because payroll data could be more of a reflection of a formalization of jobs rather than a creation of new jobs.“This, of course, is not employment data,” Mahesh Vyas of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy Pvt., a business information company, wrote in a column published on CMIE’s website. “Growth in EPFO enrollments largely reflect the conversion of hitherto informally employed people into formal employment,” he said, referring to the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization data on payroll.Private surveys paint a bleak picture. India’s jobless rate rose to 6.23 percent in March from 6.06 percent in February — the highest monthly rate in the past 15 months, data from CMIE show.The statistics office has also started conducting surveys for generating estimates of various labor force indicators on a quarterly basis for urban areas and an annual basis for rural. The results of the surveys will be published this year.The economy, which saw world-beating growth prior to a surprise cash ban in 2016, is forecast to have slumped to a four-year low of 6.6 percent in the fiscal year 2018 that ended March 31. Unemployment remained high even during the boom years and that led to Modi’s opponents concluding that the $2.3 trillion economy was seeing jobless growth. The International Monetary Fund sees India’s economic growth at 7.4 percent in fiscal year 2019.“I don’t believe in all this talk about jobless growth because your economy cannot grow at 7.4 percent without employment,” said Nanda. “If productivity has not been spectacular and capital growth isn’t remarkable the growth is basically coming from employment.”–With assistance from Bloomberg’s Pradeep Kurup .(c) 2018, Bloomberg  Related Itemslast_img read more

Iran’s Right to Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy Should be Respected: India

first_imgAfter the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, India responded a day later, on May 9, saying that the country’s right to “peaceful uses of nuclear energy” should be respected by all parties involved in the deal.“India has always maintained that Iranian nuclear issue should be resolved peacefully through dialogue and diplomacy by respecting Iran’s right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy and international community’s strong interest in exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program,” the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said, according to the Times of India.“All parties should engage constructively to address and resolve issues that have arises with respect to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” it said.The decision by U.S. President Donald Trump on May 8 has led to an outcry in the global diplomatic circles. French President Emmanuel Macron, UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had met Trump a day before to dissuade him from leaving the nuclear deal with Iran but were unsuccessful in changing his mind to leave a deal that he said was “defective at its core.”However, the Iranian nuclear deal is “not dead” despite Trump’s decision, France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was quoted as saying by BBC on May 9.The deal was agreed in 2015 between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the United States, United Kingdom, France, China and Russia — plus Germany, under the leadership of former U.S. President Barack Obama. According to the deal, Iran would eliminate its nuclear stockpile but maintain its peaceful nuclear program, and in return, would receive relief from the nuclear-related economic sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union, and the United Nations Security Council.The other signatories have said that they will remain in the deal.India is speaking in support of Iran because of its interests in the Chabahar Port located in southeastern Iran, on the Gulf of Oman, which gives India access to Afghanistan and Eurasia, bypassing Pakistan. It serves as India’s answer to China developing the Gwadar Port in Pakistan as part of its China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.It was reported in February this year that India would invest in Iran to bypass impending U.S. sanctions, according to the Economic Times. The decision was reportedly made during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to India in February. India is already set to develop the Chabahar Port at a cost of $85 million over the course of 18 months. India has also extended a $150 million credit line to Iran through Exim Bank of India and offered to supply $400 million worth of steel towards the construction of the rail link between Chabahar and Zahedan.India has also engaged with the United States as part of a quadrilateral that also includes Australia and Japan to stop China’s aggressive growth in the Asia Pacific region.  Related ItemsDonald TrumpIranUnited Stateslast_img read more