Economy

Centre refutes CMIE's 8% unemployment rate claim

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on May 07, 2021

B.LINE: Migrant workers and families wait for transport to go to their hometowns in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, if non- availability of transport. , in New Delhi on 16.5.20.Pic:Kamal Narang    -  Businessline

Says Labour Bureau conducting surveys

The Centre has questioned the unemployment data put out by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) data and said that the Labour Bureau is conducting a survey to assess the situation. But experts and trade unions, worried over the figures, have demanded intervention by governments.

According to CMIE, the country’s unemployment rate has gone up to 8 per cent (7.1 per cent in rural and 9.8 per cent in urban) in April. Experts fear that this could be a trend, but the government is refuting it. According to the government officials, such surveys have no scientific basis and the situation is not as bad as projected.

Meanwhile, the Opposition parties and trade unions have demanded direct cash transfer to workers.

Chief Labour Commissioner DPS Negi told BusinessLine that the Centre has taken a number of measures to ensure that economic activities does not stop during the regional and local lockdowns. “For example, we had given directions to State Labour Departments to ensure that activities such as construction and agricultural work should not have an impact due to lockdowns. To help migrant workers, we have also initiated vaccination works in front of factory gates and worksites,” Negi said.

Questioning the veracity of “surveys by private agencies”, he said the Labour Bureau is holding surveys on migration, professional bodies, domestic workers and other casual workers. “These scientific surveys are being done using proper methodological tools and with the help of experts. No one is ignoring the problem of unemployment. But it is not as bad as being projected by certain agencies,” he said.

He added that the control rooms opened by the Union Labour Ministry were effective in helping migrant workers and had controlled the reverse migration.

Sridhar Kundu, Senior Economic Analyst at Indian School of Business, said that though the statistics do not provide the real unemployment scenario, it gives a clear indication that the unemployment is rising.

“The rise in unemployment rate as shown by CMIE goes with the present situation. Many economic activities are stuck in urban areas due to the spread of Covid 19 and the subsequent lockdowns. The real situation may be bad than the data given by CMIE. But it throws light on a trend. It is a forced unemployment. It was thrust on people by governments. People have a right to work. This forced unemployment also includes half unemployment, where people get paid half because of less hours of work,” he said.

CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury urged the Centre to start direct money transfers of ₹7,500 per month to all unemployed people. Citing the CMIE data, he said GDP is expected to tank at -8 per cent on top of last year’s -9.5 per cent. “Unemployment is soaring. It is -32 per cent in manufacturing. In real estate -25 per cent and in office jobs -19 per cent. Prime Minister Narendra Modi must show some concern and should start direct money transfers,” he said.

INTUC president G Sanjeeva Reddy said all migrant workers are migrating back because of Covid and because of some industries’ reluctance to employ people who have stayed back.

“In some cases, where the company not doing good, workers were denied wages. The Centre has to ensure that workers get minimum wages even if the company is not running. Also companies are eager to employ contract workers. The economy of the country will further degrade if millions of workers are denied jobs and wages,” he added.

Published on May 07, 2021

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