Hoping to address the problem of employment generation, the government hopes to get real-time data on the country’s job market by next year.

A new high-level panel has been constituted to tap into information with employers and establishments.

“The labour market also needs other forms of data, particularly, those from employing establishments such as administrative data relating to payrolls, social security systems and provident fund. The panel is looking at all of these data sources,” said TCA Anant, Secretary, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

Anant is a member of the taskforce that was set up by the Prime Minister’s Office last week to recommend ways to get timely and reliable data on employment.

The panel is chaired by Arvind Panagriya, Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog, with Anant, Labour Secretary Sathiyavathy, NITI Aayog’s Pulak Ghosh and RBI Board Member Manish Sabharwal as members.

The proposed periodic labour force survey, which is expected to start later in the year, will be a separate exercise, Anant said.

“Labour market is assessed through employment surveys, which the PLFS is an example of. But it is only one part of the employment data,” he told BusinessLine .

The long planned PLFS will measure employment and unemployment trends across the country in both quarterly and annual surveys.

At present, there are only two official data sources on employment generation in the country.

One is the the quinquennial survey of employment and unemployment by the National Sample Survey Organisation, which was last done in 2011-12.

The second is the Labour Bureau quarterly surveys on job losses in specific sectors, which is being conducted since 2009, and also an annual all India employment survey since 2010-11.

A handicap

But, for policy makers and analysts the lack of regular and recent employment data is a handicap in trying to work out measures for job creation and economic growth.

The issue was also flagged by Panagariya recently. “We need much more frequent surveys. Currently the Labour Bureau does something and the numbers are not completely reliable. They too take into account only a subset of sectors,” he had told BusinessLine.

He also raised questions on the actual number of entrants into the labour market. “The 10 million people entering the work force every year number is incorrect, although it has been quoted by many and perhaps I may have used it earlier too,” he said. NITI Aayog Member Bibek Debroy also pointed out that there are no good data on jobs. “We will begin to have good data from 2018 because the NSS will start a survey,” he said.

“Labour and employment growth is an issue,” Debroy said, adding that there are many related issues such as growth. “The more serious issue is the breaking down of the correlation between education and skills and getting a salary which is commensurate with the skills,” he said.

More growth, more jobs

Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser to the Finance Ministry, on Tuesday said that the solution to job creation is more growth, which is broad based and employment intensive.

“The economy needs to be growing at 8 per cent to 10 per cent to meet the employment challenge,” he said at a lecture at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.

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