Submit unemployment data in 10 days: Labour panel asks govts

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on June 23, 2021

Ministry officials told the panel that the unemployment rate is in ‘double digits’

The Labour Standing Committee of Parliament has started discussion on the unemployment scenario after the lockdowns and two waves of Covid-19 in the country. The panel has asked the Centre and the State governments to provide specific data about unemployment and the measures taken by them to protect jobs and wages.

The panel has decided to submit the report in the last week of July so that Parliament can discuss it in the monsoon session. “The situation is grave. The Centre has stopped surveys that were going on related to the status domestic workers, transport workers, gig workers and migrant workers because of pandemic. There is no concrete data and the officers failed to answer our questions. We have given them 10 days to submit written answers,” a senior member in the panel said.

Double digit

The Labour Ministry officials told the panel that the unemployment rate is in “double digits” and they will start the surveys within a couple of months. There were also discussions on two separate studies that more than 230 million Indians were pushed to poverty and that 7.3 million jobs lost in April 2020, including 2.84 million salaried jobs in rural India.

“The Ministry said they have sent advisories to all State governments that there should not be any retrenchments in any establishments. They said, under the Chief Labour Commissioner, 20 control rooms were set up to address the complaints of termination and wage loss from central sphere of workers. Due to intervention of these control rooms, 16,000 complaints were received and ₹295 crore amount disbursed. 1,86,365 workers benefitted with this. And the control rooms were rejuvenated in April this year. As of June 15, they received 1,270 complaints and ₹6.06 crore disbursed while settling these complaints benefitting 4,653 workers,” another member said.

The members, cutting across political affiliations, expressed their anguish with the way these control rooms function. “During the second wave, large number of workers have lost their jobs. But the Centre failed to reach out to them,” a member said. Construction workers claimed ₹5,618 crore from their welfare find and 1.83 crore workers got the benefit of this during the first wave of Covid. During the second wave, ₹1,034 crore was distributed among 50.87 lakh workers. The panel was.also told that 1.14 crore migrant workers returned to their villages during the first wave and 5,15,363 workers returned to their home states for “seasonal activities” during the second wave.

The members also asked about reverse migration from abroad. “They did not have exact figures. We have asked them to submit State-wise figures in 10 days,” member said. Issues such as direct cash transfer, vaccination drive for migrant workers were also discussed in the meeting.

Published on June 23, 2021

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