Task force may pitch for making GSTN the universal enterprise number for job data

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 11, 2018 Published on July 04, 2017

Arvind Panagariya, Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog

It is also likely to define formal workers

The Task Force on Improving Employment Data will suggest making the Goods & Services Tax Network (GSTN) number as the universal enterprise and establishment number based on which the Annual Enterprise Survey could be carried out.

To ensure that the government is backed with substantial data to address the unemployment issue, a challenge before the Narendra Modi-led government, it is expected to suggest higher frequency of household surveys and economic census — every three years. It will also define ‘formal workers’.

Since GSTN will not cover own-account and enterprises with turnover below ₹20 lakh, the task force would propose an Annual Survey of enterprises excluded from GST, including enterprises in health and education. The sample frame would be derived from the Economic Census.

The task force headed by Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog, Arvind Panagariya, will be submitting its report soon. It has focused on addressing the challenges of lack and periodic estimates on the number of types of jobs in India, the level of unemployment and employment being created by government schemes, and lack of a plausible definition of formal employment.

It is likely to suggest that the GSTN number be extended to all commercial and non-commercial entities wishing to register. The task force is of the view that this exercise be made in time-bound manner (within 12 months), sources involved with the work told BusinessLine.

According to the employment-unemployment survey of 2011-12 (the latest available) India has a workforce of 47.36 crore. Of these, 49 per cent or 23 crore workers were in agriculture and 24 crore in industry and services. The economic consensus 2013-14, which covers all non-agriculture establishments captured only 13.1 crore workers in all. Of these, only 2.77 crore were in enterprises with 10 or more workers. This is only 6 per cent of the total workforce of 47.36 crore. The task force will suggest that ministries of Statistics and Programme Implementation and Labour and Employment work together to avoid duplication in data.

Formal workers

According to sources, formal workers will be those who are covered under the Employees’ State Insurance Act, Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provision Act, or other similar insurance or social security scheme. Besides, government and other public sector employees, those covered under private insurance or pension schemes or provident funds, and workers subject to tax deduction at source on their income, also qualify as ‘formal workers’.

On enterprise surveys, it is expected to suggest using GSTN as the sample frame as it will include enterprises of all sizes in goods and services sectors with turnover not exceeding ₹20 lakh. It is likely to propose formation of an expert group to advise on survey design.

Further, it will also suggest tracking of subset of the enterprises in the GSTN survey at a higher frequency to generate monthly or quarterly enterprise-based employment estimates.

On making GSTN the universal enterprise and establishment numbers, it is proposing that Income Tax issued PAN number could be embedded in the GSTN number, making it the universal enterprise number.

Quick survey of Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency borrowers and other major employment in other major government schemes will also be suggested.

Published on July 04, 2017
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