Panel pulls up Labour Ministry over lack of data on unemployment, welfare measures

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 03, 2021

The panel recommended measures such as universal healthcare, additional work days under MGNREGS and direct cash transfers for workers

Peeved at the lack of data on unemployment and welfare measures to workers, particularly those in the unorganised sector, the Parliament Standing Committee on Labour pulled up the Centre in its report on “Impact of Covid-19 on Rising Unemployment and Loss of Jobs/Livelihoods in Organised and Unorganised Sectors” tabled in both the Houses on Tuesday.

The panel recommended measures such as universal healthcare, additional work days under MGNREGS and direct cash transfers for workers.

Citing the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), it said over 90 per cent of workers are in informal sector which in absolute terms translates into 41.9 crore individuals out of a total of 46.5 crore workers. The informal workers both in rural and urban areas who have been hit the most due to Covid-19 pandemic comprise migrants, and those in agriculture, casual/contract work, building and construction, domestic, gig/platform and the self-employed such as plumbers, carpenters, painters and street vendors, the report said.

‘Delay in updating data’

The panel expressed concern that the PLFS annual survey reports are available for the years 2017-18 and 2018-19 only. “Though the quarter-wise data in urban areas for the year 2019-20 as per current weekly status are available, that does not reflect a true picture in view of the Union Labour Ministry’s own admission that impact of Covid-19 will be assessed only after the results for PLFS 2019-20 and 2020-21 are available,” the report said and criticised the inordinate delay in completing PLFS.

Traditional sector

The panel said leveraging investments into the traditional sectors, strengthening the ‘Make in India’ mission and intensifying further infusion of technology into various sectors would provide enhanced local and pan-India employment opportunities.

Rural employment

While taking note of the measures taken under MGNREGA to boost rural employment and considering the increase in the number of individual members in families because of return of migrants to villages, the panel said intended benefits under the Scheme be made individual-specific instead of family centric to depict a clear picture of the actual number of individual beneficiaries.

“The Committee also desire that with a view to mitigating the immediate sufferings of the rural populace, especially the migrant labours, the Government should consider increasing the work allocation under the Scheme to at least 200 days per year so as to effectively cater to the growing job demands,” the report said.

On the plight of urban poor, the panel said they also need productive employment opportunities.

Published on August 03, 2021

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