Different indicators on employment have bounced back remarkably after showing a dip during April-June 2020 owing to nationwide lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Economic Survey tabled in Parliament on Monday.
”The various indicators of employment have bounced back remarkably, after showing a decline during the first quarter of 2020-21, during the nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic,” it said.
The document stated that, as per quarterly Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) data, up to March 2021, employment in urban sector affected by the pandemic has recovered almost to the pre-pandemic levels.
Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) data suggests that not only formalisation of jobs continued during second COVID-19 wave, but its adverse impact by far on formalisation of jobs was also much lower than during the first COVID-19 wave.
To provide the necessary buffer for the unorganised labour in rural areas during the pandemic, allocation of funds to Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) has been increased, it noted.
The Survey stated that with the revival of the economy, the Unemployment Rate (UR), the Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) and the Worker Population Rate (WPR) almost reached their pre-pandemic levels during the last quarter of 2020-21, as per Periodic Labour Force Survey Data.
The Economic Survey also analyses trends in urban employment using Employees Provident Funds Organisation (EPFO) payroll data. An analysis of the EPFO data (under the survey) suggests significant acceleration in formalization of the job market, during 2021.
In fact, in November 2021, the monthly net additional EPF subscription peaked with 13.95 lakh new subscribers, the highest in any given month since 2017, the Survey stated.
This translates into growth of 109.21 percent in EPF subscription from November, 2020. The Economic Survey further said that the monthly net addition in EPF subscriptions during 2021 has not only been higher than the corresponding monthly values in 2020 but they have also surpassed the levels of the corresponding months during pre-pandemic year 2019.
Economic Survey 2021-22 analysed trends in rural labour market with the help of latest data on demand for work under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
The Survey observed that the MGNREGS employment peaked during the nationwide lockdown in 2020.
However, an interesting trend was observed for many migrant source states like West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Bihar, in which the MGNREGS employment in most months of 2021 has been lower than the corresponding level in 2020.
In contrast, the demand for MGNREGS employment has been higher for migrant recipient states like Punjab, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu for most months in 2021 over 2020.
Giving further details, it pointed out that the demand for MGNREGS work has stabilised after the second COVID-19 wave. It further stated that the aggregate MGNREGS employment is still higher than pre-pandemic level.
During the second COVID-19 wave, demand for MGNREGS employment reached the maximum level of 4.59 crore persons in June 2021.
The Economic Survey has highlighted several policy responses to boost livelihoods.
These include Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgaar Yojana which was announced as a part of Aatmanirbhar 3.0 package to boost the economy, increase the employment generation in post COVID-19 recovery phase and to incentivise creation of new employment along with the social security benefits and restoration of loss of employment during COVID-19 pandemic.
To boost employment and livelihood for returnee migrant workers, Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan was launched in June 2020. It focused on 25 target driven works to provide employment and create infrastructure in the rural areas of 116 districts 6 states with resource envelope of Rs 50,000 crore.
Similarly, allocation to MGNREGS in 2021-22 increased to Rs 73,000 crore, from Rs 61,500 crore in 2020-21. Allocation for 2021-22 has been enhanced to Rs 98,000 crore so far. In FY 2021-22, over 8.70 crore individuals and 6.10 crore households were provided work so far, it noted.
The Survey also highlighted several other social protection measures which have been stepped up like Pradhan Mantri Shramyogi Mandhan (PM-SYM) Yojana, National Pension Scheme for traders/shopkeepers/self employed persons, e-SHRAM portal to facilitate delivery of Social Security Schemes to workers and labour reforms for welfare of labour.
(With inputs from PTI)