On the first day of Parliament’s monsoon session, the ministry of labour and employment on Monday said that the “government has taken a number of initiatives for promoting employment generation in the country” in recent years. The response was to a question posed by member of Parliament Kunwar Danish Ali where he asked the labour minister to reveal “the reasons for the decline in employment avenues” during the last few years “despite the increase in growth rate.” Ali had also asked for statistics on job losses for the last five years and the steps taken by the government to increase employment.
Answering Ali, newly appointed labour minister Bhupendra Yadav listed the government’s employment initiatives including Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana (ABRY), and said that the government is encouraging various projects involving “substantial investment” and is focussed on “public expenditure on schemes” like Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and more.
“ABRY scheme (is) being implemented through EPFO (Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation). (It) seeks to reduce the financial burden of the employers and encourages them to hire more workers,” Yadav told Ali.
He added that under ABRY, the government has been providing 12% of employees’ share of wages and employers’ share of contribution for two years for new employees whose monthly wage is less than ₹15,000/- per month.
He added that the new employees under the scheme include those who lost their jobs during Covid-19 and didn’t join in any EPF-covered establishment up to September 30 last year.
Listing another scheme Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY), the minister said that the government is paying the “employer’s contribution i.e. 12% for a period of three years to the new employees earning up to ₹15,000 through EPFO.”
However, this would largely not include people who lost their jobs due to Covid as the terminal date stated by the minister is “March 31, 2019.”
Besides this, Yadav listed two more schemes which include PM Street Vendor’s Aatmanirbhar Nidhi (SVANidhi) Scheme and Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY), saying that the government has been helping “businesses resume” after “Covid period” through collateral-free loans loan up to ₹10,000 through the former and ₹10 lakh through the latter.
Yadav did not give fresh data; he quoted data from “Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS)” conducted by the ministry of statistics and programme implementation (MOSPI) in 2019.
Yadav said that from 2017 to 2019, the “estimated the unemployment rate for the persons aged 15 years and above on usual status (principal status + subsidiary status) basis in the country is 6.0% and 5.8%, respectively.”
The principal status here means employment accounting for the majority of worker’s time over the year and subsidiary status is activity other than the principal activity undertaken on a short-term basis.
Besides listing employment initiatives, Yadav also said that “flagship programmes” like Digital India, Swachh Bharat Mission, Smart City Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, Housing for All, Infrastructure development and Industrial corridors also “have the potential to generate productive employment opportunities.”
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