Responding to a recent report of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the Union Labour and Employment Ministry on Tuesday said it was “factually incorrect” to infer that half the working age population had dropped out of the labour force as a large proportion was pursuing education or engaged in unpaid activities such as caregiving.
“Employment is the primary concern of the Government of India and various steps are being taken by ministries/departments for generation of employment opportunities in the country… It is important to note that the complete working age population may not be working or seeking work. A substantial portion of working age population is either pursuing education… or engaged in unpaid activities like production of goods for own consumption, unpaid domestic activities or caregiving services for household members, volunteering, training, etc.,” the Ministry said in a statement.
The statement said, according to the Education Ministry, more than 10 crore people were enrolled in secondary, higher secondary, higher or technical education in 2019-2020 and 49% of that was women.
“Majority of these students pursuing higher education are in the working age population but, all of them may not be seeking work. Similarly, not all female engaged in unpaid domestic services for household members may be seeking paid work,” the Ministry said.
Fall in unemployment rate
It added that the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation’s Periodic Labour Force Survey had shown an increase in the labour force participation rate, which is the percentage of population either working or seeking work, from 49.8% in 2017-2018 to 53.5% in 2019-2020 and a decrease of unemployment rate from 6% to 4.8%. It said the Economic Survey 2021-2022 had indicated an increase of 4.75 crore in employment in 2019-2020 from 2018-2019.
According to a Labour Ministry official, the CMIE report that showed a decline in the labour force participation rate from 46% to 40%, did not prepare a frame of households of sample village/block for the survey.