ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Stagnant Employment Growth

Employment growth in India slowed down drastically during the period 2012 to 2016, after a marginal improvement between March 2010 and March 2012, according to the latest available employment data collected by the Labour Bureau. There was an absolute decline in employment during the period 2013–14 to 2015–16, perhaps happening for the first time in independent India. The construction, manufacturing and information technology/business process outsourcing sectors fared the worst over this period.

Missing Labour or Consistent "De-Feminisation"?

"Missing labour force in India" - the recent fluctuations in the labour participation of women - is probably due to short-term shifts in activities responding to favourable economic conditions. Such fluctuations need to be placed in the context of a structural change in labour participation wherein the share of women in the labour force as well as labour participation rate of women has been declining for the last quarter of a century. Upward social mobility in Indian patriarchal society in the wake of growing incomes is probably symbolised by women's withdrawal from paid labour and their confinement to unpaid domestic activities. Even under such adverse conditions employment growth of women is not stagnant. Those who do enter and remain in the labour market are women from the most vulnerable households, as marginalised informal paid labour, thus feminising the most precarious forms of labour in the country.

Employment Growth in Rural India: Distress-Driven?

The 61st round (2004-05) of the National Sample Survey showed that there was a turnaround in employment growth in rural India after a phase of jobless growth during the 1990s. Paradoxically, this employment growth occurred during a period of widespread distress in the agricultural sector with low productivity, price instability and stagnation leading to indebtedness. This paper reveals that employment growth in the rural areas was probably a response to the income crisis that is gripping farming. Under conditions of distress, when income levels fall below sustenance, then the normally non-working population is forced to enter the labour market to supplement household income. The decline of the agricultural sector has also probably created forced sectoral and regional mobility of the working population, with the non-working population complementing them.
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