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

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Growth sans Employment: A Quarter Century of Jobless Growth in India's Organised Manufacturing

There has been considerable debate in India about the impact of growth on employment especially in the organised manufacturing sector for different periods since the early 1980s. However, changes in the coverage of the Annual Survey of Industries demand a fresh look at the issue over a longer period. This paper attempts such an analysis for 1981-82 to 2004-05. For the period as a whole as well as for two separate periods - the pre- and post-reform phases - the picture that emerges is one of "jobless growth", due to the combined effect of two trends that have cancelled each other out. One set of industries was characterised by employment-creating growth while another set by employment-displacing growth. Over this period, there has been acceleration in capital intensification at the expense of creating employment. A good part of the resultant increase in labour productivity was retained by the employers as the product wage did not increase in proportion to output growth. The workers as a class thus lost in terms of both additional employment and real wages in organised manufacturing sector.

An earlier version of this paper was presented by the rst author at the First National Technical Consultation on Employment Policy for India organised by the Ministry of Labour, Government of India and the International Labour Ofce (Sub-regional Ofce for South Asia), on 21 February 2008, New Delhi. The authors would like to thank Arjun Sengupta, T S Papola, Ajit Ghosh, B N Goldar, Arup Mitra and Sukti Dasgupta for several rounds of discussion on various aspects of the ndings of this paper. A special word of thanks is due to Ajaya Kumar Naik for his able computational assistance. However, the authors alone are responsible for errors, if any.

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