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

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Is Extreme Poverty Declining?

The latest round of the Situation Ass­essment Survey of Agricultural Households is used to calculate income poverty instead of commenting on consumption poverty across non-comparable data sets. Using three different poverty lines, it is demonstrated that at least 21.1% of agricultural households are extremely income poor. Though the so-called “Great Indian Poverty Debate 2.0,” with statistical assu­mptions on consumption distribution or relative prices, may provide certain estimates of poverty, those seem to be disproportionate to the actualities of the extremely poor in recent times.

The Periodic Labour Force Survey and the Estimate of the Socio-economic Inequalities

A new system of data collection on issues pertaining to labour and employment, called the Periodic Labour Force Survey, replacing the very comprehensive and detailed surveys on the employment and unemployment situation, also known as quinquennial surveys, was introduced in India in 2017. This paper is an attempt to highlight the effects of the modified sampling methods adopted in the PLFS on data outcomes and inconsistencies. Compared to the EUS survey, the determining criteria used in the PLFS for classifying households across various socio-economic strata seem to be irrational, less comprehensive, and technically incorrect. A fundamental change in the basis of sample selection introduced with the PLFS makes it incomparable to the earlier surveys.

Occupation, Earning, and Gender

This study analyses the employment distribution of the working-age women by occupations across their activities in usual principal status in the Periodic Labour Force Survey for 2017–18 by taking into account the household-specific factors and workers’ personal characteristics by using a multinomial logit model. The study infers that gender differences in returns to schooling are in favour of female workers, but they earned less than male workers in almost every occupation and employment status. The effect of education is stronger in selecting high-paying jobs.

 

Reliability of PLFS 2019–20 Data

The April–June (2020) quarterly data for the urban sector showed a massive decline in the workforce participation rate and a huge increase in the unemployment rate. Still, the annual average work participation rate rose sharply in 2019–20 compared to the earlier two rounds of the Periodic Labour Force Survey estimates, and the average unemployment rate declined somewhat. Given these patterns, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy data set, despite its own problems, seems to be casting a more realistic picture.

 

Did Employment Rise or Fall in India between 2011 and 2017?

The Periodic Labour Force Survey 2017­–18 data have created a controversy regarding the quantity of employment generated in the past few years in India. Estimates ranging from an absolute increase of 23 million to an absolute decline of 15.5 million have been published. In this paper, we show that some of the variations in estimates can be attributed to how populations are projected based on data from Census 2011. We estimate the change in employment using the cohort–component method of population projection. We show that for men, the total employment rose, but the increase fell far short of the increase in the working age population. For women, employment fell. The decline was concentrated among women engaged in part-time or occasional work in agriculture and construction.

 

COVID-19 and Women Informal Sector Workers in India

The precarious nature of employment of women informal workers is examined using data from the Periodic Labour Force Survey (2018–19). To capture the gendered experiences of informal workers during the lockdown period, data from a series of rapid assessment studies is used. It was found that the unequal gendered division of domestic chores existed even before the onset of the pandemic, but the COVID-19- induced lockdowns have further worsened the situation. In terms of paid employment, women tend to work in risky, hazardous and stigmatised jobs as front-line health workers, waste-pickers, domestic workers, but do not receive the minimum wages as specified by the government.

Is Periodic Labour Force Survey, 2017–18 Comparable with Employment–Unemployment Survey, 2011–12?

Towards improving the existing system of collecting data on socio-economic parameters, the National Sample Survey Office introduced the Periodic Labour Force Survey in 2017–18 by replacing its previous quinquennial rounds on the employment–unemployment situation. There has been a significant restructuring of the previously existing questionnaire, survey methodology, and inquiry schedule. The advantages of the new PLFS data are listed, and inputs for further improvements are provided.

 

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