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Labour Beureau and NSSO will be strengthened by India to track national job growth

The two federal institutions responsible for computing employment dataits Labour Bureau and the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), will be strengthened by India as Asia’s third biggest economy seeks to ascertain whether jobs are keeping pace with the nation’s rising financial profile.

The move comes days after the high-level task force on employment data recommended a makeover of the statistics collection process in the country, while scrapping the NSSO employment-unemployment surveyIndia’s Labour Bureau is under the administrative control of the Labour Ministry, while the NSSO belongs to the statistics ministry.

“We will strengthen NSSO and the Labour Bureau, and widen their scope to get a more timely and holistic picture of employment generation in the country,” Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said in an exclusive interaction with ET. The need for an overhaul of the employment-data publication process became pronounced after Opposition parties started criticising the BJP-led NDA government’s policies they claimed were leading to jobless growth. According to Dattatreya, his ministry will undertake a multi-fold approach to strengthen the two institutions instead of closing them down.

“This would include creating dedicated cells in 15-20 ministries currently responsible for data collection, hiring young professionals in large numbers to exclusively do employment data collection, and categorising labour intensive industries in a wider sense,” Dattatreya added. The minister is of the view that “capturing data at the state level is very difficult and these young professionals will be tasked with helping the Centre collect data from states”.

A high-level task force on employment data, set up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had recently recommended that the government scrap the NSSO employmentunemployment survey and replace it with more robust household and enterprise survey, with the GSTN being made into a universal establishment number. Besides, the task force under the chairmanship of NITI Aayog’s vice chairman Arvind Panagariya had proposed widening the scope of formal employment and quick survey of MUDRA borrowers to gather reliable data on employment generation in the country.

This would ensure that the government would be able to make adequate and timely policy interventions. At present, employment generation in the country is estimated using multiple surveys such as the NSSO employment-unemployment survey, annual labour force survey, population census, economic census, annual survey of industries, quarterly employment survey, and MSME census, and by putting together data from administrative sources such as the EPFO, ESIC and NPS.

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