Agricultural, manufacturing sectors witness decline in employment

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The recently released Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) survey by the National Statistical Office (NSO) revealed that employment in the agricultural sector has decelerated in the last four quarters. The survey, which was designed for the January-March 2019 quarter also observed that the count of men employed in the agricultural sector saw a gradual decline. While men’s employment stood at 5.1 percent in April-June 2018 quarter, it came down to 4.9 percent in January-March 2019 quarter.

In the case of women, an employment rate of 6.9 percent was witnessed during January-March 2019 in comparison to 6.7 percent in the April-June 2018 quarter. However, it still remains a fast decline from the women employment level of 8.1 percent recorded during the July-September 2018 quarter. The NSO report also underlined that a decline in employment was also seen in secondary sectors like mining, manufacturing, and construction.

While men’s employment was at 35.6 percent in the April- June 2018 quarter, it came down to 35.1 in the January-March 2019 quarter for men. A similar trend was witnessed for women, but the decline was steeper in their case. From 29.1 percent in April-June 2018 quarter, it came down to 28.1 percent in the January-March 2019 quarter.

The NSO data is also in line with the paper written by Santosh Mehrotra and Jajati K Parida, which was published by the Centre of Sustainable Employment at the Azim Premji University. The paper published last month showed employment fell by around nine million (90 lakh) between 2011-12 and 2017-18 for the first time in the country, due to a sharp slowdown in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

Experts are of the notion that a decline in manufacturing is beating the motive of the PM Modi government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative and could worsen economic growth.