Times of India: June, 2015
New Delhi: The government is working on comprehensive jobs data, which would include annual and quarterly surveys to help economic management, the country's chief statistician has said.
The data will be on stream once the administrative process of undertaking this mammoth exercise is finalised and would mark a new milestone in the country's economic indicators and help bring it at par with global practices.
"We are working on it. It is part of our 12th Plan proposal to do a more regular annual and quarterly survey on employment. That is in a process of administrative consultation. Once the details have been worked out, we will be in a position to tell you how the timelines will work out and when the survey will be launched," T C A Anant, chief statistician, told TOI.
There are several employment surveys, which are already available and various agencies of the government undertake assessment of the labour market in the country but India lacks a comprehensive jobs data like the US. The jobs data in the US is a key economic indicator.
The National Sample Survey Organisation publishes the employment scenario every five years. The Labour Bureau in Shimla does a number of surveys, which will continue. The Bureau of Public Enterprises publish data on public sector employment and another agency brings out data on government employment.
The Annual Survey of Industries brings out figures on manufacturing employment. "These are already available and they will continue to be available. This will be a more comprehensive, regularly structured survey with a consistent methodological approach, which will give you a large part though not all of the information which NSS surveys would earlier give once every five years," said Anant. The fact that a large chunk of the economy is in the informal sector makes it difficult to have a comprehensive jobs data.
Anant said initially the proposed jobs data will be yearly for all India and quarterly for urban areas. "Once they stabilize we will think of extending it quarterly to rural areas. There are many logistical issues involved in the quarterly estimates in rural areas because the model for quarterly estimate is slightly different from model for the annual estimate. It is piggy backing on a common frame," Anant said.
The statistics office is looking at different innovative ways to capture information in the context of each data request that comes its way.
"It is an extremely important indicator for economic management. The three critical elements for policy making are data on prices, data on value added and data on employment. These are three critical pillars on which central bank rely all over the world. For a long time we have been working with only two," Anant said.