An estimated 1.5 million people lost their jobs in the four months between January and April this year as an immediate fallout of the government’s drastic decision to demonetise old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes on November 8 last year, fresh data reveals.
According to figures released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the estimated total employment during January-April 2017 was 405 million compared to 406.5 million during the preceding four months, September-December 2016, pointing to about 1.5 million jobs being lost during the four-month period beginning a month after demonetisation.
The CMIE data, based on all-India household surveys over a sample size of 161,167 households that included 519,285 adults, further said that while the number of persons employed fell by 1.5 million during January-April 2017 period, the number of people who declared themselves unemployed fell much more — by 9.6 million.
The fresh data comes on the completion of twelve months since the announcement by Prime Minister last year on this day. The government is faced with severe criticism from opposition parties over the impact of the Centre’s decision.
Although the criticism of the government over the notes ban is laden with political undertones, the jobs crisis is one front that the government has been struggling with, with different sets of employment data point to the falling graph of employment generation.
According to The Indian Express, employment figures of leading listed companies show that a majority of them have seen a net decline in their employment numbers in 2016-17 over that in previous years.
Job data for 121 companies — excluding IT and financial services sector — that are part of BSE 500, and for whom numbers were available for last three years, show a net aggregate decline in headcount for the second consecutive year. For the set of 107 companies, there has been a net decline of 14,668 employees, it said.
While the employee numbers stood at 684,452 at the end of March 2015, it came down to 677,296 at the end of March 2016 and then to 669,784 at the end of March 2017. Some of the large companies that witnessed notable decline in their employee numbers were L&T (1,888), Hindustan Unilever (1,453), Idea Cellular (707), ACC (535), Tata Motors (534), Tata Steel (450), Hindalco (439) and Titan Industries (422) among others, the report added.
The Quarterly Employment Survey for October-December 2016, which included the demonetisation period, showed that the maximum decrease of casual jobs was in the manufacturing sector (1.13 lakh), followed by IT/BPO sector (20,000).
The loss of part-time work was also highest in manufacturing. Overall, however, there were positive changes in manufacturing (83,000), trade (7,000), transport (1,000), IT/BPO sector (12,000), education (18,000) and health (2,000), according to the survey.
Meanwhile, Union IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has dismissed the criticism of the government on the jobs front, saying “only those who were not able to enhance their skills with time lost their jobs."
"There's a difference between job and employment. Only those who were not able to enhance their skills with time lost their jobs," a TOI report quoted the minister as saying.
Data pertaining to the government’s flagship Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) until the first week of July 2017 shows that of the total 30.67 lakh candidates who had been trained or were undergoing training across the country, less than a tenth — 2.9 lakh candidates — had received placement offers, according to official data with the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship.