9.4.1 As Labour is a subject in the Concurrent List of the Constitution, both the Union and State Governments have powers to legislate on issues concerning Labour; their conditions of work, welfare, safety, health, etc. The responsibility for implementation of the legislation largely rests with the State Governments except in certain industries in the Central sector where it rests with the Union Government. Information on a variety of aspects of labour and employment are necessary for: making appropriate labour policies; understanding the aspects of labour safety, health, welfare, social security of labour; policy relating to special target groups such as women and child labour; industrial relations and disputes; enforcement of labour laws; workers’ education and emigration of labour for employment abroad. Data are also required for assessing the levels of employment in various sectors of the economy, employment potential, incidence of unemployment, etc. and formulating programmes for generation of employment and for poverty alleviation to provide self-employment and wage employment. The liberalised economy combined with acceleration in economic growth has caused structural changes in the nature of job market. It, therefore, calls for capturing the data on Labour and Employment more comprehensively in the post reform period.
9.4.2 The system of collection of Labour Statistics in India is quite old. The Labour Bureau in the Union Ministry of Labour has been the Central agency collecting and disseminating data on various aspects of labour ever since it was established in 1946. Realising the importance of Labour Statistics in the discharge of its responsibilities, the Ministry has made attempts in the past to review the system of Labour Statistics in the country. In 1975, the Ministry constituted a small Working Group under the Chairmanship of Shri T.S. Sankaran, Joint Secretary, for studying the possibility of simplifying and rationalising the various registers, returns and reports prescribed under various Labour Laws. Another Committee was constituted in 1981 under the Chairmanship of Dr. K.C. Seal, Director General, CSO to look into the procedures followed in compiling the primary statistics in States and UTs and make recommendations for speedy data collection as well as simplification and rationalisation of returns. These Committees have made major recommendations for improving the statistical system and rationalisation and simplification of forms and returns; however, the implementation of these recommendations have been partial and most of these remain unimplemented, as the action that was required at the State level was not taken adequately. In Labour Statistics the involvement of the State Governments is crucial for the improvement of the system.
9.4.3 Recently, in January 1999, a Study Group on Labour Statistics was set up by the Ministry of Labour under the Chairmanship of Professor L.K. Deshpande to review the whole gamut of collection of Labour Statistics by different ministries and departments and certain other related aspects. These included the identification of data gaps, vis-à-vis various ILO conventions, review of the existing data collecting machinery and need for labour networking and creation of data bank on Labour Statistics. The Report of the Study Group is not only a comprehensive review of the problems and existing data gaps in Labour Statistics collected by different agencies but also provides a set of recommendations for improvement. The Commission has gone into the contents of the Report and shares the views and recommendations of the Study Group and has in fact benefited considerably in its work from the findings of this study. The Commission is of the view that if the recommendations of this Group are speedily and effectively implemented, the existing deficiencies will get addressed to a large extent. Apart from this, the Commission interacted with officials from the Ministry of Labour and its various attached and subordinate offices, officials from NSSO, Planning Commission and the Registrar General of India. The current problems and issues on Labour Statistics were also discussed with the representatives from the States in the Conference of Central and State Statistical Organisations. The Commission took note of these suggestions and views, while framing its recommendations to improve the timeliness, credibility and adequacy of Labour and Employment Statistics.
9.4.4 The major agencies involved in the collection of Labour and Employment Statistics are the Ministry of Labour and its affiliates such as Labour Bureau and the Director General of Employment and Training (DGE&T); the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO); and the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. The Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) also collects data on employment through the Economic Census. The current status of data collection prevailing in these agencies is discussed below.
Ministry of Labour
9.4.5 The main agency involved in the collection and compilation of Labour Statistics mainly in the organised sector is the Labour Bureau in the Ministry of Labour. The Labour Bureau collects statistics through statutory and voluntary returns under different Labour Acts (see Annexe 9.4). The State Governments compile such statistics at the State level; the Bureau in turn consolidates them for the country as a whole covering all States and sectors of the economy and brings out periodical reports. It also conducts occasional surveys concerning labour in specific geographic areas or for some specific section of labour. Essentially, these are either to study the socio-economic conditions of labour with a view to formulating policy measures or to assess the impact of labour enactments. The Labour Bureau also undertakes compilation and maintenance of CPI numbers for industrial, agricultural and rural workers.
9.4.6 The data collection mechanism of the Labour Bureau has four components namely,
Data received from the State Labour Departments as by-product of the administration of various Labour Laws;
Data on Labour Statistics collected through the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI), Rural Labour Inquiry, Working Class Family Income and Expenditure Survey, and Rural Retail Prices for Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Rural Labour/Agriculture Labour;
Data received on a voluntary basis from various Government and non-Government agencies, such as data on industrial disputes, retrenchment layoff and closures and price returns for CPI numbers for industrial workers;
Data collected through other field surveys and studies.
9.4.7 The data collected through different means is published in various publications as indicated below:
Publications based on the data collected and compiled through regular and ad hoc surveys:
Annual Survey of Industries;
Rural Labour Enquiry once every five years;
Occupational Wage Surveys (OWS);
Reports on the working and living conditions of various target groups such as socio-economic conditions of women workers and workers belonging to SC/STs, unorganised sector, survey on Labour Conditions and Contract Labour;
Monthly compilation of Index Numbers for Industrial, Agricultural and Rural Workers;
Evaluation study on implementation of the Minimum Wages Act.
Publications based on data collected and compiled through statutory returns
Publications based on data collected and compiled through Voluntary returns:
Trade Union Act, 1926
9.4.8Most of these publications are however, being brought out after a considerable time lag.
Directorate General of Employment and Training
9.4.9 The Directorate General of Employment and Training (DGE&T) in the Ministry of Labour, in its administration of various provisions of the Employment Exchanges (such as Compulsory Notification of Vacancies) Act, 1959 has been collecting statistics on employment and the likely vacancies to occur for the organised sector of economy under the Employment Market Information Programme (EMIP) which covers: (a) all establishments in the public sector (except defence establishments and armed forces, however, the programme covers civilian employees in defence establishments), (b) non-agricultural establishments in the private sector, employing 25 or more persons on a compulsory basis, and establishments having 10-24 workers on a voluntary basis.
9.4.10 The programme was instituted with the objective to provide information at short intervals about the structure of employment in the public and private sectors as also to monitor changes in the levels of employment, disseminating information on types of jobs, extent of demand and qualifications that employers have set so that job seekers are informed of various job requirements. It also serves to provide estimates of the utilisation of labour force in different sectors, industries, occupations, etc. The information is collected through two forms called Employment Return – I (ER-I) and Employment Return – II (ER-II). The form ER- I is a quarterly return containing items on total employment by sex on the last day of the quarter, number of vacancies that occurred and were filled during the quarter with details of occupations for which manpower shortages have been experienced by the establishments. Form ER-II is a biennial return and is used for collection of information on the educational and occupational pattern of employees. The EMIP is the only source of data on the organised sector employment and other details on a regular basis with potential for use in career counselling and vocational guidance, etc.
9.4.11 National Employment Service programme of the DGE&T forms another source of information on unemployment, under which the DGE&T compiles statistics about the number of persons on the Live Register of 954 Employment Exchanges located throughout the country. This data provides an idea of the incidence of unemployment in the country.
9.4.12 The DGE&T brings out a number of publications based on the data collected through the Employment Market Information Programme (EMIP) and the National Employment Service (NES). The data collected through EMIP is disseminated through various publications, which provide estimates of the utilisation of labour force in different sectors, industries, occupations, etc. the excess and shortage of manpower and the present level of employment generation in various industries. The publications of DGE&T include Quarterly Employment Review, Quick Estimates of Employment in the Organised Sector (Quarterly), Employment Review (Annual), Occupational-Educational Pattern of Employees in India (for public sector and private sector in alternate years), Employment Exchange Statistics (Annual), Apprenticeship Training in India (Annual), Census of Central Government Employees (Annual) and Bulletin of Job Opportunities in India (Annual). Most of these publications are however, being brought out with a considerable time lag.
Office of Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India
9.4.13 The Decennial Census conducted by the Office of the Registrar General of India provides data on various characteristics of the labour force once in every 10 years for the entire country. The data so collected on workers are tabulated for main worker and marginal worker under various demographic, social and economic characteristics, which include classification by industrial activity and occupation. The tabulation also gives the spatial distribution of workers by rural/urban residence at National, State and district levels.
National Sample Survey Organisation
9.4.14 The NSSO collects information on certain key parameters of employment and unemployment in its surveys annually and through a comprehensive survey on employment and unemployment quinquennially. The first comprehensive survey on employment and unemployment was carried out during 1972-73 (27th Round). Since then the survey on employment and unemployment has become part of the quinquennial programme of NSSO and so far six such comprehensive surveys have been conducted, the latest being the 55th Round. The NSSO classifies workers by three approaches namely, usual status, current weekly status, and current daily status and further by demographic, social, economic and spatial characteristics. It helps in capturing the prevalence of intermittent work and characteristics of workers in more detail than the Census. Estimates of number employed according to activity status and their social, demographic and economic characteristics are available at the National and State level. Similarly, data for the unemployed is also available by the three approaches and characteristics. The NSSO brings out a number of reports based on these surveys. In the recent past the time lag in the NSSO’s publications has been considerably reduced. The key results of the survey on employment and unemployment for the 55th Round conducted during July 1999 to June 2000 were brought out in December 2000.
Central Statistical Organisation
9.4.15 The Central Statistical Organisation of the Ministry of Statistics & PI conducts Economics Census, which is another source of data on employment. So far four Economics Censuses have been conducted in the years 1977, 1980, 1990 and 1998. The Economics Census covers both agricultural (other than crop production and plantation) and non-agricultural activities and is intended to gather basic information on the number of enterprises and their employment by location, type of activity and nature of operation. It provides information on the number of persons working and the number of hired employees in these enterprises. The all-India provisional results for the Economics Census, 1998 have already been brought out and the final results are expected by June 2001. Most of the States have also brought out State-level reports.
9.4.16 A list of latest publications on Labour and Employment Statistics brought out by various organisations is enclosed as Annexe 9.5
9.4.17 Although Labour Statistics are available from different sources, these suffer from several deficiencies that undermine their utility. There is a considerable time lag in the publication of statistics by various organisations. The deficiencies in the data collected by major agencies are discussed below:
Ministry of Labour
9.4.18The Labour Statistics compiled by the Labour Bureau are of poor quality on account of low response from the primary units and time lag in submission of returns, leading to delay in submission of State level information to the Labour Bureau by the States. Consequently, the publication of consolidated information at the National level by the Labour Bureau gets delayed. The deficiencies are examined below:
Time lag, Poor Quality and Poor Response in Submission of Returns
9.4.19 The data from the primary units are received after a considerable time lag from the due dates, which affects the compilation of data at the State level and consequently at the Central level by the Labour Bureau. The statutory returns submitted by the units under different labour laws are the major source of information. The adequacy and quality of data aggregated at State and all-India level, therefore, are determined by the extent of response by the employers of the various industrial establishments. The response has generally been very low rendering the macro data practically useless for statistical analysis and inference and framing of policies. From the details given in Annexe 9.6, it can be seen that for the year 1998, the response rate under most of the Acts was less than 50 per cent with the exception of Factories Act, 1948 and the Plantation Labour Act, 1951. Even though the submission of returns by the factories or establishments/units to the State Government is obligatory and non-submission may lead to prosecution, very few units are actually prosecuted. Moreover, many primary units have no knowledge even of their statutory obligations to submit returns. Further, the penalties prescribed under the Act are low and do not serve as a deterrent to the defaulters. There is a lack of awareness among the units on the purpose and significance of the data required from them. The data received from the units also suffers from poor quality. Concepts and definitions used, though defined are not understood by poorly trained or untrained staff at the primary units level. The manual data processing and outdated modes of data transmission still continue and most of the State Labour Departments are lagging behind in the use of the Information Technology tools, which can serve to reduce the time lag and improve the quality of data.
9.4.20 Further, the States and UTs also do not submit returns to the Centre required under different Acts every year as per the prescribed time schedule. Annexe 9.7 provides details of response of the States for certain statutory returns for the years 1998 and 1999. It can be seen that the statutory returns under the Trade Union Act, 1926 for the year 1998 (due in September 1999) has not been received from 13 States and UTs. In the case of Minimum Wages Act, 1948 (due in May 1999), it has not been received from 14 States. A similar situation prevails in respect of other Acts as well.
Large Number of Returns Prescribed under Laws
9.4.21 One of the major irritants in data collection and compilation is the requirement on the part of an industrial enterprise to submit a large number of returns under different Labour enactments. This requires huge resources on the part of the unit. Many of them, unless coerced, find it more convenient to default rather than to submit these returns. Most of the returns are complicated and thus, there is a need to simplify and consolidate various returns into a few forms. The complexity of forms and the duplication of same information on a number of forms are the major reasons for both poor response and quality of data being collected as a by-product of Labour Laws.
Limitations of EMIP Data
9.4.22 The data collected through EMIP suffers from following shortcomings:
The EMIP data does not cover employment in the unorganised sector, self-employment, part-time employment, establishments in agriculture and allied occupations in the private sector (which furnish employment returns only on voluntary basis), household establishments and non-agricultural establishment employing less than 10 workers in the private sector, defence forces and Indian embassies and missions abroad;
Incomplete frame of establishments due to lack of periodic updation of employer registers at the local Employment Exchanges;
Poor response from establishments in the frame;
Manual working of most of Employment Exchanges for collection, compilation, consolidation and transmission of data.
9.4.23 Due to these limitations the EMIP figures are gross under-estimates of the employment in the country and it is very difficult to estimate the extent of the under-estimation.
Limitations of Data from National Employment Service
9.4.24 The role of Employment Exchanges in placement services has reduced in recent years due to shrinkage of public sector jobs. Further, the private placement agencies are now performing the role, which was traditionally the monopoly of Employment Exchanges. Data collected through the National Employment Service (NES) programme suffers from following limitations:
Limited role of Employment Exchanges in the placement service;
Incomplete registration of the unemployed;
Continued registration in the unemployment registers of those already employed;
Urban bias as the Employment Exchanges as mostly located in urban areas; and
Non-integration of information with private placement agencies in the National Employment Service.
9.4.25 Due to these limitations the Employment Exchange data on live registers, as an indicator of unemployment in the country, has serious shortcomings.
9.4.26 Census is the only source that gives the distribution of labour force by various categories at the National, State and district levels. The census also provides data on the unemployed defined as; persons who had not worked at all in the reference year and were seeking work throughout the year. The distribution of the unemployed is given by age, sex, education, and rural and urban residence at National, State and district levels. However, the census data have the following limitations, which relate to definition, quality, and conduct of the census as a whole:
The definition of economic activity used in the census included all market and non-market activities except those engaged in: (i) growing of plantation crops, vegetables, flowers and other crops, if done exclusively for home consumption; and (ii) own account production of fixed assets. This was expected to under enumerate workers, particularly the women workers. However, in the Census 2001, the definition of economic activity has been expanded to include most of the items mentioned in (i) above.
The census data are not able to capture the seasonal and intermittent nature of work characteristics of India.
The census defines ‘worker’ somewhat liberally as a person who has worked ‘any time at all’ in the 365 days in market and non-market economic activities.
A major dissatisfaction among the data users is the delayed publication of census results. At the State and UT level, the regional offices tabulate the census data, but they cannot release the results to the public before the all-India tables are released.
National Sample Survey Organisation
9.4.27 Compared to census data, the labour force data from NSSO surveys are available once every five years. Limited data are also available from the annual surveys of NSSO. The NSSO’s definition of work differs from the ILO’s definition in that the NSSO does not recognise processing of primary commodities for home consumption as economic activity. However, the definition is broader than that of the census and more internationally comparable. It gives better estimates of the participation of women in economic activities and also identifies the reasons why women out of the labour force are not able to take up economic work. However, the data suffers from following deficiencies:
The estimates of unemployment reported by NSSO are low because of the definitions and concepts followed in the framework of employment and unemployment;
The NSSO’s tabulation does not provide information on whether the workers in the subsidiary status are so willingly or due to their inability to find work;
The NSSO’s annual thin sample is about 40 per cent of the sample of households in the quinquennial survey. Though the annual and quinquennial surveys follow identical concepts, schedules of quinquennial surveys provide for detailed probing, which is not available in annual rounds. There have been some differences in the estimates thrown by the annual and quinquennial data. NSSO does not give any indication of the reliability of its estimates, some of which may be very unreliable due to poor representation in the sample;
The NSSO surveys have not been able to capture information on the prevalence of child labour adequately.
Variety of Definitions
9.4.28 In the field of labour, a number of laws have been enacted to safeguard the interest of the workers and old laws have either been repealed or have been amended to meet the changing needs of time. In the process of formulation of labour laws, the scope and meaning of important items have been redefined to meet the requirements of the law in question. To quote a few examples terms like ‘child’, ‘family’, ‘wages’ are defined differently in different Acts.(Annexe 9.8) The prevalence of some terms with varying scope pose a problem especially to those filling and submitting the return prescribed under the law. It also leads to confusion among the data users while comparing data from different sources.
Data on Overseas Employment
9.4.29 In recent years, there has been an increasing trend of emigration by skilled manpower to foreign countries. Information on such migrant workers is wholly or partially deficient. Only the migrant workers holding passports marked “Emigration Check Required” are required to obtain a clearance from the Protectorate General of Emigrants (PGOE) and only the information thus collected is compiled by occupation, destination-wise by PGOE. The persons who hold passport but are not required to obtain such a clearance from PGOE, are not covered in the data set. This number is a sizeable proportion of the total migrant workers. A number of registered private placement agencies also provide services for overseas employment. There is need to establish a system of collecting annual information from these placement agencies.
Data Management System on Social Security
9.4.30 The data management system on social security in respect of implementation of the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 and Employees’ State Insurance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 in organisations like ESI, EPF, etc. is grossly outdated. There is an urgent need to introduce a computerised data management system in these organisations.
Data Gaps in Relation to ILO Requirements
9.4.31 India is an active and a founder member of the International Labour Organisation. The ILO has laid down certain standards concerning content and coverage of statistics relating to different subjects through various conventions. The Convention Number 160 lays standards of various kinds of Labour Statistics, which a member country is required to compile and report to the ILO. Data gaps relating to various ILO conventions including Convention Number 160 have been analysed in the Report of the Study Group on Labour Statistics, chaired by Professor L.K. Deshpande and valuable suggestions have been given for bridging the data gaps. The Labour Bureau in consultation with the Ministry of Labour should formulate a plan to meet the requirements of different conventions with priority to the Convention Number 160 for ratifying the same.
Data on Child Labour and Bonded Labour
9.4.32 There are serious data gaps with regard to the prevalence of child labour in the country. The Labour Ministry has been utilising the information on child labour as enumerated by Census and the estimates projected by various NSSO surveys. Both the data have their limitations and are found to be at variance with each other. There is no estimate whatsoever on occupation-wise (primarily hazardous and non-hazardous) and age-wise distribution of child labour. This is a major lacuna in formulating appropriate policies to eradicate this social evil and in providing the child with basic rights. It is very difficult to collect information on bonded labour because it is a punishable offence to keep anybody in bondage. Therefore, there are inherent difficulties in data collection in this area.
Use of Information Technology and Labour Networking
9.4.33 Keeping in view the vastness of the country and the varied sources from which data are to be compiled, transmitted, tabulated and analysed, the manual system of handling data compilation and transmission hitherto in operation has practically broken down and is unable to cope with the size and complexity of data. There is, therefore, a need for massive computerisation of the labour statistics with computer networking so that online data are available at specified points. The computer network should connect various Divisions of Ministry of Labour, Labour and Employment Division of the Planning Commission, the Labour Departments of the State Governments and different Wings of Labour Bureau. This is easily possible given the current state of Information Technology in the country. The Ministry of Labour should take appropriate steps to bring into effect the networking of States and other organisations engaged in labour research and compilation of statistics. Labour networking shall ensure speedier dissemination of data. Whereas, the Labour Bureau has already computerised the processing of data in respect of a number of schemes, the delay in the transmission of data from the field is still a major bottleneck to bring out timely results. It is also essential that the new entrants should be trained in computer usage and those already in service should be trained adequately.
Conclusions And Recommendations
9.4.34 The Labour Statistics in India are largely collected under various labour laws and regulations through the administrative system, even though a large portion of the workforce in India is engaged in agriculture and informal sector. Collection of timely, reliable and adequate data on labour sector and its timely dissemination to users requires immediate attention, to bring desirable improvement in the system and to meet the data requirements of the planners. The Commission therefore recommends:
The inspectors of the Labour Department and Factory Inspectorate, during their routine inspections of the units, should also check the status of submission of returns. The provisions of various Labour Acts should be vigorously implemented and enforced for defaulting units. Further, if required, legal provisions should be strengthened and penalties made more stringent to act as a deterrent. The renewal of licence of the units should be subject to satisfactory submission of returns in the past.
A system of regular meeting of the officials from Government Labour Departments with representatives from business and manufacturers associations should be established. The associations would be instrumental in persuading their member units to submit the returns prescribed under various statutory and other provisions in time. The units submitting the returns should be duly acknowledged.
To make the units aware of their obligation to furnish the returns correctly and in time, periodical notices should be issued in the leading newspapers by the concerned authorities.
The Ministry of Labour should undertake immediate measures to rationalise and simplify returns prescribed under various Acts. Combined returns that cater to the requirements of more than one Act should be designed, to the extent possible, in order to reduce the burden of units/establishments. In a liberalised economic environment, this will be a step forward and will find great favour in the industry. To achieve this, if required, necessary amendments should be brought out in the various Labour Acts. Government of India has set up a Labour Commission and the Ministry of Labour should take up this issue with the Commission.
The Labour Bureau should strengthen its on-going programme for training of staff in collection, compilation and analysis of data received from the State Governments, as well as from the agencies preparing and submitting the returns. The States should also start such training programmes for the staff of units/establishments supplying information/returns to them.
To overcome the problem of non-response from the primary units, a tightening of the administrative machinery is the only solution. However, in respect of those Acts where the degree of non-response is not very high, the Labour Bureau should conduct sample surveys regularly to work out estimates for non-responding units. In cases of very high non-response such as Payment of Wages Act, Minimum Wages Act, Trade Union Act, Motor Transport Workers Act, etc. certain studies on the degree of non-response should be conducted to understand the magnitude of the problem.
For the sake of uniformity in the collection and dissemination of Labour Statistics, it is necessary that the variety of definitions for a single concept be avoided. This issue should also be taken up with the Labour Commission so that the inconsistencies of various definitions used in different Acts could be removed. The Ministry of Labour should take up necessary steps in this direction.
In order to meet the requirements of various International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions, the Labour Bureau should formulate an action plan especially for ILO Convention Number 160, covering Labour Statistics.
There is a need to computerise the working of all organisations engaged in the generation of Labour and Employment Statistics at the Central and State levels. A Labour Information Network integrating all such organisations should be established within the Ministry of Labour for maintenance, coordination and data dissemination.
The statistical system in the Labour Departments in the States should be strengthened from the district level onwards. At the Centre, there is a need for strengthening or establishing statistical units in various divisions/directorates like Child Labour, Directorate General of Factory Advice Services & Labour Institute (DGFASLI), Directorate General of Employment and Training (DGE&T), etc. of the Ministry of Labour. Further, in the Labour Bureau, there is a need for re-structuring of posts between economic and statistical professionals keeping in view the job functions and to meet the growing demand for Labour Statistics. As most of the functions of the Labour Bureau are statistical in nature, the organisation should be headed by a qualified statistician, as was in the past.
The role of Employment Exchange as a placement agency and as a source of labour market information has diluted over the years and needs to be re-established by integrating the labour market information available with private placement agencies along with the Employment Exchanges and making them furnish information on placements, type of jobs, extent of demand, qualifications, industry, etc. A Committee should examine the role of the Employment Exchanges as the source of labour market information and career counselling and how it can work in partnership with private placement agencies.
There are serious shortcomings in the Live Register data of the Employment Exchanges as an indicator of unemployment in the country due to inadequate coverage problems. Therefore, for the purpose of drawing valid conclusions on levels of unemployment, etc., the data on the Live Register of Employment Exchanges should be adjusted and updated annually with the help of ratios/multipliers made available by the labour force survey of the NSSO.
Though the DGE&T makes attempts at collection and analyses of data on the state of the labour market from the information supplied by the Employment Exchanges, the infrastructure available with the Employment Exchanges is inadequate to compile and forward the necessary data to the DGE&T in time. Therefore, it is recommended that, a comprehensive programme of computerisation and networking of all Employment Exchanges in the country, development of required software and appropriate training programmes should be taken up.
The exclusion of certain non-market economic activities, from the definition of work adopted in Population Census could be the reason for the low female participation rates derived from the Census 1991 compared to the rates obtained from National Sample Survey Orgnisation’s (NSSO’s) 50th Round. In order to cross check the data from the two sources, it is recommended that the census should adopt the same definition as that of NSSO. This is important to overcome the criticism of under-count in the census data of women workers, which becomes a serious limitation of its utility as a source of economic data. In the Census, 2001, however, the definition of economic activity adopted has been expanded and modified to reconcile this position.
The current practice of tabulation of Census data by the regional offices should continue. However, in order to make available the State level data to the users early, the practice of withholding the release of tabulated data of the region till the all-India tables are released should be done away with. Further, the latest advances in the technology for data processing, analyses and printing should be utilised so that the delays can be brought down and dissemination of data is improved.
More probing questions from the informants on subsidiary work in NSSO’s quinquennial survey would enable the capturing of information on part-time and intermittent work, which is likely to become very common in the near future.
The NSSO should provide standard error of estimates of employment related variables so that the differences in the estimates projected by annual and quinquennial rounds are explained.
The NSSO classifies an individual who worked for an hour on any day of the reference week as worker by weekly status. To study the intensity of unemployment (or employment) during the reference week, NSSO should publish data on distribution of persons by, number of days at work and total intensity of work during the reference week.
Efforts should be made to compile data on migration of skilled manpower to foreign countries, to capture information on the skills of the emigrant and on the nature of work to which the emigrant is moving out at the place of destination. A system of collecting annual information from the placement agencies for overseas employment should be established to capture this information.
The data management system on social security should be computerised so as to ensure better management of Employees State Insurance (ESI), Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and other social security Acts.
Child labour poses a complicated and a multi-dimensional problem. The time disposition study of young people along with a classification of their activities into economic and non-economic types can give an insight into the dimension of this problem. For this purpose, a methodological study or survey should be conducted to evolve methods for capturing the problems of child labour.
Considering the inherent problems in data collection for bonded labour, as suggested by the L.K. Deshpande Study Group, household surveys should be conducted to ascertain socio-economic circumstances like debt, caste, etc. which lead to the practice of bondage in the areas and activities where there is a tendency to employ bonded labour. The Ministry of Labour should commission such studies in areas and activities prone to bondage.
There is a considerable time lag in the publications on Labour Statistics brought out by various agencies. Efforts should be made by all the concerned agencies to take steps that are necessary to reduce the time lag at all stages of work so that published data are available to the users with a minimum time lag.