- The participants heard eight country papers from the representatives of Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, India, Mexico. Sri Lanka and Turkey. The meeting also considered four papers on selected topics prepared by the Indian delegation to the meeting viz.
- Informal Sector in the Indian National Accounts Statistics
- Survey on small trading units - an Alternative Approach
- Informal Sector in the Indian context and
- Informal Sector contribution-Report on NCAER SEWA workshop, held in New Delhi during March 31-April 2, 1997
- The participants noted the fact that the informal economy in Australia was insignificant The Australian country paper highlighted general issues. Such as data collection strategies. Sampling design Optimum time lag between listing operation and detailed canvassing, level of disaggregation of data, gender issues. Child labour etc. It was suggested the Delhi Group might take up such issues in its future deliberations. The paper also suggested that the phenomenon of under-reporting was not peculiar to the Informal Sector but was also prevalent in the formal sector needs to be tackled through intensive surveys to be designed specifically for the purpose.
- The representative of Bangladesh mentioned that in his country, surveys on informal sector have not been conducted as yet but the country is willing to take up surveys with the support of International Agencies/development partners. The participants noted that in Bangladesh the contribution of informal sector to the GDP is substantial, may be, more than one third.
- The participants heard the Brazilian experience in developing a pilot survey for the informal sector of the economy. The scope of the pilot survey conducted in Brazil covered only Rio de Janeiro. The operational definition of the informal sector adopted in Brazil covered only the urban area. The representative of Brazil explained the important methodological aspects of the survey and main problems faced in the development of the pilot survey. She also mentioned that a first national survey of the informal economy, covering all urban areas, would be conducted at the end of 1997.
- The representative of Colombia in his presentation mentioned that in his country once in two years a module on informal sector employment was attached to the quarterly National Household Survey undertaken in ten metropolitan areas. The Informal Sector generated a significant share of employment in Colombia. The country observed intensive mobilization of the Informal Sector units Non-response rate was reported to be very high in Colombia.
- The representative of Mexico mentioned that these surveys have been conducted four times in Mexico. The employment size criterion was adopted to define the Informal Sector. The results of the Informal Sector surveys have however, not been utilized in the National Accounts Statistics of Mexico so far.
- The representative from Sri Lanka gave a detailed account of the methodological aspects of Surveys on Household Economic activities which cover a substantial portion of the Informal Sector in Sri Lanka He also presented a brief account of the Household Survey conducted by his country, such as Quarterly Labour Force Survey. Household Income and Expenditure Survey which are being used for poverty analysis pertaining to different socio-economic groups.
- The representative from Turkey presented a brief accounts of activities of the State Institute of Statistics on Informal Sector giving details on household labour force surveys. Establishment based approaches, and three types of tax payments practiced in Turkey which provided frames for such surveys. It was suggested to spell out the clear-cut boundary of the informal sector activity.
- In one of the four Indian papers, the recent efforts made by the National Sample Survey Organization in India for an alternative approach to estimate the trade margins and value added of the Informal Sector enterprises engaged in trading activity was described. The results were not encouraging but further studies were continuing. The participants observed that the basic thrust of the paper needed deeper perusal by the Delhi Group.
- The participants noted the recommendations of the Workshop on Informal Sector organized by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and Self-employed Womens Association (SEWA) held at New Delhi during 31st March-2nd April 1997. This Seminar had special concern for the adequate estimation of contribution of women in the GDP.
Country papers / Experiences