Today, after 10 years of UPA-I and UPA-II, we have delivered higher growth rates than any preceeding decade in India's history. The Congress-led UPA has pulled 140 million people out of poverty in the last ten years. The rate of poverty decline has tripled as compared to the preceding decade.
However, recent reports suggest as per projections based on the NSSO data, job creation between 1999-2000 and 2004-05 was around 60 million and between 2004-05 and 2011-12 was around 15 million.
To begin with, it is not entirely accurate to use absolute numbers to compare specificities. NSSO itself notes that population estimation are approximate and it would be more reflective of the trends to consider the ratios, as opposed to absolute numbers which are projected.
Given this, we must ensure that the NSSO data is not selectively interpreted in a misleading manner. The truth is that the NSSO data is reflective of more inclusive, productiveand better paying employment generation. The labour force is more skilled and is contributing more effectively to the unprecedented economic transformation that is unfolding in India.
I. Analysis by the Institute of Applied Manpower Research/ Planning Commission indicates that the employment growth between 2004-05 and 2011-12 was:
1. Driven by construction, manufacturing and services sectors and infrastructure development
2. Indicative of a decrease in the unemployment rate, a sharp contrast to the previous period of 1999-2000 and 2004-05 where there was an increase in unemployment rate
3. Marked by an increase in enrolment of girls in schools that lead to their withdrawal from the workforce
4. Marked by an increase in regular wage employment
II. The NSSO numbers (Table I) indicate a decline in Worker Population Ratio. This decline has actually been in the female workforce, more specifically in the case of rural females in the agriculture sector. Other indicators suggest that this is a positive trend and there is an improvement in the quality of the workforce (more regular wage workers):
'¢ There is a decline in the % of rural casual female workers from 38% to 35% and in the % of urban casual female workers from 20% to 14%, between 2009-10 and 2011-12
'¢ On the other hand there is an increase in % of rural and urban female self-employed workers and salaried employees, between 2009-10 and 2011-12
'¢ The growing school enrolment led to the fall in the female WPR. The primary and secondary enrolment ratio of girls to boys has gone up from 89.96% in 2004 to 98.4% in 2011.
'¢ Female literacy level also saw a significant jump as compared to males. Female literacy increased from 54 % in 2001 to 65 % in 2011. The male literacy, in comparison, rose from 75 % to 82 %.
III. Unemployment rate under the NDA went up from 7.3% in 1999-2000 to 8.3% in 2004-05. Under the UPA, it came down to 5.6% (a substantial decrease of 3%) in 2011-12. This suggests that the movement in the workforce is vertical and females may actually be moving to more lucrative employment categories
IV. The employment from 2005 to 2012 has gone up in the services manufacturing and construction sectors (Table 2). This suggests that the workforce is moving towards higher paying, skilled professions.
Between 2004-05 and 2009-10, the rise in construction employment was much larger than 2000-2005. This increase was driven by infrastructure development in Schemes like PMGSY, highways etc. In the 11th Plan around $500 billion worth of infrastructure development investment was made.
Union Minister for Rural Development