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Documenting Challenges

Sona Mitra

Academic Foundation , Institute for Human Development, New Delhi, 2014, pp. 248, Rs. 2200.00


The ILER, 2014 is the first report of its kind which focuses exclusively on the issues of labour market, livelihoods and employment outcomes for India. It relies mainly on secondary information on employment and unemployment trends provided by the Ministry of Statistics and Implementation, Government of India, specifically on the employment–unemployment estimates provided in the National Sample Survey estimates. Apart from providing a wealth of statistical information on employment outcomes in India for the last three decades, the Report also gives a comprehensive review of the structure of labour markets, conditions of employment and the impact of government policies on the labour market in globalizing India. The Report highlights the challenges for the labour market in India and recognizes the complexities involved in generating employment under the current policy regime. The Report unlike other reports discusses the relationship between economic growth and employment in details in a full chapter. It hails the growth performance of the Indian economy since the latter part of the 1990s and thereafter; it also reiterates the argument of high economic growth not resulting in significant transformation of the labour market in India and a consequent noninclusive growth process. The Report recognizes the several dualisms operating within the Indian labour markets and layers of segmentation of the labour market in terms of region, religion, gender, caste, location and so on. However, the findings focus a lot on the increasing trends of informalization of labour markets with a simultaneous increase in flexible labour arrangements, leading to an increased number of contract workers. The Report further explores the issue of access, inclusion and exclusion of the marginalized sections of the population from the labour market by socio-religious as well as regional categories. Highlighting the peculiarities of Indian employment trends it draws attention to the issue of low representation of women workers in the total workforce in India. The findings of the Report emphasize that while on the one hand India’s contribution to the global labour supply has been growing substantially in the last decade, on the other, women workers are not only under-represented but their participation has been declining. It also attributes the factor of lesser participation of women in economic activities as one of the major reasons for India’s overall low labour force participation at 56 percent for the age group 15–59 years compared to the global average of 64 percent. While there is no separate chapter on ...

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