Two Color Interior
Rapid economic growth in India over the last quarter century has reduced extreme poverty and modestly improved the quality of life of a large segment of the population. However, large employment deficits remain: most jobs created are of poor quality and low productivity in the informal economy. Further, the gains from growth have been distributed unevenly. Growing inequalities and vulnerabilities have generated widespread insecurity of livelihoods and highlighted weaknesses in prevailing social protection systems.
This Report is the first of a series of biennial publications by the Institute for Human Development and the Indian Society of Labour Economics. It provides an overview of the labour market and employment outcomes that the Indian economy has delivered as it globalized. It concludes that structural changes are slow and difficult, and the potential for equitable growth remains unrealized, hampered by policy inertia, resistance from social and economic interests and rigidities of existing systems and perspectives. The Report assesses the gains and losses for labour in the first round of globalization. It reveals many markers of progress as well as deep challenges. Effective, responsive, fair and comprehensive labour and employment policy is vital for sustainable and inclusive development. That is the central message of this Report.
In presenting an updated review of the employment and labour market situation with clarity and analytical rigour this Report will be invaluable to government, policy makers and experts. It will facilitate in realizing the objective of high, sustainable and equitable growth which India has set for itself, for the creation of remunerative, productive and decent employment as the most effective means of achieving this goal.
— Rashid Amjad Director,
Graduate Institute of Development Studies,
Lahore School of Economics and Former Chief Economist,
Pakistan Planning Commission.
Recent employment trends in India raise many momentous issues—the sluggish growth of real wages, the continued exclusion of women, and the limited reach of workers’ organizations, among others. This Report will be of great value in bringing these issues closer to the centre of attention in economic policy, public debates and democratic politics.
— Jean Drèze
Honorary Professor, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi.
To understand labour worldwide, we must understand India, with its huge growing workforce, many self-employed or working in the informal sector. The India Labour and Employment Report offers an invaluable picture of the Indian labour scene. I learned much from this edition and look forward to future editions. Required reading for labour and development specialists.
— Richard Freeman
Herbert Ascherman Professor of Economics,
Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA.
This excellent Report presents comprehensive and well organized information on labour and employment in India, as well as a balanced discussion of achievements and policy challenges. It will prove essential reading for researchers and policymakers alike.
— Ravi Kanbur
Professor of Economics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
The fact that most Indians still work in low-productivity occupations at very low incomes and lack access to social protection poses major challenges for the country’s development… By carefully disaggregating the diverse experience of working Indians, the Report identifies areas for action that could make economic growth more inclusive and distribute opportunity more broadly.
— Sandra Polaski
Deputy Director General, International Labour Office, Geneva.
Based on latest data, the India Labour and Employment Report succinctly brings out the emerging pattern of labour market outcomes and challenges of employment. Its emphasis on creating more employment in the organized sector and enhancing the productivity and income of workers in the unorganized sector will facilitate the gradual formalization of the workforce—a dire need of the country. The Report will be very useful for all those concerned and engaged with the inclusive development agenda.
— Abhijit Sen
Member, Planning Commission, Government of India, New Delhi.
The India Labour and Employment Report is a landmark undertaking. It collects together diverse information on the state of Indian labour markets… Its emphasis on the development of the manufacturing sector as being the key to economic develop-ment of the country, is particularly welcome—as is the stress on inclusive growth. It’s a must-read addition to the literature on labour economics in the Indian context.
— Ajit Singh
Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Cambridge, UK.
The Institute for Human Development (IHD), a leading centre for studies on labour markets, livelihoods and human development, aims to contribute to the building of a society that fosters and values and inclusive social, economic and political system, free from poverty and deprivations. Towards achieving its goal, it engages in analytical and policy research, teaching and training, academic and policy debates, networking with other institutions and stakeholders, and publication and dissemination of the results of its activities. The major themes of current work of IHD are: growth and employment; education and capabilities; health and nutrition; gender and development; security and vulnerability; governance and institutions.
The Indian Society of Labour Economics (ISLE) is a broad-based professional association of researchers, scholars and other stakeholders interested in the areas of labour and development issues. The Society promotes scientific studies of labour markets, industrial relations and related issues and provides a forum for exchange of ideas and dissemination of knowledge. The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, a quarterly Journal of the Society, now in its 56th year of publication, is peer reviewed and widely-circulated, promoting and featuring scientific studies on labour issues.