Skip to main content

It's now official: Developed Gujarat's regular, casual workers earn less than 19 top states

Casual labour market in Vadodara, Gujarat
By Rajiv Shah
Though not as low as state chief minister Vijay Rupani claims it to be (0.9%), Gujarat’s unemployment rate, at least as reflected in a recent report released by the Government of India, is 4.8%, lower than the national average, 6%. Yet, ironically, the same report, released soon after the Lok Sabha polls came to an end in May 2019, brings to light an even grimmer reality: Lower wages in "model" and "developed" Gujarat compared to virtually the whole of India, including the so-called Bimaru states.
Published by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, and based on a survey carried out across India between July 2017and June 2018, the report, “Annual Report: Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS)”, suggests that per month average wages or salary earnings for regular employees in Gujarat during April-June 2018 was Rs 14,528.24, which is lower than all major 21 states with the exception of West Bengal (Rs 11,978.99).
Low wages aren't just characteristic of what are called “regular employees”; things are no different with regard to casual labour. Thus, according to the PLFS report, average earnings of a casual worker in Gujarat during April-June 2018 was found to be just Rs 223.57 per day, lower than all major 21 states with the exception of two states -- Chhattisgarh (Rs 189.05) and Maharashtra (Rs 208.88).
The PLFS report finds that, among 21 major states, regular workers’ average wages/salaries per month during April-June 2018 were the highest in Jammu & Kashmir (Rs 21,197), followed by Jharkhand (Rs 20,460), Kerala (Rs 19,433), Haryana (Rs 18,890), Maharashtra (Rs 18,736), and Telangana (Rs 18624). On the other hand, Kerala’s average casual wages per day were found to be the highest in India (Rs 605), followed by J&K (Rs 374), Himachal Pradesh (Rs 365), Telangana (Rs 306), and Tamil Nadu (Rs 331).
The all-India average for the wages/salary earnings of regular earnings is Rs 16,847.65, and for casual workers Rs 270.78, much higher than  Gujarat. Interestingly, while the PLFS report refuses to give any explanation for the reason behind such low wages for both regular and casual workers, the Modi government’s thinktank Niti Aayog asserted in 2017 that while there have been “low and stable rates of unemployment over more than three decades”, the more serious problem, instead, is “severe underemployment.”
Citing acceptance of jobs with poor wages, a report gave anecdotal evidence to prove this. It said. “A recent advertisement for the post of 14 sanitary workers in Tamil Nadu secretariat attracted 4,000 applications, and these included a large number of engineers and MBA graduates. Goutam Das, in his book ‘Jobonomics’, estimates that India would have as many as 20 crore underemployed people with ‘bad jobs’ or no jobs by 2025.”
Taking a more focused view, the world’s top consultants, McKinsey, has suggested that low official unemployment rate “hides the fact that India has a huge army of underemployment”, pointing out, in India’s context “unemployment is not really an option”, and here “entering the informal sector as a worker is the norm.”
“Some 86% of India’s workforce is employed in the informal sector, and more than 90% is in informal employment”, the McKinsey Global Institute report says, underlining, “Rarely would a poor rural boy who had dropped out of school remain ‘unemployed’ – he would typically be put to ‘work’ on his family’s small piece of land or would lend a hand at the local kirana shop owned by his uncle.”
Not without reason, the data provided by the PLFS report, too, suggest that among the poorer sections very few poorer were “unemployed” compared to those who were educated, whether in Gujarat or in India. Thus, among those identified as “not literate” in the survey, just 1% reported as having been unemployed in Gujarat and 1.2% all-India. As for those educated up to primary level, the survey found 1.7% unemployment rate in Gujarat and 2.7% all-India.
On the other hand, in Gujarat, the unemployment rate among those who are finished higher secondary is 6.3%, those with diploma or certificate course a whopping 22.6%, among graduates 8.7%, and among post-graduates and above 10.8%. One witnesses a similar trend all-India: 10.3 among those who have finished higher secondary, it is 19.8% among those who have diploma or certificate courses, 17.2% among graduates, and 14.6% among post-graduates and above.
While it is a mystery what percentage of people in Gujarat, or for that matter in India, are underemployment, according an expert definition, “Underemployment refers to people who are working in a lower capacity than they are qualified for, including in a lower-paid job or for fewer hours than they would like to work. It’s different from unemployment in that the person is in fact, working, just not as much as they’d like or to the full extent of their abilities, skills, or education.”

Comments

Peter Thompson said…
Brilliant work!
sanu said…
Unemployment will rise further as market is floor with poor quality candidates
Uma said…
It is more important to look after cows than to worry about unemployed youth

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

BSF should take full responsibility for death of 4 kids in West Bengal: Rights defender

By Kirity Roy*  One is deeply disturbed and appalled by the callous trench-digging by BSF in Chetnagachh village under Daspara Gram Panchayat, Chopra, North Dinajpur District, West Bengal that has claimed the lives of four children. Along the entire stretch of Indo-Bangladesh border of West Bengal instead of guarding the actual border delineated by the international border pillars, BSF builds fences and digs trenches well inside the Indian territory, passing through villages and encroaching on private lands, often without due clearance or consent. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

How GMOs would destroy non-GMO crops: Aruna Rodrigues' key submissions in SC

Counterview Desk The introduction of Bt and HT crops will harm the health of 1 billion Indians and their animals, believes Aruna Rodrigues, who has made some 60 submissions to the Supreme Court (SC) during the last 20 years. As lead petitioner who filed Public Interest Litigation in 2005, during a spate of intense hearings, which ended on 18 January 2024, she fought in the Apex Court to prevent the commercialization of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Indian agriculture. 

Social justice day amidst 'official neglect' of salt pan workers in Little Rann of Kutch

By Prerana Pamkar*  In India’s struggle for Independence, the Salt Satyagraha stands as a landmark movement and a powerful symbol of nonviolent resistance. Led by Mahatma Gandhi, countless determined citizens walked from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in Gujarat. However, the Gujarat which witnessed the power of the common Indian during the freedom struggle is now in the throes of another significant movement: this time it is seeking to free salt pan workers from untenable working conditions in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK).

Jallianwala massacre: Why Indian govt hasn't ever officially sought apology from UK

By Manjari Chatterjee Miller*  The king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, apologized in July 2023 for his ancestors’ role in the colonial slave trade. He is not alone in expressing remorse for past wrongs. In 2021, France returned 26 works of art seized by French colonial soldiers in Africa – the largest restitution France has ever made to a former colony. In the same year, Germany officially apologized for its 1904-08 genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia and agreed to fund reconstruction and development projects in Namibia. .

Corporatizing Indian agriculture 'to enhance' farmer efficiency, market competitiveness

By Shashank Shukla*  Today, amidst the ongoing farmers' protest, one of the key demands raised is for India to withdraw from the World Trade Organization (WTO). Let us delve into the feasibility of such a move and explore its historical context within India's globalization trajectory.

Interpreting UAPA bail provisions: Is Supreme Court setting the clock back?

By Kavita Srivastava*, Dr V Suresh** The Supreme Court in its ruling on 7th February, 2024 in   `Gurvinder Singh v State of Punjab’ held that its own well-developed jurisprudence that "Bail is the rule and jail the exception" will not apply to those charged under the UAPA.

A 'distorted narrative' of Indian politics: Congress failing to look beyond LS polls

By Prem Singh*  About 15 days ago, I told a senior journalist friend that there are not even two   months left for the Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi is roaming around on a delectation (tafreeh). The friend probably found my comment exasperating and replied that he is not on a delectation trip. The conversation between us on this topic ended there. 

Livelihood issues return to national agenda ahead of LS polls: SKM on Bharat Bandh

Counterview Desk  Top farmers' network, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has claimed big success of Grameen Bharat Bandh and industrial /sectoral strikes, stating, the “struggle reflected anger of farmers, workers and rural people across India”, adding, the move on February 16 succeeded in bringing back peoples’ livelihood issues in the national agenda just ahead of the general election to the Lok Sabha.