64% of even non-farm jobs informal in 2020-21: Survey

NEW DELHI: Only 6.3% of males from rural areas worked as legislators, senior officials and managers while 3.2% women from rural backgrounds figured among such occupations, the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) for 2020-21 has shown.In urban areas it was 18.1% for males and 12.2% for females. In the category of professionals, 1.9% were from rural areas for males. For females it was a higher share at 3.2%.

The annual PLFS report covers both rural and urban areas whereas the quarterly bulletin is for urban centres. The PLFS report provides a glimpse into the jobs situation, working conditions and remunerations across rural and urban centres. It was launched in 2017 as part of efforts to get a better sense of the job situation and provide reliable and timely data.

Highlighting the working conditions, the survey showed that 65.2% of male employees in the non-agriculture sector had no formal contract, and for females it was 61.5%. Overall 64.3% of them had no job contract. The results of the survey also showed that 47.9% of workers were not eligible for paid leave. For males it was at 49.3%, and for females it was estimated at 43.7%. In terms of any form of social security, 53.8% of workers did not have it.

Among males it was 53.1%, and for women it was 55.8%. Experts attribute the lack of social security and formal jobs contracts to the impact of the pandemic, which ushered in informality in jobs. However, past data also suggests that the problem had existed before as well and there is need for reforms to ensure improvement in working conditions across segments.

“It’s important to remind ourselves that we walked into Covid with over 88% informality in our workforce, which means vulnerable work conditions and no contracts. Towards the beginning of the last financial year there have been opportunities. It led to increase in informality, as happens during any economic and social crisis,” said Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder and executive director Teamlease, one of the largest staffing companies in the country.

“However if the rules for the four labour codes get notified and states fall in line, we can see the emerging impact of greater formalisation for both male and female workforce,” said Chakraborty.