Over 50% Working-Age Population Not in India’s Labour Force: NSSO
Unemployment in 2017-2018 among the labour force was 6.1%, the highest level in India after 1972-1973.
Unemployment in 2017-2018 among the labour force was 6.1%, the highest level in India after 1972-1973.(Photo: Arnica Kala/The Quint)

Over 50% Working-Age Population Not in India’s Labour Force: NSSO

Over half of India’s working-age population (15 years and above) is not contributing to any economic activity, as per an unemployment survey carried out by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO).

The labour force participation rate (the share of population working or available for work) was 49.8 percent in 2017-18, falling sharply from 55.9 percent in 2011-12, according to survey figures quoted by a Business Standard report.

The findings of this survey had allegedly been withheld by the government, sparking a row amid Opposition protests. Two senior members of the Statistics Commission had also quit in protest.

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"It's a serious cause of worry as you are unable to utilise the demographic dividend factor – especially keeping in mind the fact that 65 percent of the population is in the working age group," Radhika Kapoor, fellow, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, told Business Standard.

Between 2011-12 and 2017-18, the proportion of the active labour force declined twice for females. In the same time period, the LFPR for females fell by eight percentage points to 23.3 percent, the survey revealed.

In comparison, the LFPR for males was down four percentage points to 75.8 percent in 2017-18. This shows that only about 25 percent of India's females were actively working or seeking jobs in 2017-18.

The NSSO report, that came to the fore recently, has revealed that India’s unemployment rate was at a 45-year high of 6.1 percent during 2017-18, according to Business Standard.

The report has been at the centre of controversy since two National Statistical Commission (NSC) members, including the acting chairperson, resigned on Monday, 28 January.

The two had alleged that the government was preventing the release of this report despite the approval of the NSC.

The unemployment rate in India was at its highest in 2017-18 since 1972-73 which is from when the data about jobs is comparable.

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(With inputs from Business Standard)

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