Article Title: Informal jobs are the new norm, not the exception

 

Article Summary

 
The article focuses on the structural and deep- rooted challenge of the dominance of informal employment. The National Sample Survey’s (NSS) last employment-unemployment survey (2011-12) showed that 92% of India’s workforce is informally employed. More recently, ILO (International Labor Organization) provided comparable estimates on the size of informal economy where it was found 88.2% of employment in India was informal significantly higher than global 60%. Informal employment leaves workers vulnerable to health hazards, economic downturns and natural catastrophes. ILO estimates 3 out of 4 workers in India will fall in the category of vulnerable employment by 2019.

It was expected that traditional informal sector would be absorbed by the modern sector with robust economic growth. New jobs being created are also non-standard in nature i.e. they don’t fall inside the ambit of laws and regulations covering minimum wages and other benefits. Thus as old forms of informal employment persist new forms are also emerging. The reality is that the informal economy is increasingly the norm, not the exception. That formal jobs need to be created is indisputable but this cannot be achieved by mandating a 10% quota in govt. jobs for economically weaker sections when the pool of govt. jobs is shrinking.

The article also states that real policy change would be improving the quality of informal work. Social security benefits need to be provided to informal workers and traditional employee-employer relationships need to be re-examined. The conclusion is that the lack of data can no longer be cited as an excuse to avoid confronting the fact that new strategies need to be identified for the organization of informal workers.

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Words to learn from this Article:

Echelon: level, stratum
Quinquennial: recurring every 5 years
Precarious: unstable, insecure
Multipronged: having several distinct aspects or elements

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