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Govt committee wants to do away with quarterly job surveys

PW Bureau 

The committee submitted its report to Labour and Employment Minister this week, saying Labour Bureau’s surveys were unfinished and had “quality issues” New Delhi: Citing poor quality and coverage of work, a government-appointed panel has suggested putting an end to quarterly surveys on jobs provided by the Labour Bureau. Instead, the team led by former chief statistician TCA Anant recommended improving the Labour Bureau’s quarterly enterprises surveys (QES) so that an Employment Index can be formed on the lines of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
The panel, which also comprised former chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian, was tasked to recommend if the Labour Bureau-produced QES is “relevant in the present circumstances especially after monthly payroll data.”
The committee, which was formed last year by the government on the advice of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), submitted its report to Labour and Employment Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar this week. It said that the Labour Bureau’s surveys were unfinished and had “quality issues.” The PMO’s office made its suggestion following their release of monthly payroll data from Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), and others to give job estimates. The panel, which also comprised former chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian, was tasked to recommend if the Labour Bureau-produced QES is “relevant in the present circumstances especially after monthly payroll data.” “It is clear that the QES dataset is incomplete and due to coverage and quality issues should not be continued in its present form to generate estimates at the national level. The QES should be discontinued henceforth,” the panel’s report stated. The committee said that the review “raises a number of questions about the quality of data collected under the Labour Bureau’s QES.” The panel assessed the employees’ records surveyed by QES and mapped it with the EPFO subscribers and found “unexplained variations” between the two. The Anant-led panel added that an Employment Index can be formed if there is enough improvement in collecting, sampling and framing the Labour Bureau’s QES.