India’s rapid economic growth has reduced extreme poverty in the country. Between 1983 and 2012, average real wages grew more than 3% annually. However, for the almost 460 million working-age Indians — poised to become the world’s largest labour force by 2030 — huge employment deficits still remain. Most of their jobs are casual and have low productivity; almost 60% of Indian workers are still considered poor.
While skilled workers have joined the ranks of a booming middle-class in some advanced sectors of the economy, and opportunities for regular formal employment are increasing, the benefits of these gains are only enjoyed by a minority of Indians. They reveal widening inequality and the fragility of India’s social protection.
The India Labour and Employment 2014 Report takes stock of India's labour markets, examining the progress that reforms have delivered as well as the deep challenges ahead. The report’s central message is that India needs a responsive, fair, and comprehensive labour and employment policy for sustainable and inclusive development.
At the Delhi launch of the report, Jairam Ramesh, the Union Minister of Rural Development responsible for India's social protection program the National Rural Employment Guarantee (one of the world’s largest), agreed that India has under-performed on the job front. “Jobs are generated by entrepreneurs, not by the government, and here is where India needs to focus,” he remarked.
The report was produced by a team of scholars from the Institute for Human Development (IHD) and the Indian Society of Labour Economics, led by principal author and general editor Alakh N. Sharma, with financial support from IDRC.
Arjan de Haan, of IDRC's Employment and Growth program, praised the report’s identification of the astonishing realities and opportunities facing India's labour market, and how they highlight the urgent need for job creation in and by the private sector.
The Institute for Human Development is a non-profit organization established with the support of the Indian Society of Labour Economics. The institute has emerged as an important centre for the study of human development and labour issues.
Read the full report