It is imperative to rectify stark gender and educational disparities in workforce, revealed by NSO Survey
There is an urgent need to rectify the anomalies to help women and lesser-educated and skilled people to get or remain in job in the post-COVID-19 world of work which is in rapid transition
Disparities among the Indian workforce are stark. Gender and educational inequalities are alarming. This has come to light in the Annual Bulletin on Additional Indicators based on data collected in Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), July 2019-June 2020 released recently, which it could not conceal despite tampering with definitions, and providing data on only usual status that does not reveal the current status on the ground.
The world of work has changed after the COVID-19 pandemic, in which companies tend to increasingly adopt automation, digitalization, and certain other measures that go against the workers having lesser level of education and skills. Moreover, women workers are worst sufferers, first on account of their gender and secondly due to low level of education and skills.
The data has also revealed great regional disparities along with the stark inequalities at the national level. There is an urgent need to rectify the anomalies across the country to help women and lesser-educated and skilled people to get or remain in job in the post-COVID-19 world of work which is in rapid transition.
The National Statistical Office (NSO) has made several changes in making this bulletin which conceals the ground realities though it emphasizes “the importance of availability of labour force data at more frequent time interval”. However, it does not provide the more correct “current weekly status” (CWS).
The definition regarding secondary education has been tampered with to include even middle school education, just to increase the number of workers having successfully completed secondary education. It may serve the purpose of the government to present a rosier picture since the data is intimately connected to Gender Inequality Index, Global Gender Gap Index, and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), but it is rank dishonesty.
Let it be so. Even the data presented on this basis presents alarming situation on the ground, since the percentage of the population of age 25 years and above with at least secondary education as the highest level of education successfully completed is only 49.3 per cent in the country out of which males are 58.7 per cent and females 40.1 per cent. Males and females in rural areas are 51.1 and 30.7 per cent while in urban areas their percentages are 74.4 and 59.6.
Among states and UTs, Nagaland is at the top with 78.6 per cent of workers having ‘secondary’ education, followed by Mizoram at 77.2 per cent, Chandigarh 73.9 per cent, Manipur 72.7 per cent, Puducherry 72.2 per cent, Delhi 72.1 per cent, Kerala 71.3 per cent, and Lakshadweep 70.7 per cent. Bihar is at the bottom with only 37.7 per cent, just below Andhra Pradesh with 38.1 per cent of such workforce.
The gender gap is even more stark when we consider the labour force of age 15-64 years in usual status (principal status+subsidiary status) (ps+ss). Females are only 28.2 per cent of the total workforce in the country, out of which 30.1 per cent in the rural areas and 23.6 per cent in urban areas. This reveals how much we have ‘achieved’ in the realm of financial independence of women or women empowerment which is always being tom-tommed by the government.
Among states and UTs, the gender gap in 15-64 age group is worst in Bihar with only 11.2 per cent women in total workforce, just below Delhi at 15.5, Haryana 16.7, and Uttar Pradesh 18.8 per cent. Even the best performing state, Himachal Pradesh, has only 46 per cent women in their workforce, followed by Chhattisgarh at 40.2 and Sikkim at 39.9 per cent.
The ratio of female workers to male workers in usual status working as legislators, senior officials and managers are even worse. At all India level, it is only 23.2 per cent, in rural areas 27.4 and in urban area 19.7 per cent. The best performing state in this regard is Manipur with 51.8 per cent, followed by Meghalaya at 51.7, and Sikkim at 50.4 per cent. The worst performing state is Assam with only 6.2, Haryana 7.7, and Delhi 9.2 per cent of women working in this capacity as compared to men.
The ratio of female workers to male workers in usual status working as professionals and technical workers in the country is 50.1 per cent, out of which 48.5 per cent are in rural areas and 51.1 per cent are in urban areas. The best performing state in this regard is Sikkim with 120.2 per cent, followed by Daman & Diu with 110.7, and Meghalaya 101.5 per cent.
Among all states and UTs, Ladakh is the worst performing area with 16.6 per cent, just below Jharkhand 23.1, and Bihar 26.2 per cent.
The ratio of female workers to total workers in usual status working in managerial positions in the country is 18.7 per cent, out of which 21.4 per cent are in rural areas and 16.4 per cent are in urban areas. The worst performing states and UTs in this regard are Assam at 6.9 per cent, Haryana 7.5, Delhi 7.9, Jammu & Kashmir 9.2, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands 9 per cent. The Best performing states are Meghalaya with 34.1, Sikkim 33.5, Mizoram 33.3, Andhra Pradesh 32.3, and Punjab 32.1 per cent.
The ratio of female workers to total workers in usual status working in senior and middle management are 18.8 per cent in the country, out of which 21.5 per cent are in rural areas and 16.5 per cent in urban areas. With only 5.8 per cent women in these position Assam is the worst performing state. Haryana with 7.2, Delhi 8.4, Andaman & Nicobar Island 9.2, and Jammu & Kashmir 9.4 per cent women in these positions are among the worst performing states.
The best performing states are Meghalaya and Manipur with 34.1 each, Sikkim 33.5, Andhra Pradesh 32.4, and Punjab 32.1 per cent women employed in these positions.
Views are personal