Amidst the second wave of the pandemic, the Indian government has stalled the surveys, based on which the National Employment Policy (NEP) was to be formulated. As per the original plan, the Ministry of Labour and Employment was to roll out the NEP by December 2021, post implementation of the four labour codes, and completion of the four new first-time surveys — which were to begin in March and end in October —on domestic and migrant workers, as well as jobs created by the transport sector and professionals. However, the quarterly employment survey (QES) will be done online.
This online QES is expected to be expanded beyond the normal this time, to also cover the effects of the pandemic on jobs in India.
Interestingly, the quarterly employment survey is being revived after four years and the report will be made available in two months’ time.
As for the stalled surveys, with mobility restrictions in place across the country, it will be a challenge for surveyors to visit houses, offices and establishments. Once the pandemic subsides and normalcy returns, work on the four key surveys will resume. In fact, some parts of the four key surveys may require to be revisited in light of the unexpected surge in COVID cases that has impacted all sectors, some more and some less.
A thorough study of the labour market, including gig workers, was thought to be necessary to come up with a comprehensive employment policy for the formal and informal sectors and formulate adequate social security and welfare measures.