The stringent lockdown, that was in effect across the nation last year when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the nation with its first wave in April-June 2020, caused a significant blow to the nation’s employment rate. Recent data released by the Union Labour Minister in the Lok Sabha revealed the exact extent of the loss sustained by the pandemic to the Indian job market in its initial phase. The Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) Quarterly bulletin April-June 2020 points out that urban unemployment rate rose as high as 20.8 per cent during the time period.
“As per the PLFS Quarterly bulletin April-June 2020, quarterly unemployment rate (in %), as per Current Weekly Status (CWS) in urban areas for persons of age 15 years and above in the country to the extent available for the quarter ending July-Sep 2019, Oct-Dec 2019, Jan-March 2020 and April-June 2020 were 8.3, 7.8, 9.1 and 20.8 per cent respectively,” Bhupender Yadav, Minister of Labour and Employment, announced in the Lok Sabha. The Ministry, however, said that the exact extent of unemployment in India can only be assessed when the data for the entire year for both urban and rural areas is released.
Bhupender Yadav also said that the pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns have affected economies across the globe. However, according to him, the Government has taken several initiatives to address the challenges posed by the pandemic. Further, he highlighted that the Government is providing a fiscal stimulus of more than Rs 27 lakh crore as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat financial package in a bid to revive the job market.