COVID-19: Four key surveys on migrants, domestic workers, jobs created by the transport sector, and the employment potential of professionals, have been suspended by the central government in light of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is likely to delay the national employment policy which would have been based on these surveys.
The government will proceed with the fifth survey—the quarterly employment survey (QES). Unlike in past years though, this survey will be conducted online.
These surveys are important as they can provide a holistic picture of the employment market, and the socioeconomic condition of migrant and informal workers. However, government officials said that with lockdowns and curfews across the country, surveyors will find it difficult to meet the respondents at homes, offices, and worksites. They also added that the surveys will be restarted once the situation improves.
The national surveys which are designed and implemented by the Labour Bureau in consultation with an expert committee, might have to be reworked considering the change in ground realities owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the case of the QES—which is a physical establishment-based survey cutting across companies and industries, the survey is being administered after a gap of four years. The results for this will be released by July-end.
The national jobs and social-economic survey results were expected to form the base of the national employment policy being considered by the government, along with the four labour codes by the Parliament in 2020.
“We have put the four surveys on hold as the surging COVID-19 makes it almost impossible to do the household surveys. We are talking to our expert committee on how to incorporate the new realities in these surveys. It’s a difficult situation, and sending our field workers to houses and offices will have a huge implication on their health and well-being. Second, no one will entertain surveyors at their homes during a second wave,” said D P S Negi, Director General, Labour Bureau, and Chief Labour Commissioner.
He also added that they hope to restart the process in a couple of months once the situation improves. The initial survey was to have been released by November 2021.
Read this article to understand how rural India can respond to the second wave effectively.