Job creation dropped by 1.73 percent in February to 15.03 lakh compared to 15.30 lakh in the same month last year, according to the latest payroll data released by the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).
In his responses to criticism about the government’s poor record in employment creation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi would often cite two data sources that would show the government in better light — the Employment Provident Fund Organisation data and the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation data. In all instances, the data would be the government’s biggest defence of its poor jobs record. This is the first instance in recent months when even ESIC data has yielded unfavourable employment creation numbers.
The ESIC has been releasing payroll data from April 2018, covering the period starting September 2017. It provides health insurance and medical services to insured persons covering all those establishments which have 20 or more workers and all those employees whose monthly wages are up to Rs 21,000.
The data showed that during September 2017 to February 2019, nearly 3 crore new subscribers joined the ESIC scheme.
According to the data, the gross new subscribers addition remained the highest at 19.81 lakh in July 2018. The data also showed that 2.34 lakh women subscribers joined the ESIC scheme in February 2019 while around 12.69 men enrolled under the scheme.
The number of subscribers of Employees State Insurance (ESI) scheme also gives an idea of the level of employment in the formal sector.
However, contrary to the ESIC data, the retirement fund body EPFO’s latest payroll data showed that net employment generation in the formal sector almost trebled to 8.61 lakh in February compared to 2.87 lakh in the same month of last year.
The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation has also been releasing payroll data from April 2018, covering the period starting September 2017.
According to the latest data, the highest job creation was recorded in January 2019 at 8.94 lakh against the provisional estimate of 8.96 lakh released last month.
During February 2019, the highest number of 2.36 lakh jobs were created in the 22-25 years age group, followed by 2.09 lakh in the 18-21 years age bracket.
The data showed that 80.86 lakh new jobs were created in the 18 months period from September 2017 to February 2019.
(With PTI inputs)