NSSO report shows more than half of India’s working-age population out of labour force


According to the National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO) periodic Labour Force Survey Report for 2017-18, more than half of India’ working-age population (15 years and above) is out of labour force, Business Standard  reported on Monday.

This means that more than half of the population is not contributing to India’s economic activity at all.

The survey shows that the labour force participation rate (LFPR), part of the population working or looking out for jobs, has taken a sharp fall from  55.9% in 2011-12 to 49.8% in 2017-18.

63.7% of the population was part of the labour force more than a decade ago, in 2004-05.

According to the survey report, only about a quarter of women are either working or looking out for jobs, and that their number in the working force declined twice between 2011-12 and 2017-18.

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A fall by around eight percentage points to 23.3% in 2017-18 was seen in the labour force participation rate for women, whereas for men, it fell by four percentage points to 75.8%.

Similarly, in the case of rural and urban areas, the decline in labour force participation rate was higher in rural regions. It fell from 67.7% to 58.7% in rural areas and from 49.3% to 47.6% in urban areas.

The labour force participation rate of women in rural areas fell by over 11 percentage points whereas it stayed the same at 20.4% in urban areas.

“It’s a serious cause of worry as you are unable to utilise the demographic dividend factor – especially keeping in mind the fact that 65% of the population is in the working age group,” Business Standard quoted Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations senior fellow Radhicka Kapoor as saying.

The difference in the labour force participation rate in rural and urban areas has reduced due to a sharp fall in the active labour force in rural villages.

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