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India's informal sector employment low: NSO data

According to the NSO's 'Annual Survey of Unincorporated Sector Enterprises (ASUSE)' fact sheet, released on Friday, the total number of workers in the informal sector stands at 109.6 million, still lower than the pre-pandemic period.

News Arena Network - New Delhi - UPDATED: June 15, 2024, 02:10 AM - 3 mins read

Image for representative use only.

India's informal sector employment low: NSO data

Image for representative use only.


The number of workers employed in India's vast informal sector remains below pre-pandemic levels, despite a recovery from the lows of the Covid-19 pandemic, as per the latest data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO).

 

According to the NSO's 'Annual Survey of Unincorporated Sector Enterprises (ASUSE)' fact sheet, released on Friday, the total number of workers in the informal sector stands at 109.6 million, still lower than the pre-pandemic period.

 

In the period from October 2022 to September 2023, the informal sector added 11.7 million workers, recovering from the pandemic lows witnessed between April 2021 and March 2022.

 

However, this figure remains lower than the approximately 111.3 million workers employed in unincorporated enterprises, as reported by the previous 73rd round of the National Sample Survey (NSS) conducted between July 2015 and June 2016.

 

Despite the increase in the number of unincorporated enterprises to 65.04 million, a rise of about 2 million from the previous survey, employment levels in the sector have not reached pre-pandemic levels.

 

Pronab Sen, chairperson of the Standing Committee on Statistics, highlighted that the unincorporated sector, including the informal sector, faced severe setbacks due to economic shocks like demonetisation, GST implementation, and the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in a decline in employment.

 

"The results exhibit the resilience shown by the unincorporated sector after the pandemic shock," said NSO, acknowledging the sector's recovery efforts.

 

The fact sheet also revealed that the gross value added (GVA) by these establishments increased to Rs 15.42 trillion from Rs 13.4 trillion between October 2022 and September 2023, indicating a recovery in economic activities.

 

The data further indicated an annual growth in the number of establishments in the 'other services sector' by 15.12%, followed by 'manufacturing establishments' at 2.22% between April 2021 and March 2022 and October 2022 to September 2023.

 

The 'other services sector' also witnessed the highest annual growth in employment at 13.42%, followed by the 'manufacturing sector' at 6.34% during the same period.

 

Most workers in the non-agricultural unincorporated sector fall under the informal category, with average annual earnings rising to Rs 1.11 lakh in 2022-23 from Rs 1.06 lakh in 2021-22.

 

Given the significant role of unincorporated enterprises in the Indian economy, NSO developed the ASUSE for measuring the economic and operational characteristics of unincorporated non-agricultural establishments in manufacturing, trade, and other services sectors, excluding construction.

 

Previously conducted at five-year intervals, NSO initiated annual ASUSE surveys to provide more frequent insights into this sector's dynamics.

 

The ASUSE 2023-24 survey is already underway, aiming to offer up-to-date information on the informal economy.

 

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