Since April, a total of 18.9 million (1.89 crore) salaried people have lost their jobs in India possibly due to the Covid-19 lockdown. In July alone, as per the data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), about five million salaried people have been rendered jobless.
“On a net basis, the plight of salaried employees has worsened since the lockdown began. In April, they lost 17.7 million jobs. But by July, the number reached 18.9 million, the CMIE said, adding it is an unhealthy recovery and the situation has worsened for salaried jobs. While salaried jobs are not lost easily, once lost they are also far more difficult to retrieve. Therefore, their ballooning numbers are a source of worry,” CMIE wrote, raising caution.
After evaluating the data, CMIE reached to the conclusion that the salaried jobs that stood at 86.3 million in 2016-17 have declined to 86.1 million in 2019-20, marking the possible onset of a recession in India
By releasing this grim data on job losses, the CMIE prompted the Centre to relax eligibility rules for availing unemployment benefits.
Under the Atal Beema Vyakti Kalyan Yojana, the government gives 25% of the monthly salary as unemployment benefits for three months. This scheme however is for the workers who have signed up for the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) only.
The CMIE report also highlighted the job losses in the manufacturing sector, textile being the most severely hit. These losses in the manufacturing sector resulted in a lower wage bill. In the textile sector, the wage bill fell by 29%.
A similar trend was observed in leather, which recorded over 22% fall in its wage bill in the June quarter. Textile and leather both were heavily affected as they were one of the most labor-intensive sectors. Automobile ancillaries also reported a 21% decline in its wage bill.