Millennium Post

Urban unemployment climbs to 11.24% in August, rural 9.18%

The overall figure for the country stood at 9.84 per cent, showed data prepared by BSE in collaboration with the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), a business information firm. BSE and CMIE had launched the world’s first high-frequency data on unemployment and consumer sentiment in April 2016. “Unemployment rose in urban India to 11.24 per cent from 10.76 per cent in July 2016,” BSE said in a release.

As per the data, unemployment has been lower in rural regions, but the rate rose to 9.18 per cent in August -- its highest since January 2016. “The rise in unemployment in urban India poses a challenge. It is apparently an outcome of low capacity utilisation as is evident from RBI’s OBICUS surveys and low investment activity as is seen in CMIE’s CapEx surveys,” Ashishkumar Chauhan, MD and CEO, BSE, said.

The overall unemployment rate was 8.65 per cent in July and 8.84 per cent in June. “Advent of the South-West monsoon that led to sowing and other farm activities from early June had apparently absorbed a large part of the labour force that remained unemployed during the dry pre-monsoon month of May. However, the sharp rise in unemployment shows a possible slowing down of rural economic activity,” said Mahesh Vyas, MD and CEO, CMIE. Meanwhile, essential services such as banking, public transport and telecom may be hit today as 10 central trade unions (CTUs) will go on one-day nationwide strike against government’s “indifference” towards their demands and effecting “anti-worker” changes in labour laws. The unions have claimed that this year’s strike will be bigger as the number of striking workers is expected to swell to as much as 18 crore, larger than last year when around 14 crore workers participated.

The CTUs will strike work protesting against what they call the government’s apathy towards their 12-point charter of demands including a monthly minimum wage of Rs 18,000, controlling price rise and assured minimum monthly pension of Rs 3,000.

“This time strike will be bigger than last year as over 18 crore workers from formal and informal sectors would come on streets to protest against government’s indifference to their 12-points charter of demands and unilateral anti-worker labour law amendments,” Trade Union Coordination Committee (TUCC) General Secretary S P Tiwari said. He further said, “Besides ports and civil aviation, the essential services like transport, telecom and banking will be paralysed. The workers will go on strike in hospitals and power plants but the protest will not affect their normal functioning.” 

He said workers in central public sector undertakings like Coal India, GAIL, ONGC, NTPC, OIL, HAL and BHEL will observe strike. However, Indian Railways and other central government employees will not participate in strike as government has already constituted a committee to look into their demand of raising monthly minimum wage from Rs 18,000 to about Rs 26,000 under the 7th Pay Commission.
Tiwari said: “We are not asking for more. We are demanding Rs 18,000 minimum monthly wage which was accepted by the government on the recommendations of 7th Pay Commission.” He was of the view that the demand is reasonable in the backdrop of price rise. Delhi Government has already hiked monthly minimum wage to Rs 14,052, Rs 15,032 and Rs 18,000 for unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled workers respectively. 
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