Half-million jobs lost, actual count seen higher (Roundup)

February 20th, 2009 - 7:09 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 20 (IANS) An estimated 500,000 jobs were lost in India from September to December last year in areas like textiles, automobiles and information technology, and the actual numbers across the country could be higher, parliament was informed Friday.
Quoting a study by the labour ministry, Corporate Affairs Minister told the Lok Sabha, the lower house, that total employment in the areas covered fell from 16.2 million in September to 15.7 million in December.

The study, the minister said in a written reply, covered mines, metals, gems and jewellery, textiles, automobile, transport and IT-outsourcing.

This was the same study that was quoted by Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes Wednesday, who maintained that the average earnings had also declined 3.45 percent during the period under review.

The labour minister, while replying to a calling attention motion, told the lower house Friday that there was no exhaustive study on the loss of jobs and said the estimates did not reflect the actual position on job losses across the country or industries.

“I agree that it is only a sample survey by the Labour Bureau. It is not the report of the entire country. It does not reflect the total job loss in the country,” he said in his response.

Gurudas Dasgupta of the Communist Party of India (CPI), along with Rupchand Pal and Santashri Chatterjee, both from the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), moved the motion, claiming some two million jobs had been lost in the country.

The issue of job losses was also an important item on the agenda of the 42nd Indian Labour Conference in the capital Friday, during which Fernandes said a crisis management group had been set up to monitor the situation.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who inaugurated the two-day event also asked the people of India to share the pains of economic crisis, while promising to protest the interests of labour force even if it meant pay-cuts.

“The government’s approach of inclusive growth is the critical component of its strategy to ensure an early recovery from the current crisis,” Mukherjee told the conference at the Ashok Hotel here.

“Jobs must be protected even if it means some reduction in compensation,” said the minister, who has the temporary charge of finance, since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who holds the portfolio, is recovering after a heart surgery.

“The government of India has been conscious of the magnitude of this still-deepening crisis and has been taking steps to mitigate its impact on the Indian society,” he said.

“We must display the spirit of solidarity by sharing equally the pain of this crisis.”

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