‘Employment boosting steps, direct income transfers needed amid pandemic’

As the pandemic has severely impacted several sectors along with the country’s job scenario, a KPMG report has suggested that the government should take appropriate measures to boost employment along with targeted short-term direct income transfers to vulnerable groups who have been hit hard during these tough times.

The report on the impact of the pandemic on potential income and employment in India noted that as per KPMG survey, employment in the country may decline by 11.6 to 31.1 per cent over 2019-20 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown.

It added that the vastness of the informal sector is likely to cause a disproportionate effect.

“Appropriate measures for boosting employment and output in selected sectors need to be taken in addition to targeted short-term direct income transfers to vulnerable groups who are hard hit during the pandemic,” it said.

India’s informal sector is the largest in the world, employing almost 90.7 per cent of the total workforce in FY18 and contributing 45 per cent of GDP. Most of these jobs are concentrated in the agriculture, construction sector and small-scale manufacturing and services sectors.

For employment generation in agriculture and allied activities, the KPMG report suggested the increase in final demand in the sector through pushing investment or private and government consumption expenditures.

“There is a need to share a clear plan on the mode through which Rs 1.5 trillion investment will happen along with the timelines,” it said.

It recommended the commissioning of a crisis management construction task force team for fast-tracking some specific projects that are impacted by Covid-19 and suggesting policy interventions without changing the infrastructure targets, among other suggestions across sectors.