19 million Indians lost jobs during Covid-19 lockdown

19 million salaried people lost jobs during Covid-19 lockdown, shows CMIE data

A total of 18.9 million (1.89 crore) salaried people have lost their jobs in India since April, a little after the Covid-19 lockdown began. In July alone, five million salaried people have been rendered jobless, according to data released by Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).

“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.

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“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 cautioned.

According to the data, salaried jobs stood at 86.3 million in 2016-17, which declined to 86.1 million in 2019-20. 

The grim data on job losses may prompt 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 benefit for three months.

This is for the workers who have signed up for the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) scheme.

The CMIE report also showed job losses in the manufacturing sector were the worst. Within manufacturing, textile was the most severely hit. The employment losses in the manufacturing sector resulted in a lower wage bill. In the textile sector, in particular, the wage bill fell by 29%.

A similar trend was witnessed in leather, which recorded over 22% fall in its wage bill in June quarter. Textile and leather are the most labour-intensive sectors. Automobile ancillaries reported a 21% decline in its wage bill.