The coronavirus has struck a blow at the Indian economy so hard that it will take time to heal itself. Salaried jobs are the ones that suffered the most during the pandemic. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) has stated that 18.9 million salaried jobs were lost during the period of April-July. Salaried jobs have been the biggest casualty of the lockdown with a loss of 17.7 million jobs in April, followed by a gain of 3.9 million jobs in June, and then a loss of five million jobs in July.
However, the same period has also proven to be a time of boom for informal and non-salaried jobs. The number of these jobs increased to 325.6 million in July from 317.6 million last year, marking a drastic increase of 2.5%.
“While salaried jobs are not lost easily, once lost they are lost, it becomes far more difficult to retrieve them. Therefore, their ballooning numbers are a source of worry. Salaried jobs were nearly 19 million short of their average in 2019-20. They were 22% lower than their level in the last fiscal year,” stated the CMIE.
Daily wage workers and small traders have been greatly affected by the lockdown since it’s announcement in March. “Of the 121.5 million jobs lost in the month of April, 91.2 million were informal jobs. This category of employment accounts for about 32% of the total employment, but it suffered 75% of the hit in April,” says the CMIE.
However, unlike salaried jobs that are challenging to recoup once lost, some informal jobs have been quick to return. Of the 91.2 million informal jobs lost in April 2020, 14.4 million came back in May, 44.5 million in June and 22.5 million in July. Only 6.8 million remain to return, the CMIE added.
In case of farm employment, a sharp rise in June took the number of jobs to 130 million. Agriculture could absorb a lot of the labour lost in non-farm sectors due to good rains and consequent sowing. At 126 million in July, farm employment remained high, the CMIE said. The report, however, said that even though it is “tempting to conjecture that the four-million fall in farm employment indicates reverse migration, there is no data to support such an inference.”
The prolonged lockdown following the pandemic has slowed down the economy that needs to recovered as quick as possible before the situation turns into an economic repression.