Need for a Nation-wide Survey of Occupation: To Skill and Secure India’s Labour Market
Given India’s pandemic-hit labour market trying to adjust to new normal phenomena and its desire to utilise the workforce for boosting the manufacturing sector, both require in-depth understanding of prevailing and new occupations in the market. For this, the Government of India should initiate a survey and reframe the National Classification of Occupation (NCO) for the post-pandemic situation. It will help us to gauge the precise information regarding occupations.
NCO is a national database of prevailing occupations in the country aligned with international standards to make them comparable. The latest NCO available in India is the NCO 2015 which is aligned with the International Standard Classification of Occupations 2008 of the International Labour Organization. Prior to 2015, NCO 2004 was used containing job descriptions for 2945 occupations. In NCO 2015, there are 3600 occupations and 52 sectors covered. It has been mapped with National Industrial Classification (NIC) Qualification Packs-National Occupation Standards (QP-NOS) to cater for structural changes in the labour market.
The specific information drawn from the new NCO survey can be used in three-fold ways to skill the labour market. Firstly, it will help us to understand professions of the labour force. Secondly, based on their vocation, the possession or need of a particular skill can be found out. Lastly, this would assist in designing or enhancing the educational courses of particular skills required in these occupations. Once we understand the kind of skills the labour force contains, suitably manufacturing industries can be boosted.
In such a case where the labour force matches the requirements of the industries, skilling India will also lead to growing India.
By learning about the specific occupations of people depending upon their uncertainty, risk and vulnerability to market challenges, this data can also be used to secure the labour market by launching specific social security and welfare schemes.
These social security schemes are supportive to income; they do not replace the need for a job. However, if there is a loss of income due to certain unforeseen reasons such as medical reasons, old-age, disability, and unemployment these social security schemes help individuals to sustain their livelihood.
On the macroeconomic front, when there is no or hardly any income, consumption level drops and hence demand is adversely affected which in turn results in a lower level of production, which directly impacts the household income, further, the circulation flow of income in the economy gets stalled. If this cycle continues for a time then the economy would fall into recession. Therefore, these social security schemes can minimise the negative impact that income loss would have on demand and the economy.
Data is both a challenge and an opportunity when it comes to the labour market. Its unavailability creates hurdles in planning and policymaking. On the contrary, the availability of data through NCO, for example, as suggested in the article can help in providing precise skill training to the Indian labour force.