Minister of Labour and Employment
Mallikarjun Kharge informed the Rajya Sabha yesterday that except for such
processes, operations, or other work in establishments where employment of
contract labour is prohibited through notification under section 10 of the
Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970, contract labour can be
employed. The central government has so far issued 77 notifications prohibiting
employment of contract labour in the central sphere.

Regular inspections are conducted under
various labour legislations to ensure compliance with labour laws. The social
welfare legislations apply equally to contract labourers and regular workers.

The minister also informed the members that
reliable estimates on employment and unemployment are obtained through
quinquennial labour-force surveys conducted by National Sample Survey
Organization (NSSO). The last such survey was conducted during 2004-05.

According to the most recent round of
quinquennial survey, the percentage of working poor (those employed but unable
to earn sufficient income from their work to rise above the official poverty
line) was estimated on usual status basis (based on mixed recall period) at
around 22 per cent, in the beginning of January 2005, and during the same
period, 10.8 million unemployed persons were in the estimated labour force of
469.94 million.

From the government’s point, the focus is
on productive employment at a faster pace in order to raise the incomes of
masses of the rural population, to bring about a general improvement in their
living conditions. There are various employment generation programmes such as
Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY), Prime Minister’s Employment
Generation Programme (PMEGP), Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY), and
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), besides
entrepreneurial development programmes run by the ministry of micro, small and medium

The government has also decided to skill 500 million persons by 2022
in order to improve their productivity so that they can earn higher wages and
get out of the poverty trap. The job opportunities are likely to be created on account of growth in gross domestic product (GDP), investment in infrastructure development, growth in exports, etc.