Employment Scenario in Delhi: A Note

Surajit Das

According to the Census 2011, Delhi’s population was
around 1 crore 68 lakhs. According to the National Sample Survey Organisation
(NSSO), the estimated population of Delhi was around 1 crore 71 lakhs in
2011-12. The growth of population during 2001 to 2011 period has been 21% in
Delhi. If the same growth continues, the estimated population of Delhi would be
roughly around 1 crore 90 lakhs today. During 1981 to 2001 period, the
population of Delhi grew at an average rate of more than 6% per annum mainly because
of huge influx of people from outside Delhi. During 2001 to 2011 period, the
annual population growth rate of Delhi has come down to little above 2%.

If we look at the number of total workers in Delhi
from the Census data, the total number of worker was 20 lakh in 1981, which has
gone upto 60 lakh in 2011. During the 1981 to 2001 period, the total number of
workers grew by 127% in 20 years. During the 10-year period between 2001 and
2011, it has grown only by 23%. However, since the population also grew at a
lower rate, the total number of workers as proportion to total population
remained more or less stagnated near 32-33%. The total number of non-workers in
the population remained high at around 67-68% of the population. According to
the census data of 2011, the total number of workers in Delhi was 56 lakhs and
non-workers was 112 lakhs out of total 1 crore 68 lakh population.
Table 1: Population, Workers, Non-Workers of Delhi
According to Census         

Census Data of Various Years (In Lakhs)
Growth Rates in %
Year
Population
Non Workers
Workers
Gap
Population
Non Workers
Workers
1981
62.2
42.2
20.0
22.2
1991
94.2
64.4
29.8
34.6
51.5
52.7
48.9
2001
138.5
93.1
45.5
47.6
47.0
44.5
52.5
2011
167.9
112.0
55.9
56.1
21.2
20.4
22.9
Although, on an average, the number of dependents per
worker remained more or less stagnant during last forty years in Delhi, the
number of non-workers in absolute terms increased steadily over time. The gap
between number of non-workers and the workers increased from 22 lakhs in 1981
to 35 lakhs in 1991, to 48 lakhs in 2001, to 56 lakhs in 2011. In 2011, the
number of workers is just one third and non-workers constitute exactly two
third of the population. It is important to mention here that the workers are
defined as those who are employed but non-workers include not only unemployed
but also those who are not in the labour force. For example, the elderly
persons and young children are also counted as part of the ‘non-worker’
category.


Note: The gaps (In Lakhs) between workers and non-workers
are measured along the secondary axis.
As mentioned above, we cannot calculate the number of
unemployed people from the information given in the census data. We have to
depend on NSSO data for more details. NSSO conducts surveys every year but most
of them are based on very thin sample. However, NSSO conducts large sample
surveys once in every five years. Again, the large sample data is not
comparable with the small sample observations. To understand the trends in
employment-unemployment situation in Delhi, we have considered the NSSO large
sample based estimates for the years 1977-78, 1987-88, 1999-2000, 2004-05,
2009-10 and 2011-12.
Table 2: NSSO Estimates of Employment-Unemployment in
Delhi (In Lakhs)

 Year
Employed
Unemployed
Labour Force
Not in Labour Force
Population
1977-78
17
2.08
19.08
28.69
54.1
1987-88
27.38
1.39
28.77
41.71
81.86
1999-2000
38.95
5.59
44.54
88.44
132.98
2004-05
50.55
1.65
52.2
103.49
155.69
2009-10
52.96
1.74
54.7
108.83
163.54
2011-12
57.06
2.66
59.73
111.16
170.89

Note: Employed plus unemployed together constitute the
labour force.
It is evident from Table 2 that the total number of
employed persons in Delhi was around 57 lakhs in 2011-12, which is more or less
comparable with the census 2011 figure of 56 lakhs. According to NSSO 2011-12
data, the estimated population of Delhi was 1 crore 71 lakh. Out of that 1
crore 11 lakh people were not in the labour force and around 60 lakh people
constituted Delhi’s total labour force. 57 lakh of them were into some kind of
employment and 2 lakh 66 thousand people were unemployed in Delhi in 2011-12.
Therefore, the unemployment rate (as proportion of total labour force) was
around 4.5% in 2011-12.

Note: The numbers of unemployed (in lakhs) and unemployment
rate (In %) are measured along the secondary axis.
If we look at the historical trends, the unemployment
was slightly above 2 lakhs in 1977-78, which came down to 1 lakh 40 thousand
during 1987-88. Unemployment increased enormously during 1990’s and as high as
5 lakh 60 thousand people within the labour force were unemployed in Delhi
during 1999-2000. Eventually, the level of unemployment came down during the
last decade and it became 1 lakh 75 thousand in 2009-10. It has started growing
again and crossed 2 lakh 65 thousand in the recent past. As far as the
unemployment rate is concerned, it was around 11% in 1977-78, which came down
to below 5% in 1987-88 and again went up to 12.5% in 1999-2000. It was relatively
low during the first decade of 2000’s (little above 3%) but, it has started
growing according to the latest large sample NSSO data (4.5% in 2011-12).

The directorate of unemployed in Delhi data also shows
similar trends in unemployment (although the numbers are very different).
Throughout 1990’s, unemployment of all the categories were high. Total
unemployment exceeded 10 lakh in Delhi in 1995 and remained above 10 lakh till
2003 (excepting 1 year of 1999). Unemployment in Delhi came down 2004 onwards
during the high growth period till 2009. It has started rising again 2010
onwards and crossed 8 lakh 55 thousand in 2013 from 4 lakh 15 thousand in 2009.
In 2009, number of unemployed with below matriculation
qualification came down to almost 50 thousand (from 2 lakh 73 thousand in
1998), which has gone up again to 1 lakh 28 thousand in 2013. For the labour
force with below graduation qualification, number of unemployed came down to 1
lakh 80 thousand in 2007 (from 6 lakh 35 thousand in 2003) that has again
reached almost 5 lakh in 2013. Among the graduates and post graduates, the
number of unemployed was more than 2 lakh 73 thousand in 1998, which came down
to around 56 thousand in 2009 in Delhi. This has gone up to 1 lakh 87 thousand
again in 2013. For the other diploma holders also we notice similar trend. The
unemployment among this particular category of the labour force was more than
22 thousand in 1998, which came down to below 9 thousand in 2009 and again went
up to 45 thousand in 2013. As it is clearly evident from the above area chart,
the total unemployment in Delhi came down after 2003, during the high growth
period till 2009 and it has started rising again 2010 onwards. In 2003, the
total recorded unemployment in Delhi has exceeded the level what it was in the
beginning of 1990s.
Table 3: Organised Sector Employment in Delhi

Year
Central Govt.
Delhi Govt.
Quasi Govt.
Local Bodies
Total Public Sector
Employment
Private Sector
Total Organised Sector
Employment
1
1994
2.13
1.1
2.12
0.97
6.32
2.18
8.5
2
1995
2.15
1.11
2.1
0.95
6.31
2.23
8.54
3
1996
2.14
1.12
2.08
0.94
6.28
2.25
8.53
4
1997
2.1
1.12
2.05
0.94
6.21
2.22
8.43
5
1999
2.14
1.14
2.04
0.94
6.26
2.22
8.48
6
2000
2.14
1.13
2.04
0.95
6.26
2.21
8.47
7
2001
2.12
1.14
2.03
0.95
6.24
2.17
8.41
8
2002
2.1
1.2
1.98
0.93
6.21
2.15
8.36
9
2003
2.14
1.21
1.96
0.93
6.24
2.13
8.37
10
2004
2.12
1.21
1.94
0.93
6.2
2.19
8.39
11
2005
2.1
1.2
1.92
0.93
6.15
2.16
8.31
12
2006
2.06
1.2
1.86
0.93
6.05
2.21
8.26
13
2007
2.02
1.21
1.85
0.93
6.01
2.3
8.31
14
2008
2.04
1.24
1.79
0.93
6
2.36
8.36
15
2009
2.03
1.27
1.79
0.83
5.92
2.51
8.43
Source:
Economic Survey of Delhi, 2014-15.

Delhi being the national capital territory (NCT) of
the country, it enjoys the benefit of having lot of government and
quasi-government offices located here from the point of view of the overall
organised sector employment scenario. However, if we look at the trend in the
organised sector employment including the public and the private organised
sector during 1994 to 2009 in Delhi, we see that there is a clear downward
trend at least upto the year 2006. 2007 onwards, there has been some
improvement.

However, that improvement has not happened due to
increase in the job opportunities in the public sector – there has been some
recruitments in the private sector – the public sector has registered a
continuous decline in the entire period from 1994 to 2009. The decline has been
sharpened after 2003 during the high growth period and the same trend is
continuing in the recent past. Primarily because of decline in the public
sector employment, inspite of some improvement in the organised private sector,
the overall organised sector employment has declined drastically in Delhi.
If we do a simple exercise and compare total
employment of Delhi given by the various rounds of NSSO large and small sample
surveys with the organised sector employment figures given by the economic
survey of Delhi, we see how the share of organised sector has declined over
time between 1999-2000 and 2009-10 in Delhi.

Further, if we calculate the unorganised sector
employment by subtracting the total organised sector employment figures given
by the economic survey of Delhi from the total employment numbers given by
various NSSO rounds, we get an idea about the size of the unorganised sector in
Delhi relative to the size of the organised sector. More importantly, it is not
only the fact that the size of the unorganised sector in Delhi has become more
than 5 times the size of the organised sector, but, what is more alarming is
the fact that the presence of organised sector in the total employment scenario
is continuously declining. Therefore, as compared to its own past, Delhi
employment scenario is worsening, in general, and within that, the proportion
of the unorganised sector is increasing making the employed more vulnerable and
pushing the entire labour force further into misery.

The Author is an Assistant Professor, CESP, JNU, New Delhi

1 thought on “Employment Scenario in Delhi: A Note”

  1. Your stated ,- "During 1981 to 2001 period, the population of Delhi grew at an average rate of more than 6% per annum mainly because of huge influx of people from outside Delhi. During 2001 to 2011 period, the annual population growth rate of Delhi has come down to little above 2%." Is it correct. During 2001 to 2011 Delhi Metro had grown in AP but population increased in GP. So the basic parameter needs to be revisited.

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