Despite a series of lockdowns amid the COVID-19 second wave, more subscribers joined social security schemes in the formal sector in March, implying formal employment is picking up pace.
Around 12.24 lakh new members joined various social security schemes in the month, as against 11.77 lakh in the previous month, according to Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation data, reported Deccan Herald.
Since September 2017, the Centre has been evaluating employment-related statistics in the formal sector using the data on the number of people who have subscribed under three major schemes -- Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) Scheme, the Employees' State Insurance (ESI) Scheme and the National Pension Scheme (NPS).
The data showed more jobs were created under NPS while those under the retirement fund body EPFO were a little less than that in February.
Net new enrolments with EPFO stood at 11.21 lakh in March. It was 11.28 lakh in February 2021. But prior to that, EPFO had added 13.36 lakh net subscribers in January. New enrolments with NPS stood at 25.45 lakh in March.
This growth is attributed to e-initiatives taken by the government for various job schemes amid the pandemic in addition to supporting the formalisation of the economy through policy.
However, many economists are divided over whether the payroll data really indicates job creation. Perhaps, it only indicates the formalisation of the workforce in the economy.
Separately, data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy showed the unemployment rate rising towards record levels seen after a pan-India lockdown last year.