Jobs or employment didn’t determine very prominently when India’s new finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman introduced her maiden funds final week, with Sitharaman mentioning these phrases merely 5 instances in whole. However funds paperwork present that the Union authorities expects to lift public sector employment considerably over the course of the fiscal 12 months.


It’s price taking the projections with a pinch of salt although. Over the previous twenty years, yearly, the federal government’s precise employment has fallen in need of what was budgeted, an evaluation of funds paperwork by Mint and its accomplice group exhibits.

This nevertheless doesn’t imply that the Union authorities has shrunk in dimension. The whole variety of central authorities workers has remained pretty regular and within the vary of three.2-Three.5 million over the previous twenty years. Barring distinctive years equivalent to fiscal 2013, progress too has remained persistently subdued. The revised estimates for fiscal 2019 recommend that progress in central authorities jobs might have hit a file excessive within the final fiscal after hitting a six-year-low in fiscal 2018. Nevertheless, we must await the actuals to substantiate that this was certainly the case.

The railway ministry continues to be the only largest employer because it was a decade in the past. However residence affairs is catching up quick. The share of railways in total central authorities jobs in fiscal 2010 was 12 share factors increased than that of residence affairs at 42%. However that hole had shrunk to four share factors by fiscal 2018, the most recent 12 months for which actuals can be found. The ministry of residence affairs noticed its share growing from 30% to 35% on this interval, as India expanded the scale of its paramilitary operations in response to inner safety threats. Total, 5 ministries — railways, residence affairs, communications, finance, and defence collectively account for over 90% of the entire employment created by union authorities ministries.

Whereas there was no giant enlargement of the Union authorities’s power, there was no severe try at downsizing both, the info suggests. The final huge try at downsizing was in fiscal 2001 through the Atal Bihari Vajpayee authorities’s time period (when worker power declined by a whopping 14%).

Nevertheless, the image of stagnating employment could also be misleading for 2 causes. One, it doesn’t account for jobs offered by state governments, and second, it doesn’t take note of every kind of contractual jobs offered by governments. If such jobs had been taken under consideration, the Indian state really noticed a pointy enlargement within the 2000s, a 2017 analysis paper by R Nagaraj of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Improvement Analysis (IGIDR) suggests. Utilizing information from the Nationwide Pattern Survey Workplace (NSSO), Nagaraj confirmed that the expansion in public sector employment is increased than what official figures reveal, presumably indicating contractual off-the-rolls employment.


This means that there was little or no occupation restructuring in the direction of ability intensive companies within the authorities sector, Nagaraj argued. A lot of the federal government jobs in India continued to include unskilled and semi-skilled work.

Because the political scientist Milan Vaishnav has argued, the scale of public sector employment in India as a share of the inhabitants is decrease than that of most main economies on the earth, and there’s a case for increasing state capability in underserved areas. Nevertheless, if the majority of the additions to the general public sector workforce are in low-skill jobs, the extra good points in state capability are more likely to be restricted.

Relatively than contraction, what’s required is an intensive restructuring and modernization of the general public sector workforce, argues Nagaraj.