National Conference on
'Making Growth Inclusive With Reference to Employment Generation',
28-29th June, 2007, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Jul 2nd 2007
The theme chosen for the conference as reflected in the seminar title is one of the most formidable challenges facing the Indian economy today, namely the phenomenon of "jobless growth”. This seminar was organised through the joint efforts of the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS), Shimla and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi .

In the past 3-4 years, we have been experiencing very high growth rates in output, which are unknown in our post-colonial history. However, there is now little debate that such astonishing output growth figures are not accompanied by commensurate growth in employment. This makes growth non-inclusive in a country like India where there are no unemployment benefits and other social security schemes. This also happens to accentuate inequality captured by the standard indicators.

The seminar was organised in this backdrop to clearly bring out that growth per say need not solve the problem of economic development defined broadly in terms of social opportunities. The sessions had a right blend of theory and empirics, which substantiated this fact. Its contemporary relevance can be hardly overemphasised since in the policy circles and mainstream academic papers as well as in the media there is a relentless propaganda that growth is the panacea for all our social problems. The Eleventh Five Year Plan in fact has set a target of 10 per cent growth rate in output.

The papers powerfully established that there may not be any linkage between growth and employment; in fact excessive growth may itself hinder employment generation. It was pointed out in this context that the growth rate of employment in the era of, "Hindu rate of Growth” in India was higher than the present period. Employment trends in China and India were shown to have unfortunate convergence. Papers showed that there was growing informal jobs and casualisation of workforce. Outsourcing was a common characteristic in the organised sector of the economy. Field surveys showed that the rural areas are in disarray with large numbers of people living near or below subsistence.

In some penetrating studies it was shown that merely employment generation does not solve the problem. It is clearly inadequate and focus has to be on raising the productivity levels of the workforce. This is important in raising their standards of living. it was identified that a precondition to that is to invest heavily in health and education for enhancing the human capital formation. It was also forcefully established in one of the papers that the official claim that agricultural credit has been increased three-fold in the recent past and has been directed to revive agriculture is totally false. Firstly it was pointed out that this current trend in increase of rural credit is a continuation of past trend and that bulk of the credit was taken away by large borrowers and even corporations.

Essentially, the conference brought out the fact that the growth rate of output can not be an end in itself but only a means to economic development. Much more direct policy and programmes are needed for making growth inclusive.

Below is a list of papers that were presented during the conference, arranged thematically.

Conceptual Issues

• Capitalism, Growth and Employment
Prabhat Patnaik
Download the Paper (Size :130 Kb)

Aggregate Employment Trends

• Recent employment trends in India and China: An unfortunate convergence
C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
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Download the Paper (Size :154 Kb)

• Employment Trends in India: A Fresh Look at Past Trends and Recent Evidence
Abhijit Sen and Himanshu
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Download the Paper (Size : 211 Kb)

Sectoral Issues

• Widening Exclusion: Informalisation in the Indian Economy
Ravi Srivastava
Download the Presentation (Size : 436 kb)

• Aspects of Income and Employment in Andhra Pradesh : Preliminary Results from a Survey of Two Villages
Vikas Rawal
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Rural employment

• Inclusive Growth? Focus on Emplyoment
Sheila Bhalla
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• The Question of Employment and Livelihoods in Labour-surplus Economies
Utsa Patnaik
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New employment sectors

• Reaching Inclusive Growth Through Employment Guarantee Programme: Outline of a Strategy
Indira Hirway
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• Female Employment in the Service Sector: Trends and Patterns
Neetha Pillai
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• Labour under Stress: An Assessment Based on Primary Information
Sunanda Sen and Byasdeb Das Gupta
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• Credit to employment-intensive sectors: Is the revival real?
R. Ramakumar
Download the Presentation (Size : 412 kb)

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