While this blog is not about Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement, I did wonder about the lists that are cropping up to expand the scope of the movement to solve the innumerable problems facing Indians! I wish these also get addressed but I feel a little out of depth dealing with larger issues as I am basically a 'Grumbler about small things!'.
My list would be more about courteous driving, no honking unnecessarily, pedestrian friendly footpaths, police personnel manning one way streets and no hiding behind trees to nab drivers who jump red lights at intersections. I was once a victim of this devious tactics by the police. I was a yard beyond the line when the lights changed but they would not accept that. Frankly they had no way of judging this photo finish situation! They won because they were in the majority. There were three of them, why three I have no idea.
May be it is the lucky number for police or it is the system. Only one may be tempted to take a bribe, if two they would probably fight. Hence a senior with two juniors may be the time tested solution. I also read that some enraged drivers even attacked the uniformed men, so it could for their protection. Or it could be just a ploy to increase employment. Employment levels in India is always a matter of concern.
I overheard one of the wise and an active panelist's opinion on cable TV that the possible reason for the educated kids and middle class coming out in numbers for the first time in decades was just to save their jobs. He said corruption caused a drop in employment and thus affected them directly. It Could, but I am not sure if he was being sarcastic. His political hue was not pro middle class.
Recently I chanced on this site called neoncarrot India travelog. and found it pretty colorful with some interesting stats.
Total population: 1.06 billion people (mar 2004)
- India's working age population (15-60 years): 610 million (estimate 2003)
- population dependent on agriculture for livelihood: 65 %
- population living in approx 600,000 villages countrywide: 722.8 million people 
- population living in cities: 277.8 million people 
- population living a significant distance from a road: nearly 40 percent [Sahara Time, Mar 2004]
Another statistic which is shocking, hope someone targets this along with anti-corruption.
India's percentage of global car population: 1% [Daily Telegraph Sep 06]
- * India's share of global car accidents: 10% [Daily Telegraph Sep 06]
My first reaction was: 'How many villages are inspired by Anna Hazare?'. I wonder if anyone has this information. And the next: 'How will it be if more and more villages get access to roads?'
I then dutifully located the official site of ministry of labour and while not that colorful seemed to be bustling with activity. Many sections were flashing with 'New' signs and many more flashed the 'Updated' message. Impressive!
One was about Prime Minister's 'SHRAM' awards for 2009. (Very tempted to suggest another award with an additional A in the right place for 2011).
The other, a report to people published in July 2010, which appears to be the result of a lot of hard work. The foreword is full of well intentioned targets. Also a RTI manual as a part of this website. Serious stuff!
I quote from the foreword: (There is lot to read and digest. An attempt to look at things honestly and with the unavoidable propaganda, part of it sounding unctuous.)Major Short term strategies and targets include: Employment growth to be targeted at least at 2.5 per cent per annum compatible with the 9 percent growth in the economy; Promote labour intensive and high employment elasticity sectors to achieve the quantitative employment growth target; Focus on inclusion of youth, women and vulnerable groups with their specific needs of training and skill development; ........Re-skilling the retrenched workers for redeployment; .....
.Key Medium term strategies and targets are: Focus on self-employed and casual workers for improving livelihood; Enhance the scope of employment in the organised sector; Enhance regular employment for less advantaged groups and in poorer states; ..... Rationalisation and simplification of labour regulations and broadening the ambit of labour reforms; Promote diversification of rural workforce to off-farm and non-farm activities; Target regions with concentration of vulnerable social groups such as ST, SC, minorities, women, illiterate and less skilled for active labour market policies; Detailed skill mapping mechanism to be evolved; .....It is hoped that this Report would provide an opportunity for stimulating constructive national debate relating to various dimensions of employment and also for eliciting practical suggestions for further improving the quantitative as well as qualitative aspects of employment generation in India. ( Note to all responsible citizens: Pl read thru the full report and respond)
.Some gems of information:
In 2004-05, the estimates of total labour force in the country varied from nearly 420 millions (as per Current Daily Status-CDS) to nearly 470 million (as per Usual Principal and Subsidiary Status-UPSS)
(If you consider the other statistic: India's working age population (15-60 years): 610 million (estimate 2003) it seems about 1/3 of them do not join the labour force!)
Unemployment in India is not a straightforward issue ..... Even if a person is not reported to be unemployed on a particular point of time, he/she may be actually unemployed/under employed. ...The estimates for 2004-05 varied from 10.8 million (as per usual status - widely referred to as "open unemployment‟) to 35 million (as per daily status which includes both open unemployment and underemployment). ....
.Based on the 2004-05 survey, the estimates of total employment in the country varies from 385 million (as per CDS measure) to 459 million (as per UPSS measure).
This high growth in employment achieved during the first half of the present decade is one of the positive outcomes of the fairly high growth of 6 to 8% per annum of the Indian economy during the same period.
( Do I read from this that 91.66% to 97.66% of the 'estimated' labour force have jobs?)
.......most casual workers and a large part of self-employed workers have led to significantly high poverty ratio among the workers. These workers are often termed as "working poor‟. Approximately 22% workers were estimated to be below the poverty line in 2004-05. This essentially implies that out of a total of 459.1 million workers (UPSS) in 2004-05 approximately about 102 million were poor. (Who are the other 200 million who are reported to be BPL?)
Among males, the highest unemployment rate is reported in the 15-19 years age group both in rural as well as urban areas. (Ideally this age group should be in school!) .....This highlights the need for the policy to focus on youth in the labour force, particularly to reap the benefits of "demographic dividend‟. (I love this word!)
The size of the organised sector, characterised by higher earnings and job security is small, it accounted for less than 6% of the total employment in 2004-05.
The good news!
2009/10: Population 1177 million - Labour force 520 Million Employment 506 Million.
(This stat sort of lulls me. Almost half of our population is employed! Not bad if one citizen is taking care of just another person!)
Probably a good idea to constitute a committee to study and report to the people what would be accomplished if, all the black money stashed away is recovered and is given to the labor ministry. How would they increase employment and work for the betterment of the working poor?
So I got curiouser and tried to compare this report with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There is a lot of talk and news about the downward trend in the US.
It is a different world out there. The data is available, but again it is for the politicians to act on them.
A few examples:
This page contains information about labor force statistics with demographic characteristics available from the Current Population Survey (CPS). Data on the labor force characteristics of employed and unemployed persons, plus hours of work and earnings, also are available.
The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a monthly survey of households conducted by the Bureau of Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It provides a comprehensive body of data on the labor force, employment, unemployment, persons not in the labor force, hours of work, earnings, and other demographic and labor force characteristics.
The Mass Layoff Statistics (MLS) program collects reports on mass layoff actions that result in workers being separated from their jobs.
Chart:Unemployment rate by race and Asian ethnicity