10 million people leave Indian workforce
India’s workforce shrank by six percentage points from 445 million to 435 million workers over the past six years, according to data from The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy.
Only 40% of Indians of legal working age were employed or were looking for employment in 2021-22. By comparison, the labour force participation rate was above 46% in 2016-17.
Currently, about 1,085 million Indians are aged 15 or above and can be legally employed.
Labour force participation among women, who were already a small part of the workforce, has fallen further. In 2016-17, about 15% women were employed or looking for jobs. This dipped to 9.2% in 2021-22. Among men, the participation rate declined from more than 74% to 67%.
The reduction was higher in urban areas than in the rural parts of the country. The rate slid from 44.7% to 37.5% in urban areas — a more than seven percentage point drop. Rural areas saw the figure drop from 46.9% to 41.4%.
States-by-state analysis shows that in 23 of the 24 states with data, the participation rate in the workforce declined in March 2022 compared with March 2016. The rate dropped in all states, except Rajasthan.
The drop was more pronounced among two southern states, which had a high participation rate to start with. Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, whose participation rates were 54% and 56% respectively in March 2016 — occupying the top two slots at the time — also witnessed the sharpest declines. Between 2016 and 2022, the participation rate fell by 20 percentage points and 17 percentage points for Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh respectively — the sharpest declines among all States.
UAE trade deal with India launches on 1 May
The much-lauded Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and the UAE will come into effect on 1 May, providing significant benefits to Indian and UAE businesses, including better market access and reduced tariffs.
CEPA is an important milestone in trade relations between the two countries, according to V. Muraleedharan, Union Minister of State for External Affairs.
“Bilateral relations between the two countries will be warmer with the agreement,” he said in his inaugural address at a workshop on the CEPA agreement, organised here by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), in collaboration with the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).
“CEPA will further the growth of industries, enhance competitiveness, accelerate the pace of adopting advanced technology, and create competitive advantages in new fields,” he said. The UAE will exempt 90% of Indian products from import duty, giving a boost to the country’s export industry. Bilateral trade between the two countries will reach $100 billion, he said.