Salaried jobs in India have fallen by 11-12 million from around 85 million in pre-COVID-19 levels to around 73-74 million today, said Mahesh Vyas, chief executive officer, Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).
Quoting a recent CMIE study, Vyas said, "India had 403.5 million jobs before being hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2020, about 126 million jobs were lost of which about 90 million were those of daily wagers. The figure recovered and reached 400 million jobs in January 2021 or December 2020. However, after the second wave, India has 390 million jobs."
Vyas pointed out that not everyone has got their job back and those who have got their jobs back have not necessarily got the same quality job. Salaried jobs are still falling. The situation is worse off, he added.
Over 97 percent of India's population has become poorer compared to where they were in terms of income (a year ago), claimed Vyas while accounting for inflation.
"When we ask people in our survey, how's their income today compared to a year ago, only 3 per cent tell us today that their income is better than a year ago; about 55 percent tell us categorically that it is worse than a year ago, and the remaining tell us that it is no better, no worse. I think that is a big damaging factor. And it raises the question, how are we going to recover from this situation?" questioned Vyas.
Unemployment levels have moved into double digits, at 14.73 percent for the week ending May 23, according to CMIE, with over 17 percent unemployment in urban India and nearly 14 percent in rural India. CMIE said India's unemployment rate rose 8 percent in April 2021, against 6.5 percent in March 2021.
Investment bank Barclays recently has said India is losing about $8 billion--about Rs 60,000 crore every week in May 2021. The total loss will be $117 billion (Rs 8.5 trillion) or 3.75 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), according to Barclays.