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SECC: 75 per cent of rural households in India survive on less than Rs.5000

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New Delhi: For nearly 75 per cent of the 17.9 crore (nearly 180 million) households in rural India, the monthly income of the highest-earning member is less than Rs.5,000, even as close to 40 per cent are landless and work as manual casual labourers for their daily bread, latest official data reveals.

Image from www.secc.gov.in
Image from www.secc.gov.in

This is the finding of the Socio-Economic and Caste Census 2011 for Rural India released Friday which also shows that nearly 25 per cent of the rural households still do not own a phone despite India boasting a telecom subscriber base of around a billion.

Also, among the the fortunate families that actually own land, the dependence on rains for their crops is rather high, with 25 per cent having no access to irrigation, as per the Census released by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Only 8.29 per cent of the rural households reported a member who was drawing more than Rs.10,000 per month, while for 17.18 per cent others the monthly earning was between Rs.5,000 and Rs.10,000 per month.

The latest Census covered all the 640 districts in the country in a paperless manner, using some 640,000 electronic handheld devices. The government on Friday released only the provisional data of the socio-economic Census for rural India.

The Census seeks to provide useful data on households on various aspects of their socio-economic status – housing, land-holding, education, women, the differently able, occupation, possession of assets, and members of scheduled castes and tribes.

In a bid to target government schemes better and ensure they the intended beneficiaries alone, it also provides for automatic exclusion of families on the basis of 14 parameters as also automatic inclusion on the basis of five criteria.

“The progress which households in India have made, who are the ones who have qualitatively moved up in terms of quality of life – a document of these will be an important input for all policy makers, both at the Centre and in the states,” Jaitley said.

“I am sure that with the enormity of the schemes and their reaches that all governments have, this document will form the basis of helping us to target groups to support in terms of policy planning,” the Finance Minister added.

Based on 14 parameters for families — which include criteria such owing a vehicle, possessing a kisan credit card, having a serving government member, drawing an income of Rs.10,000 per month, or owing a refrigerator — only 7.05 crore families (39.39 per cent) stand to be excluded.

Similarly, based on five parameters — households without shelter, those living on alms, manual scavengers, primitive tribals and legally released bonded labourers — 16.50 lakh families are eligible for automatic inclusion.

ArunJaitley

At the same time, 10.69 crore (over 100 million) of rural families, or 60 per cent, qualify for “deprivation” based on seven criteria — which include those with one room, kuccha walls, no member in 18-59 age group, no literate adult above 25 years and landless households.

Among them, while 21.5 per cent belong to scheduled castes or tribes, 23.5 per cent are without a literate adult above 25 years of age. This apart, 30 per cent are landless households deriving a major part of their income from manual labour.

(IANS)

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Job Report of October in US Might Help in Showing if Hiring Helps in Fueling Growth

Analysts have forecast that employers added 90,000 jobs last month and that the unemployment rate ticked up from 3.5% to 3.6%

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Hiring
Hiring has slowed this past year, though it remains high enough to keep the unemployment rate from rising in an otherwise mostly lackluster economy. VOA

The government’s October jobs report being released Friday will help show whether hiring remains a key source of strength for a U.S. economy that’s been weakened by trade wars and a global slowdown.

It will also provide a glimpse of whatever short-term damage the now-settled strike against General Motors inflicted on the economy.

Analysts have forecast that employers added 90,000 jobs last month and that the unemployment rate ticked up from 3.5% to 3.6%, still near a 50-year low, according to a survey of forecasts by data provider FactSet.

The predicted gain is an artificially low one because of the GM strike. The strike is thought to have caused roughly 60,000 idled workers to be temporarily counted as unemployed during October, meaning that the expected job gain would otherwise be far higher, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody Analytics.

Hiring has slowed this past year, though it remains high enough to keep the unemployment rate from rising in an otherwise mostly lackluster economy. On Wednesday, the government estimated that the economy grew in the July-October quarter at a modest 1.9% annual rate.

Employers cautious

Surveys suggest that employers have turned cautious in large part because of heightened uncertainties caused by President Donald Trump’s trade conflicts. The president has imposed tariffs on many goods imported to the U.S., and other nations have retaliated with import taxes on U.S. exports.

One result is that companies, especially in manufacturing, construction and retail but also in some other sectors, have slowed their hiring or have stopped hiring altogether.

“The fundamental outlook for payrolls is deteriorating, with all the surveys we follow pointing to weaker labor demand,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. “Layoffs are still very low and stable, but the downshift in hiring is substantial.”

Still, consumers, who drive about 70% of U.S. economic activity, have remained generally resilient. In September, they modestly stepped up their spending, and their incomes grew fast enough to let them save more, too. A rising saving rate is encouraging because it suggests that households have leeway to keep spending and supporting an economic expansion that has entered a record-breaking 11th year.

Hiring
The government’s October jobs report being released Friday will help show whether Hiring remains a key source of strength for a U.S. economy that’s been weakened by trade wars and a global slowdown. Pixabay

A drag on the economy

At the same time, businesses have been a drag on the economy in recent months. Collectively, they have slashed their spending on industrial machinery and other equipment, mostly because the U.S.-China trade war has made them reluctant to commit to big purchases. The tariffs between the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies, have also reduced U.S. exports.

So far this year, job growth has averaged roughly 161,000 a month, down from a monthly average of 223,000 jobs in 2018, according to Labor Department figures.

October is the usual start of hiring for the holiday shopping season. But the rise of e-commerce and increasing concentration of wealth in large U.S. metros have corresponded with the loss of more than 70,000 jobs at retailers this year. This trend could further diminish hiring by the retail sector, said Richard Moody, chief economist at Regions Financial.

“Given the ongoing structural changes within retail and this year’s late Thanksgiving, there was likely much less seasonal hiring this October than in past years,” he said.

Hiring
October is the usual start of Hiring for the holiday shopping season. But the rise of e-commerce and increasing concentration of wealth in large U.S. metros have corresponded with the loss of more than 70,000 jobs at retailers this year. Pixabay

Pay growth slows

Sluggish pay growth is another source of concern. The low unemployment rate and a shortage of qualified workers in many industries have nevertheless failed to accelerate wages across the job market as traditional economy theory would suggest. Average annual hourly pay growth has slipped from 3.4% in February to 2.9% in September.

Still, data tracked by the jobs site Glassdoor indicates that wage gains should start to rebound as companies continue to compete for workers in the hottest job markets.

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Noting an upward trend in wages in his company’s data, Glassdoor economist Daniel Zhao said, “The labor market is showing no signs of stopping in October.” (VOA)