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    Economic Census says retail is major employer; report might influence ICRIER analysts

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    Will it be apt to say that the recently released fifth Economic Census report seems to have come at a right time as another report on the ‘Impact of organised retail on the unorganised sector’, by Indian Council for Research in International Economic Relations () is also being analysed?

    If the facts on the business of retail in the Economic Census are seen, it has come well on time. The government’s special committee, which is studying the implications of the report by the ICRIER will get to read a strong point favouring the organised retail in the Economic Census.

    After serious analysis of fifth Economic Census report it would be significant to note two things: firstly, the retail trade alone accounts for 41.83 per cent job opportunities with 14.95 million employed in the sector. Secondly, the employment generation in the country increased considerably in the eight-year period — 1998 to 2005, as compared to between 1990 and 1998. Employment grew at the rate of 2.78 per cent in 1998-2005, which is much higher than the 1.75 per cent recorded during 1990-98, says the fifth Economic Census report.

    The figures justify that as retail trade is the major employer, and rise in the overall employment in the country suggests that the business of retail has employed many, and if the growth of modern retail and the employment generated by the organised sector is seen, it can well be assumed that it is the ‘modern retail that has considerably helped in employment generation in the country’.

    The Economic Census says, retail trade along with manufacturing and social and personal service activities have emerged as the three major non-agricultural activities giving the maximum number of jobs, with a share of more than 72 per cent of the total establishments. Manufacturing establishments followed retail trade with 8.32 million people employed.

    However, if claims of those protesting modernisation of retail are seen, the figures of report suggest the reverse, as the protestors say that modern retail is killing employment. Hence, while businesses are growing, employment and economy is on the rise, and so is what all surveys and reports of the government suggest, can we believe the modern retail business will soon be accepted by all, is still a matter of wait and watch.

    — By Ranjan Kaplish