ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by K P KannanSubscribe to K P Kannan

Loss of Job, Work, and Income in the Time of COVID-19

The counter-intuitive nature of the results of the Periodic Labour Force Survey 2019–20 is unravelled by arguing that in a situation of exogeneous shock, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the poor and vulnerable working people will be forced to engage in some kind of economic activity for sustaining

COVID-19 Lockdown: Protecting the Poor Means Keeping the Indian Economy Afloat

Recognising the strong link between work and poverty, and the crucial role the working poor play in the functioning of the larger economy, it is imperative for the government to roll out adequate measures in order to mitigate the adverse impact of the unprecedented economic inactivity.

A Low Growth, No Employment and No Hope Budget for ‘Aspirational India’

The Union Budget of 2020 is conspicuous by its non-recognition of the ongoing and widely discussed slowdown of the economy, let alone its impact on the different sections of the people. Given the negative growth in employment and consumption in the rural economy, the budget seems like a cruel joke on the plight of the poor, in general, and women, in particular. Instead of measures for boosting the aggregate demand, especially in the rural economy, the government has exhibited a track record of aiding the process of wealth creation for corporate capital and throwing a few crumbs to the middle class. What comes out crudely and sharply is the ideological predilections of the regime in power.


From Jobless to Job-loss Growth

The unprecedented decline in the absolute number of workers in the Indian economy in recent times has been a subject of debate and a matter of public concern. A closer look at the data for the period 2011–12 and 2017–18 shows that it is the net result of a dynamic process of job creation and destruction. Those who have lost jobs are all with low education, that is, less than secondary level of education. From a gender perspective, rural women workers are the net losers. From a social point of view, the net losers belong to two groups: Muslims and Hindu Other Backward Classes. These are clear signs of rural India in distress with strong gender and social dimensions.

Growth, Employment and Labour through a Budget Lens

Despite the rhetoric in the budget speech of the finance minister, the larger picture emerging from the recent data is a slowdown in growth and a net decline in employment. Not only is this a case of jobless growth, but also one of job-displacing growth. Men have gained and women have lost. The rural economy has suffered the most. In the meantime, there is a process of downgrading the rights of labour. There is very little to cheer about the economy.

Corporate Capitalism in the Name of Social Security

The many schemes that have been announced in the name of social security are limited in scope and the quantum of security they prefer. The promotional schemes will also be linked to the market and will benefit the insurance companies. In the meanwhile, basic social security programmes are either ignored or provided limited funding

Counting and Profiling the Missing Labour Force

This comment on "Where Is the Missing Labour Force?" (EPW, 24 September 2011) attempts to answer four questions: (1) What is the magnitude of the decline in the labour force and which segment of the population has been affected most during the two surveys, 2004-05 and 2009- 10? (2) What proportion of the decline can be attributed to an increase in enrolment for education? (3) What is the economic status of those who dropped out of the labour force for reasons other than education? (4) What is the extent of decline in the workforce, of which labour status and from which sectors of the economy?

India's Common People: The Regional Profile

The measurement and analysis of poverty and vulnerability in the different states in India unequivocally brings out the stark hierarchical social divide that exists not only at the national level, but also at the states. The dominance of this social divide over the regional divide clearly calls for policies and programmes that are more socially sensitive and nuanced to take care of the varying regional contexts. The analysis in this paper reveals the economic gradation of poverty which is closely associated with social gradation in terms of social identity.

Agricultural Development in an Emerging Non-Agrarian Regional Economy: Kerala's Challenges

This is based on the author's Dr K N Shyamasundaran Nair Memorial Lecture delivered on 13 August 2010 at the Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur. Research assistance rendered by Varinder Jain and S Dhanya is gratefully acknowledged. K P Kannan ( is with the Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram. Changes in Kerala's economy have led to a structural transformation, giving it a non-agrarian character, both in terms of income and employment. This poses new difficulties for agricultural development at a time when there is a scarcity of labour as well as profits. The present stagnation in the state's agricultural sector has come at a time when its non-agricultural sector has been growing at more than 9% per annum. In this sense, the current challenge of rejuvenating Kerala's agriculture is of a qualitatively different kind in its developmental history. This paper probes the issue and puts forth a set of measures that are needed to meet the problem head-on.

K N Raj and the Centre for Development Studies: A Tribute

that this inheritance is safe in the hands of a young generation of talented and motivated scholars who flock to the CDS from all over India, year after year. They are the future and hope of the institution built by Raj as it wishes to remain a proud custodian of the fine traditions set by him.

Growth sans Employment: A Quarter Century of Jobless Growth in India's Organised Manufacturing

There has been considerable debate in India about the impact of growth on employment especially in the organised manufacturing sector for different periods since the early 1980s. However, changes in the coverage of the Annual Survey of Industries demand a fresh look at the issue over a longer period. This paper attempts such an analysis for 1981-82 to 2004-05. For the period as a whole as well as for two separate periods - the pre- and post-reform phases - the picture that emerges is one of "jobless growth", due to the combined effect of two trends that have cancelled each other out. One set of industries was characterised by employment-creating growth while another set by employment-displacing growth. Over this period, there has been acceleration in capital intensification at the expense of creating employment. A good part of the resultant increase in labour productivity was retained by the employers as the product wage did not increase in proportion to output growth. The workers as a class thus lost in terms of both additional employment and real wages in organised manufacturing sector.


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