This paper summarizes the arguments and counterarguments within the scientific discussion on the issue of vulnerable employment prevailing in Asia with special emphasis on India. The main purpose of the research is to explore the infusion and extent of vulnerability in the workers domain and how in the Indian perspective it poses a socio-economic challenge. Systematization of literary sources and approaches for solving the problem of vulnerable employment indicate that such employment is not sustainable and is not conducive to a robust workforce, steady economic growth and social stability. In fact evidence suggests that such trend leads to social unrest. The relevance of the decision to probe this scientific problem is that, there exists a need to review the classical definition of vulnerable employment in the Indian scenario and examine how certain socio-economic factors affect the occurrence of vulnerable employment and/or reinforces the adverse effects of vulnerability on the already affected labor force. In this paper, investigation of the topic is carried out in the following logical sequence. First the scope of vulnerable employment in India is specified. Subsequently socio-economic parameters are identified that are responsible for and responsive to it. The methodology used here is a narrative one based on Statistical Reports and Results of Census and other socio-economic surveys by reputed Governmental and NonGovernmental Organizations. Reports and Results of these organizations have been chosen owing to their worldwide coverage such as the ILO (International Labor Organization) Reports and also pan Indian coverage as in Results of Census by Office of The Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India, Government of India (GoI), Statistical Reports of National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), GoI, Central Statistical Organization (CSO), GoI and Ministry of Labour, GoI. The availability of relevant and recent datasets has been taken into account in choosing them. The results of the analysis presented in the paper is that factors like Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Gender Gross Domestic Product (Gender GDP),Living Standards, Labor Laws and Terms of Employment, The Means of Earnings of the Employed, Educational Qualification and Skill Set, scope of Job Enrichment through Professional avenues and Skill Enhancement opportunities, favorable work environment are some factors that actively contribute to the making of and deepening the vulnerability component in labor force. The paper empirically and theoretically proves that addressing the issue of vulnerable employment requires major socio-economic changes and poses a challenge for countries like India. The results of the research can be useful in mitigating the problem at hand by undertaking reforms that influence these identified factors. Reforms need to be undertaken on multifarious platforms both by Governmental and key NonGovernmental agents. The results may further be used for future research to develop a composite index to assess the extent of vulnerable employment, based on the above discussion along with additional identified factors. This will help to take effective steps towards addressing the issue, else other attempts to bring about equitable growth, social justice and poverty alleviation might be thwarted.
Keywords: vulnerable employment, India, labor statistics, socio-economic challenges, means of earnings, job enrichment, gender GDP, work environment, female work participation, work participation rate, Consumer Price Index.
JEL Classification: E24.
Cite as: Gupta, A., Guha, M. (2018). Vulnerable Employment is a Socio-Economic Challenge in Indian Perspective. SocioEconomic Challenges, 4(2), 69-79. DOI: http://doi.org/10.21272/sec.2(4).69-79.2018