Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: Notwithstanding the high sounding claims by the Odisha government, the latest new payroll data released by the Employment Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) on Monday bares the chinks in employment creation potential of Odisha.

Sample The Acuteness in Odisha

As on the end of August this year, Odisha has over 6.2 lakh unemployed youths, who are fervently seeking jobs in the Covid-19 hit year. But the hopelessness scenario witnessed is the organised sector in the State that could offer new jobs to only 32,634 seekers till the end of the month ending October this year.

More shockers are to the fore. Data revealed that Odisha constituted around 1.3 per cent of total unemployed in the country. But when it comes to creation of jobs, the State could churn out a meagre 0.99 per cent of total jobs created in the organised sector in the country during the period between Apr-Oct 2020.  The share of the State in country’s new jobs in October this year dropped down further to 0.72 percent. This shows the pace of job creation in the organised sector has slowed down in Odisha vis-a-vis the country.

As per EPFO, the country as a whole saw a whopping 11.5 lakh new jobs in the organised sector this financial year for the month ending in October, but Odisha could see generation of mere 8,292 jobs during the month.

For the period of Apr-Oct this year, EPFO data shows, Odisha saw the number of new jobs totalling to 32, 634, whereas the numbers for the country as a whole stood at a whopping 32.8 lakh.

More so, among 23 major states and UTs, including Delhi and Chandigarh, Odisha stood at the bottom -10. The State figured at 6th from the bottom.

Are Lockdown Job Losses Acute in Odisha?

The EPFO data shows the country as a whole had posted widespread job losses during the lockdown period. Job shedding was so high that the net new EPFO enrolment turned negative. The new enrolments dropped by over 2.3 lakh for the period of Apr-May 2020. The only consolation fact, however, is Odisha had also seen job losses during the period, but the State didn’t witness a dip in enrolments. This shows the job loss during the lockdown was not acute in Odisha.

Job Creation Trend Across Age-Group in Odisha   

In the year 2019-20, as per the EPFO data, the total new jobs created in the State stood at around 57,510. While new jobs posted a decline in the age-group of 22-25 years in the year 2019-20, a good rise was witnessed in the age-group of 29-35 years.

Who Are Top Job Creators in India?

The top-10 major new jobs generators in country are:  Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Haryana, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Rajasthan. Odisha sits with the bottom – 10. Among neighbouring states, only Jharkhand fared poorer then Odisha in job creation in organised sectors.

Why Odisha Languishes In Bottom?

“The MSME sector footprint is poor in Odisha. The top -5 states (Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat and Haryana) have a vibrant MSME sector. For which, the job creation there has been very high. The industrial policy of Odisha is largely tilted towards capital intensive industries, which are not labour intensive like the MSMEsector,” opined Ramesh Mahapatra, President Utkal Chamber of Commerce. He further added that the MSME policy in Tamil Nadu is highly incentivised.

A Reality Check    

As per RBI report State of Finances -2020-21, the MSME units in Odisha is very low. The State has a meagre share of around 2 per cent of MSMEs in the country.  And in employment generated by MSMEs in Odisha, the share of the State is below 3 per cent. Odisha fares poorer than Bihar in this yardstick.


Are MSMEs Job Churners? 

EPFO data shows expert services like banking, finance, insurance and stocks etc are the major new job generators in the country. Other major job churners in country are trading – commercial establishments, electrical, mechanical or general engineering products.

“Unlike Maharashtra and Gujarat, Odisha is not an advanced State. Banking, finance, stocks and insurance sector grow in an economy that has high industrial growth. Odisha cannot match with Gujarat and Maharshtra. Moreover, electrical and engineering goods sectors footprint in Odisha is very poor. Therefore, Odisha emerged as a loser in both ways. Had the State government given emphasis on food processing industries, Odisha could then have the potential to figure in top-15 job generators,” explained Mahapatra.

While the MSME minister Dibya Shankar Mishra couldn’t be reached, a senior official of the department refused to say anything on record. He quipped, “We haven’t gone through the EPFO report yet.”