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

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Is Periodic Labour Force Survey, 2017–18 Comparable with Employment–Unemployment Survey, 2011–12?

Towards improving the existing system of collecting data on socio-economic parameters, the National Sample Survey Office introduced the Periodic Labour Force Survey in 2017–18 by replacing its previous quinquennial rounds on the employment–unemployment situation. There has been a significant restructuring of the previously existing questionnaire, survey methodology, and inquiry schedule. The advantages of the new PLFS data are listed, and inputs for further improvements are provided.


The authors are grateful to M M Rehman for his valuable comments on the draft version of this article.

The objective of poverty reduction and inclusive development has long been on the nation’s development agenda. To develop a strategy to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), such as SDG 1 (end poverty in all its forms everywhere), SDG 4 (ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all), SDG 5 (achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls), SDG 8 (promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all) and SDG 10 (reduce inequality within and among countries), the availability of a comprehensive and reliable database on labour statistics is required. In fulfilling the objectives enshrined in the SDGs, understanding the source of the problem, and, in the case of policymaking, a sound system of collection and dissemination of comprehensive and reliable data on labour statistics at regular intervals are needed.

The quinquennial surveys on Employment–Unemployment Survey (EUS) of the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) provided relevant data at a regular frequency. Collected, compiled and published by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), the NSSO survey on the EUS provided information on key features of the labour force as well as the status of decent work. The NSSO began to collect data on the EUS from its 9th round in 1955. Based on the recommendations of the Dantwala Committee, the expert committee on unemployment estimates set up by the Planning Commission in 1970, the conceptual framework of this survey has served the purpose to quite an extent. Since then, this survey has evolved as an integral part of the “quinquennial household socio-economic survey programme” of the NSSO (2016). Thereafter, the EUS has been conducted on a more regular basis (that is, on quinquennial basis, with an average interval of five years) starting from the 27th round during October 1972–September 1973. It was discontinued after the 68th round conducted during 2011–12.

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Updated On : 21st Jan, 2020
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