Job losses will continue, says chief economic adviser


New Delhi : Job losses in India will continue into the next year due to the global slowdown, but it will be at “minimum” levels, a top government economist said here Tuesday.

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Soon after the government tabled the mid-year review of the Indian economy in parliament, Arvind Virmani, the chief economic adviser in the finance ministry, told reporters that most of the job cuts would be in the export sector as industry was hit hard by the slowdown.

“The economic slowdown has not affected the manufacturing sector much, while the service sector is the least affected,” Virmani said.

However, the government has not conducted any exhaustive survey on job cuts in India despite job losses being witnessed since middle of this year.

A sample survey conducted for the period August-October 2008 by the Department of Commerce for 121 export-related companies revealed that around 65,500 jobs (both direct and indirect) were lost.

Most of the job cuts have been in primarily employment-oriented sectors like textiles, leather, engineering, gems and jewellery, handicraft, food and food processing, minerals and marine products.

The textile industry, which largely depends on export revenue, has been hit hard. The industry employs around 35 million people.

In October, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met India’s industry leaders and requested them to avoid massive job cuts.

But retrenchment is still common, even among industry leaders, with Goldman Sachs firing 130 employees in India, and Satyam Computers giving the pink slip to 30 over fudged bills.

Corus Steel (part of Tata Steel) cut 400 jobs in Britain because of poor business conditions, and Kingfisher slashed salaries of its trainee pilots by as much as 90 percent. Jet Airways sacked over 25 expatriate pilots.