Public sector units, which saw a reduction in their head count in 2008-09 due to voluntary retirement schemes, have started hiring again and may return to the 2007-08 level of 15.66 lakh employees this fiscal, a senior official said.
"In the current year, the PSUs may provide gainful employment," Department of Public Sector Enterprises Secretary Bhaskar Chatterjee said.
These companies are expected to create fresh employment for 31,000 people in the current fiscal.
He said the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) and attrition were the main reasons for the head count going down in 2008-09.
"We didn't issue any pink slips in 2009-10. We didn't let (go of) people as the private sector did," in the wake of global meltdown, he said.
The employee strength in 246 state-owned companies declined to 15.35 lakh people in 2008-09 from 15.66 lakh in 2007-08, mainly due to the VRS.
Since the introduction of the VRS, between October, 1988, and March 2009, about 6.1 lakh CPSE employees have opted for it, as per the Public Enterprises Survey 2008-09.
"In the current fiscal, it could come to the earlier level (of 2007-08)," the Secretary said.
Despite the economic slowdown, the PSUs had shown a profit growth of about 8 per cent in 2008-09.
While the figures for 2009-10 have not been released, they are expected to have performed well.
Their profit was estimated to be 11 per cent of turnover in the last fiscal, which may go up to 13 per cent in 2010-11, Chatterjee said.