The employment scenario may be grim in Punjab, but the figures on unemployment quoted by Punjab state president Partap Singh Bajwa seem to lack basis.
Referring to the information gathered under the RTI Act, Bajwa said 18,770 industries had shut down in the past seven years during the Akali regime beginning 2007 and as per an estimate made by him 10 lakh people had been rendered jobless.
The industries department is also in a quandary as to from where the information had been sent to Bajwa and the department saw hectic activity on Wednesday to find out the source of information under the RTI which Bajwa quoted.
"I don't know what is Bajwa's source of information, because it has not gone from the industries department," said principal secretary industries Karan A Singh.
Interestingly, as per the figures given in the statistical abstract on Punjab-2012, there were a total of 17,346 industrial units in Punjab in 2011, and the number of employed was 6,27,593. The number is steadily increasing from 1980 when there were 7,053 industrial units in the state. According to the figures renewed every 10 years, contained in the abstract, the employment is also growing. In 1980, 2,01,735 people were shown employed in the state.
Bajwa said, "I may not be correct on the number of people retrenched, but on an average 50 people work in an industrial unit and when over 18,000 units are closed in the state the number of people losing jobs comes close to 10 lakh."
Dr Jasdeepak Singh, convener, RTI cell of the PPCC, said the department of industries had supplied the information contained in 4,000 pages. He added that in Amritsar alone, 8,053 industries had been shut from 2007.
The Punjab government, in a petition moved before the Supreme Court in 2009, had accepted that 204 industrial units had closed and shifted to outside states, challenging grant of tax holiday to the neighbouring states. But it doesn't have the number of people retrenched.
The PPCC president is taking a number of people retrenched purely on the hypothesis that each industrial unit has a minimum of 50 employees, but in contradiction, the industries department officials say single person managed/owned unit or enterprise is also considered an industrial unit. The department denied of having any information about the number of units shut.
Year No of ind unit No of persons employed
(as per statistical abstract of Punjab 2012)
1980 7,053 2,01,735
1990 11,396 3,67,513
2000 13,589 4,50,210
2010 17,287 6,11,844
2011 17,346 6,27,593