India Labor Market

Although India has become increasingly industrialized and has developed a modern and comprehensive service sector, more than half of the working population in agriculture lives. During the 2010s, India’s labor market laws have been revised to better suit modern enterprise.

Industry and the service sector are estimated to employ just under a quarter of the workforce each. However, the boundaries between different activities are fluid and a large part of the workforce is at least periodically employed. Many are also found in the informal market.

The official unemployment rate is low, but in reality the number of blacks is high. In fact, unemployment, especially among young people, is one of the biggest challenges facing politicians. Around a million young Indians come out to the labor market every month.

The country’s public sector employs a disproportionate share of the labor force. India is known for its extensive state administration and bureaucracy, which politicians are now trying to do something about. India also has a relatively large number of state-run companies, although a sale has been going on since the early 1990s. Gradually, productivity in agriculture and industry has increased and more high-quality jobs have been added.

The government is trying to support the private sector through cheaper loans to entrepreneurs. In particular, they want to favor the creation of medium-sized companies, as the majority of private companies have a maximum of a handful of employees.

  • COUNTRYAAH: List of key population facts of India, covering most basic population data, religion statistics, and language profiles.

India Population

Although it is permitted to form trade unions freely, most Indians are not unionized and the trade union movement is divided along religious and political divisions and even caste affiliations. There are thousands of unions, most of them at the state level.

Child labor has been banned since 2012, but many children under the age of 14 still work with things like sewing or housework, sometimes under slave-like conditions and for low wages. Since much of the child labor takes place in the home, it is easier to hide than factory work and thus more difficult to access.

Many girls are exploited as prostitutes in the sex industry. Since 2013 there has been a law to protect women from sexual harassment in the workplace. There are also laws that regulate such things as minimum wages, working hours and workplace safety, but compliance with the laws is not always the best.

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2.6 percent (2019)

Youth Unemployment

10.5 percent (2019)



Court gives Italian marines prosecutorial immunity

July 2

The Permanent Arbitration Tribunal in The Hague states that the two Italian marines that India wants to answer for killing two Indian fishermen in 2012 are entitled to prosecution immunity. The case of the killed fish has created strong tensions in relations between India and Italy. The Marines have been prosecuted in India since the shooting deaths as the Indian fishing boat approached an Italian oil tanker off the coast of Kerala and the marines guarding the tanker for pirate attacks chose to fire. Italy took the case to the Permanent Arbitration Court in 2015 because it was believed that the shooting deaths occurred on international waters. India requires the soldiers to be tried in India, a requirement which the court urges the country to abandon. However, the court says that India is entitled to damages.


Local shutdowns

June 29

India is further opened up by allowing more domestic flights and train lines to resume traffic. Instead, India is trying to introduce a series of strict local shutdowns in areas that are particularly hard hit. Schools, subways, cinemas, gyms and swimming pools are examples of places that are still kept closed throughout the country. India has 550,000 confirmed cases of covid-19 and nearly 17,000 deaths from viral disease.

Over half a million coronas infected

June 27

India has passed half a million confirmed cases of coronavirus infections, according to Indian government statistics. Over the past 24 hours, 18,500 new infections were added. The virus is spread in many parts of the country, but the epidemic has come a long way in different parts. The worst affected are currently the big cities, including New Delhi and Bombay.

China releases Indian soldiers

June 18

China releases ten Indian soldiers arrested in connection with clashes at the Indian-Ladakh border with Chinese-controlled Aksai Chin in the Himalayas, when at least 20 Indian and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers were killed. The releases are taking place at the same time as military and diplomatic talks are going on between the two countries to reduce tensions between them.

The spread of infection is accelerating

17th of June

In India, over 2,000 new deaths are recorded in covid-19 over a day. A total of 11,903 confirmed deaths in covid-19 have occurred in the country. India is now one of the countries in the world where the spread of the corona virus is fastest. The number of confirmed corona infections is over 354,000 at the time. It is mainly the major cities such as Delhi and Bombay that are hit hard. Chennai is forced to close down again after the spread of infection has gained new momentum in connection with the gradual opening up of society.

India is a member of the UN Security Council

17th of June

The UN General Assembly elects four new non-permanent members of the UN Security Council for 2021 and 2022. The four are India and Mexico, Norway and Ireland. A day later, the fifth place goes to Kenya.

Twenty Indian soldiers are killed at the Ladakh-Aksai Chin border

June 15

At least 20 Indian soldiers are killed in a confrontation with Chinese soldiers in the Galan Valley at the disputed border between Ladakh and Aksai Chin in Kashmir (see Conflicts: Kashmir). The clashes are the most serious since the 1960s. No soldiers have been killed at this border since 1975. India and China are accusing each other of what happened. It is not clear if any Chinese soldiers were killed in the clash, which is not to be done with firearms but with incisions like stones, iron pipes and with their hands.

More sections of society are opening up

June 8

The Modi government is taking another step on the road towards opening the community after the total shutdown due to the corona pandemic. Religious places of worship, hotels, restaurants and malls are allowed to re-open their doors. Schools, universities, international aviation, cinemas, swimming pools, bars and sports competitions and events belong to social functions that are still down. Nightly curfew prevails. At the time, India has nearly 175,000 confirmed cases of coronas infected people and almost 5,000 deaths in covid-19.

Increased tensions between China and India in the Himalayas

7 June

Since mid-May, Indian media have reported that hundreds, according to some sources, several thousand, Chinese soldiers have entered Indian Ladakh at the disputed border between India and China in the Himalayas. Soldiers from both sides have been involved in screen arrests on some occasions. Both countries are now reported to have carried heavy artillery and other military equipment to the border area. Tensions have increased between countries in the area since India in August 2019 divided the state of Jammu and Kashmir into the federally controlled Union Territories Ladakh as well as Jammu and Kashmir. India believes that the China-controlled region of Aksai Chin is part of Ladakh. India’s construction of a new highway to a military base in the area worries Beijing, which has therefore moved troops there. Diplomatic talks are held between the countries to find a solution to the tense situation.bilateral agreements. In May, a border dispute was also reported between the two countries of the Indian state of Sikkim, which caused Chinese and Indian soldiers to be injured after stone-throwing and fighting.


Several deaths on trains for migrant workers

May 27th

A dozen migrant workers have died on board trains specially deployed to transport this vulnerable group from the big cities to their hometowns. It reports media and official sources. The deaths reported in media have been caused by poor conditions on the trains, where food and water are not enough and where it is very hot on board. However, the authority of the Indian Railways says that those who have died have been old and chronically ill persons.

Domestic flight back into the air

May 25

As part of the opening of India after the extensive shutdown in connection with the corona pandemic, domestic air traffic is again allowed. International flights are still prohibited.

Support to the country’s companies

May 12

Prime Minister Modi presents an economic stimulus package equivalent to 10 percent of the country’s GDP. The $ 266 billion package is intended to make it easier for employees and for SMEs affected by the effects of the corona pandemic. No details about the stimulus package are revealed, but Modi stresses that India needs to become more self-sufficient and that Indians should buy locally produced goods to support the country’s businesses. In April, about 122 million Indians lost their jobs, according to the Bombay-based think tank Center for Monitoring Indian Economy. India currently has around 70,000 confirmed cases of covid-19 and 2,293 deaths.

The trains start rolling again

May 12

Passenger traffic on India’s railways is gradually resumed. The routes that start to go first go between New Delhi and big cities like Bombay, Bangalore and Madras. Everyone on board must wear a mouthguard.

Indian guest workers are brought home

May 7

India is launching a comprehensive evacuation of citizens trapped abroad during the corona crisis. India will both fly home migrants and take home workers with ships, but those who accept yes can expect to pay for the trip. By May 13, nearly 15,000 foreign-working Indians will be assisted in returning home. In total, some 200,000 Indian citizens have applied for assistance with the return journey from, among others, the United Arab Emirates, Maldives, Qatar, the United States, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Malaysia.

Militant leader in Kashmir is killed

May 6

Riyaz Naikoo, the supreme leader of Hizbul Mujahedin, is killed when Indian soldiers in the morning blow up two houses in Beighpora in southern Kashmir valley. The blasts occur in connection with a series of raids on buildings where militant separatists are suspected to be. Hizbul Mujahedin is the largest militant resistance group in Indian-controlled Kashmir. For fear of violent protests against Riyaz Naikoo’s death, the authorities temporarily shut down mobile and Internet services in Kashmir. Despite this, hundreds of protesters clash with police in the disputed area. Riyaz Naikoo took over the leadership of Hizbul Mujahedin after Burhan Wani was killed in 2016. At least 60 militant opponents have been killed in Kashmir this year, AFP news agency reports.

Muslims become scapegoats

May 5th

Through mainly social media, misleading information is disseminated that portrays Muslims as guilty of the spread of the corona virus. Films are distributed in various media that allegedly show how Muslims violate the quarantine rules and how, for example, they lick fruit in markets. Radical Hindu nationalists are suspected to be behind the hate campaigns, leading to increased hatred and violence in reality as well.


Help with home trips within the country

April 30th

The millions of migrant workers who lost their jobs during the corona crisis should be helped to return to their families in rural areas, the Modi government announces. The assistance will come from the state governments and the government of New Delhi. Many of the migrant workers have migrated home to their villages from the big cities, where they have previously been able to support themselves on temporary jobs. Other day-paid workers are trapped in collection camps at the state borders when closed to curb the spread of viruses. The government says that the workers, together with students and tourists, should be able to go home in special buses if they do not show symptoms of covid-19. The Congress party criticizes the fact that migrant workers have to pay for the return journey themselves and says that the party should offer them bus money.

Over 1,000 dead in covid-19

April 29

India passes 1,000 confirmed deaths in covid-19 after noting the highest number of pandemic deaths in a day: 73. However, the death toll is significantly lower than in Europe and the United States, despite large slums and a deficient general health care system. Many observers believe that the number of blacks is high as relatively few tests are done in India, but the country’s health clinics, hospitals and hospitals are not as crowded as in parts of the western world. Others point out that India has not yet released the quarantine rules and that an outbreak is waiting when this is done. A contributing factor may also be the low average age of the population compared to Europe and the United States. Another factor could be that even in normal cases, India has a fairly poor statistics on the number of deaths in slums and in rural areas. According to one report, just over half of all deaths are recorded in the country.

Prison for attacks on healthcare personnel

April 22

A series of assaults on doctors and nurses, for fear that they could spread coronary infection, leads to India introducing a new law that can provide seven years in prison and fines of up to $ 6,540 for attacks on healthcare professionals.

The country gradually opens up

April 20

The government eases the restrictions on agriculture and related activities. The far-reaching restrictions introduced in March to curb the spread of the corona virus have hit hard on the country’s millions of farm workers and others who work for daily wages. Examples of businesses that are allowed to open are local supermarket, bricklaying and food production. Those who start working must wear face masks and other protective clothing. Other manufacturing industries can also be opened but with minimal staff and short working hours. Oil refining, coal mining and some construction activities are also allowed.

The pandemic reaches Bombay’s slum

April 3

Corona pandemic reaches one of Asia’s largest slums, Dharavi outside Bombay, where around a million people live close together, often under difficult conditions. Two deaths in covid-19 have been confirmed in Dharavi, which is partially blocked off. It happens when India has 56 confirmed deaths in covid-19 and probably a large dark figure of corona-infected residents.

Rescue package from the World Bank

2 April

The World Bank presents a rescue package of $ 1.9 billion to be distributed among 25 developing countries. The money is a contribution to the fight against the corona pandemic. More than half the amount, $ 1 billion, goes to India, which lacks money for, among other things, protective equipment for health care personnel and tests for suspected infected persons.

Easier to get a residence permit in Kashmir

April 1st

A law is passed that gives people who have lived in Indian Kashmir for 15 years or have studied there for seven years the right to permanent residence permit.


Apology and relief to the poorest

March 27th

The Modi government orders all states and territories to close borders to prevent people from moving within the country. Millions of migrant workers move out of the cities when they can no longer find work and livelihood there. Modi apologizes for the country’s poorest for the far-reaching measures against the corona pandemic but says they are necessary. He promises a $ 22 billion rescue package to the country’s poorest households. Camps are starting to be built outside the big cities for migrant workers to gather there.

India is being quarantined

March 25th

Prime Minister Modi is basically shutting down all of India with its 1.3 billion inhabitants in an effort to prevent the spread of the corona virus that now appears to have taken off in the country. The closure serves as a curfew and anyone who violates this can be punished with two years in prison and a fine. As a direct result of Modi’s message, lots of Indians rush to the stores to stock up on food and other supplies. Modi tweeted an appeal to the people not to panic. All kinds of public gatherings are prohibited and all public means of communication are at a standstill. People with jobs in health care, police and media are exempted from an order to stay home.

Domestic flight is stopped

March 25th

All domestic flights for passengers are canceled in an attempt to slow down the spread of the new corona virus.

Month-long seat demonstration breaks up

24th of March

The authorities are breaking up the seat demonstration against the new citizenship laws that have been going on in Delhi for about a month. The police action is being done because crowds of people have been banned as a result of the spread of the new corona virus.

Shipping and train traffic are stopped

24th of March

All passenger traffic on rivers and offshore is stopped to slow the spread of the new corona virus. Almost all train traffic (not freight) is canceled.

One day curfew

March 22

Prime Minister Modi calls for a day’s curfew across India to test the nation’s ability to deal with the corona pandemic. At the same time, all international air traffic to India is banned. All citizens under 10 years and over 65 are advised to stay at home. The private sector of the economy is urged to ask its employees to work from home as far as possible.

Group rapists are executed

March 20

Four men convicted of group rape and the murder of a female student on a Delhi bus 2012 are executed by hanging in a jail in Delhi. The brutal crime sparked a storm of protest throughout India against widespread sexual violence against women. A number of legislative changes were made to strengthen women’s rights and improve their situation. In India, around 95 rapes are reported per day. The figure probably hides a large number of blackouts of abuse that are never reported.

The Taj Mahal is closed to visitors

March 17

The Taj Mahal and all other monuments and museums are closed to the public because of the corona pandemic. Most schools and entertainment venues such as bars and cinemas are kept closed around the country.

Politicians in Kashmir are released

the 13th of March

Indian authorities release Kashmiri politician Faruq Abdullah, 82, who has been in house arrest in Srinagar since Jammu and Kashmir lost their self-government (see August 2019). It is unclear why Abdullah is released right now. Abdullah was one of a number of local politicians detained in connection with the police strike against the protest actions that erupted when Kashmir’s self-government was abolished.

Measures against coronary pandemic

the 12th of March

India stops issuing tourist visas in an attempt to curb the spread of the new corona virus, which has caused a pandemic. Travelers arriving from seven particularly virus-affected countries (China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain and Germany) will be quarantined for at least 14 days upon arrival in India. For the time being, all government ministers will cancel their trips abroad. Most border crossings to Bangladesh and Myanmar are closed. In Delhi, the authorities are closing schools, theaters and cinemas. On the same day, India reports its first death caused by the new corona virus, a 76-year-old man in the state of Karnataka in southern India.


Claws in Delhi

February 28

For a number of days, riots raged between Hindus and Muslims in the north-eastern part of Delhi, with just over 50 dead as a result. According to hospital sources, most have been shot or killed. Hundreds of people are injured and the material damage is extensive. The situation calms down when thousands of riot and military police are deployed in the violence-stricken areas. Behind the rattles is the conflict surrounding the new Citizenship Act. Protests against the law have been going on since December 2019 in various parts of India.

Summit between Modi and Trump

February 25th

US President Donald Trump is making an outstanding visit to India on February 24 and 25. He is welcomed by around 100,000 people gathered in the sports arena at the first stop of the trip, Ahmedabad in Gujarat. Trump then visits Agra and New Delhi. The main focus of the visit is the two countries’ common interest in limiting China’s influence in South Asia. A defense contract worth $ 3 billion is signed. The countries also enter into agreements within energy and telecom. Trade issues are discussed, but no comprehensive trade agreement is reached. Trade relations are strained; Trump is trying to reduce US $ 25 billion deficit in trade with India. Both sides have introduced import duties on a number of goods.

Wanted terrorist imprisoned in Pakistan

February 12

Hafiz Said, who is suspected of having planned the terrorist attack in Bombay in 2008, is sentenced to six years in prison in Pakistan for other terrorist offenses. Said, who is to serve his sentence in Lahore, is wanted in India for the bombing in Bombay when ten militant Islamists with guns, grenades and other weapons killed 166 people and injured hundreds. It took the Indian authorities three days to restore the tranquility of the city. Said is a minister and is regarded by both the UN and the United States as a global terrorist leader.

Big electoral loss for BJP in Delhi

February 8

In the state elections in Delhi, the BJP suffers a troublesome defeat. Anti-Corruption Party Ordinary People’s Party (AAP) wins by a wide margin over Hindu BJP. AAP receives almost 54 percent of the vote (62 out of 70 seats) while BJP receives only 38.5 percent (8 seats). The turnout is close to 63 percent.

House arrest is extended for politicians in Kashmir

6th of February

Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, both former chief ministers in Jammu and Kashmir, are forced to remain in house arrest in accordance with the PSA (Public Safety Act). The two politicians were arrested on August 5, 2019 when New Delhi revoked the former state’s special status on far-reaching self-government. With the support of the PSA, a person can be detained for up to two years without being prosecuted. An estimated 1,000 people are believed to have been arrested since August 5 as they opposed the Modi government’s decision to take direct control of Jammu and Kashmir.

India is investing in arms exports

February 5

India will export defense equipment worth $ 5 billion over the next five years, says Prime Minister Modi, who named the initiative “Made in India”. It is a doubling of the current Indian arms exports. Today, India is the world’s second largest arms importer after Saudi Arabia. India’s largest arms supplier is Russia.

Incentive measures for the economy

February 1st

GDP growth in India in 2019 was the lowest since the 2008 financial crisis, official statistics show. The slowdown is partly due to a global economic downturn and partly to the fact that India receives fewer foreign investments and that the manufacturing industry is slowing down. Unemployment is at a record high; 1.2 million Indians enter the country’s labor market every month. In order to increase domestic consumption and foreign investment willingness, the government allows a larger budget deficit than planned for 2020; public costs are allowed to be higher than planned and some taxes are lowered, for example for low-income earners. Farmers receive increased support for investments in solar energy; The idea is that they should be able to sell electricity to the local electricity market.


The European Parliament postpones voting on India

30th of January

The European Parliament is pushing a vote on a resolution against India’s Citizenship Act following intensive lobbying by the Indian government. Prime Minister Modi will visit Brussels in March for a meeting with the Union’s highest leader.

Internet again available in Kashmir

January 26

Indian authorities allow the internet to become available again in Indian Kashmir after blocking the network in the area for over five months (see August 2019). The 2G network for mobile telephony also works, while social media is still blocked.

HD does not stop the Citizenship Act

January 22

The Supreme Court gives the government four weeks to respond to 144 complaints filed against the Citizenship Act. However, the court does not stop the implementation of the law, as many of its opponents demanded. Those who have appealed against the law believe that it contravenes the constitution, since it means that citizenship becomes dependent on religious affiliation. Those who appeal are, for example, political parties, Muslim groups and individual organizations. The law has raised mass protests in large parts of the country since it was adopted (see December 2019). Some 30 people have been killed in the violent protests.

Modi’s car is attacked

January 12

The nationwide protests against the new Citizenship Act are entering its second month. Police use batons to disperse upset protesters from reaching Prime Minister Modi’s car during a visit to Calcutta in West Bengal. The visit is preceded by massive protests with tens of thousands of participants. The West Bengal government has strongly opposed the law and says it should not apply in the state. Modi comments on the event that the protesters are “misled”. About 100 protesters are arrested. Since the protests against the law broke out in December 2019, some 30 people have been killed in clashes with police. Most of them are Muslims.

Dozens of people are injured in attack at universities

January 5

About 30 students and teachers are injured when masked perpetrators with batons and iron pipes go under attack at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University campus in Delhi. Doctors and nurses who come to the site are also attacked. Some students accuse Hindu nationalists of being behind the violence and believe the police on the spot remained passive. The BJP, for its part, gives the blame to leftist student groups. Police say for media that “competing student unions” organized the violence. The incident leads to new mass protests around India. A conflict over student fees means that the situation has been tense at the university since November 2019.

India Labor Market