NCEUS Reports

October 20, 2013

The National Commission on Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector (NCEUS) was created on September 20, 2004 by the first United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in accordance with its common minimum programme (CMP) that committed it “to ensure the welfare and well-being of all workers particularly those in the unorganized sector who constitute 93 percent of our workforce”. Under the chairmanship of the late Arjun Sengupta, the NCEUS published several detailed reports that have provided accurate measures of the size of the unorganized sector and have highlighted the abysmal conditions prevailing there. Perhaps it is not incorrect to suggest that the credit for making the unorganized sector a part of contemporary public discourse falls, in large measure, on the NCEUS.

The NCEUS has brought much needed clarity to discussions of the unorganized (or informal) workers by defining them as those who lack employment security, work security and social security. It has highlighted the low wages (or earnings) and bargaining power of informal workers, which makes them not only poor but also vulnerable. For instance, the large overlap between the poor and the group of informal workers was brought into public discourse by one of the early NCEUS reports which came out with the oft-quoted figure that 77 percent of the population spent less than Rs 20 per day in 2004-05.

The NCEUS highlighted the complete lack of growth of organized employment during the phase of rapid growth in India since the early 1990s. Virtually all the growth in employment since 1991 has been informal employment. This led the NCEUS to conclude that the growth process had bypassed the majority of the Indian population. To correct this distortion and to re-orient the growth process to serve the needs of the majority of the Indian working population, the NCEUS made many sensible recommendations and urged some relevant legislation.

Most of these suggestions were ignored by the government. Instead, the NCEUS was quietly folded up. Even its website has been taken down. Therefore, the NCEUS reports, which were once available on the NCEUS website, are no longer available. Even though these reports are a little dated, they remain important documents of Indian political economy, providing detailed information about the working and livelihood conditions of the majority of the Indian working population. Hence, Sanhati is hosting some of the NCEUS reports so as to be easily available to the interested activist, researcher and public intellectual.

1. Reports on Social Security – May 2006

2. National Policy on Urban Street Vendors – May 2006

3. NCEUS (2007) Report on conditions of work and promotion of livelihoods in the unorganised sector – August 2007
[pdf, 5 MB]

4. Financing of Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector and Creation of a National Fund for the Unorganised Sector (NAFUS) – November 2007
[pdf, 35 MB]

5. Reports on Definitional and Statistical Issues relating to Informal Economy – November 2008
[pdf, 22MB]

6. A Special Programme for Marginal and Small Farmers – December 2008
[pdf, 8 MB]

7. Growth Pole programme for Unorganised Sector Enterprise Development – April 2009
[pdf, 10 MB]

8. The Challenge of Employment in India (Vol.I)
[pdf, 8 MB]

The Challenge of Employment in India (Vol. II) – Annexures – April 2009
[pdf, 0.5 MB]

9. Skill Formation and Employment Assurance in the Unorganised Sector – April 2009
[pdf, 4 MB]

10. A Report on Technology Upgradation for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector – April 2009
[pdf, 3 MB]

11. NCEUS on impact of global recession -1 (undated)

Working Papers

1. Measures of labour force participation and utilization – January 2008

2. Contribution of the Unorganised Sector to GDP – March 2008. Report of the Sub Committee of a NCEUS Task Force.
[pdf, 1.5 MB]