How NDA Compares With UPA On Government Workforce

This story was first published on Livemint.

For a government whose stated calling card is “minimum government, maximum governance”, for a government battling to create jobs, its own house paints another picture: in four years under this Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the number of central government employees is projected to increase 7.2%.

Staff strength

In the past, even the government—more specifically, the Fifth Pay Commission—has said the central government is overstaffed. So, what has happened to the government in the past 14 years? The number of central government employees under United Progressive Alliance-I (UPA-I) rule fell 2.7% and those under UPA-II rose 3.4%. In the four years under BJP, the number of central government employees is projected to increase 7.2% by 2017-18. And across ministries, an increase is projected for 50 out of 55 ministries.


Top 20 ministries

Just 20 of the 55 ministries account for 98% of the 2017-18 projected central government staff. Even among them, just four ministries account for 91% of staff: railways, home affairs (includes Delhi Police), communications (includes India Post) and finance. Under the previous two UPA governments, several of the top 20 ministries registered cuts. But under the present government, 19 have seen an increase in staff strength, the exception being health and family welfare.


Where is the increase of government employees happening?

239,453: That’s the total addition to central government employees projected between 2013-14 and 2017-18. While about 70% of this addition is earmarked for three ministries—finance, home and defence—sizeable numbers are also being added in other ministries. In finance, the big increase is in direct taxes and indirect taxes departments, both of which are expected to double their counts.


How are salaries increasing?

In 2017-18, the central government is projected to pay one-tenth of its budget in salaries to employees. In the last 14 years, a period that has seen the recommendations of two Pay Commissions being implemented, the total salary outgo has increased at a compounded annual rate of 14%. As a result, the median salary of ministries has increased more than four-fold.


2017-18 figures are projections for the year made by the government in February 2017; figures exclude defence forces personnel. is a database and search engine for public data.



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Profiling: Hindi Vs Non Hindi Markets

One way to understand the market is through the language spoken by consumers. And in India, it can be broadly divided into Hindi and non-Hindi speaking population. The data can be further sliced to look at differences between Hindi speaking states.

For example, Chandigarh is vastly different from Patna in all aspects – demographics to economic affluence. This article is an attempt to understand the major differences between the Hindi and non-Hindi speaking markets through three parameters – urbanisation, education and female population. In the next article, we’ll look at what people own in these two markets.

We have considered 14 states as Hindi speaking states, mainly based on percentage of people who can talk in Hindi as per 2001 Census data (Yes, that’s the last time Census released data on languages spoken). Marathi is the mother tongue for Maharashtra, but they would come under Hindi speaking state because a large proportion of the population can talk in Hindi. A detailed table can be seen at the end of this article.

What can these indicators speak of:
Urbanisation – more non-farm employment opportunities, higher share of service sector jobs, more opportunities to move ahead economically
Literacy – ability to read and understand issues and take an informed decision.
Share of female population – how are women treated in the society.

In terms of population, Hindi speaking states account for nearly two-thirds of India’s population. But in other parameters – urbanisation, literacy and share of female population – they lag behind.

State-wise data on the parameters used in the analysis, see the map below.

In the second-part of the series in understanding Hindi vs Non-Hindi speaking markets, we will look at affluence as measured by ownership of assets like two or four wheelers etc. For more data, please check, India’s most granular database covering all the 715,000 geographical locations.

(John is co-founder of How India Lives)

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How does India commute to work?  

With the current debate raging over Delhi metro fare hike and its feasibility, How India Lives takes a look at how Indians living in 8 mega-cities commute to work.

We analysed Census 2011 dataset for Indians who are neither employed in agriculture nor in household industries living in 8 of India’s biggest cities – Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow and Mumbai.

A large proportion of them, ~36%, either live at their place of work, or have little to no distance to commute, while only ~20% commute more than 10 kilometres every day.

In India, traditional cities were developed in a way that required little or no commute as people chose to live close to work as long-distance commuting essentially impacted their earnings. This trend is clearly manifested in the visualization below, where close to three-quarters of all working people live within 10 kilometres of their workplace. Metro is mainly used for longer trips, with average trips close to 16 kilometres.

In the 8 cities, walking is still the most preferred mode of commuting, largely because of small distances to work. In Delhi-NCR, 22% walk to work and only a minuscule 3% take the train. Except Mumbai, where an equal proportion take the train and walk to work (25%), buses cater to the second largest proportion of people commuting to work. Given the length of the average commute even in top Indian cities, buses and other means of public transport cater to a much larger share of the population while receiving only a fraction of the total investments.

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