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Official statistics suggest that overall labor-force participation declined between 2011 and 2015, with fewer than 2 million new jobs created annually.If those numbers were the whole story, then India, a country where 16 million people reach working age every year, would be heading for economic trouble. First, the Labor Bureau's figures do not provide a full accounting of the country's labor force; many of India's 460 million workers, especially the self-employed, are simply uncounted in official surveys.As India's labor market evolves in line with the shift toward a nonagricultural economy, the creation of "gainful employment" – safer, higher-paid and more productive jobs – will be the true measure of economic health.In fact, on close examination, the data shows that agricultural employment shrunk by around 26 million jobs from 2011 to 2015, while the number of nonfarm jobs rose by 33 million.Fortunately, gainful employment already is being stimulated across India. The government's increased spending on infrastructure and social services is creating new work opportunities for an estimated 7 million workers, and at wages that are 70 percent higher than farm-related work. Since 2014, these three sources of employment have created high-quality work opportunities for as many as 26 million Indians.
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