IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 21st Nov 2020

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020-21.

EDITORIAL HUNT #253 :“Time Use Survey vs SDG 2030 | UPSC

Time Use Survey vs SDG 2030 | UPSC

Indira Hirway
Time Use Survey vs SDG 2030 | UPSC

Indira Hirway is Director and Professor of Economics, Center For Development Alternatives, Ahmedabad


The ‘Time Use Survey’ as an opportunity lost


Gaps in the Indian version’s data will impact Sustainable Development Goal 5.4 and the ILO’s resolution on defining work

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : 3 : SDG : Labour : Right to Work


Indian Time Use Survey, 2019 has missed two important opportunities — of implementing the SDG and the ILO’s important resolution.Elucidate-(GS 3)


  • India Time Use Survey, 2019
  • Right to Work
  • Break points in the survey


The all India Time Use Survey, 2019 (TUS) has just been published by the Government of India.
  • COMMENDABLE EFFORTS : As a survey that has covered the entire country for the first time, the National Statistical Office needs to be complimented for accomplishing the task.
  • SIGNIFICANCE : The “Time Use Survey, or TUS, provides a framework for measuring time dispositions by the population on different activities.

Time Use Survey vs SDG 2030 | UPSC


  • MOTIVE : Its primary objective is to measure participation of men and women in paid and unpaid activities.

TUS is an important source of information on the time spent in unpaid care-giving activities, volunteer work, unpaid domestic service producing activities of the household members.



  • ROUTINE OBSERVATIONS : It also provides information on time spent on learning, socializing, leisure activities, self-careactivities, etc.,by the household members.
  • TIMELINE : The data collection was done for one day — normal or other day in a 24-hour time diary, beginning at 4 a.m. and till 4 a.m. the next day.

In developed countries where literacy is high, time use is recorded in a 24-hour time diary by the respondents themselves, using 10-15 minute time slots. 

  • DEPRECIATED TIME SLOTS : In India, where literacy is low, the time diary was filled in by interviewers in 30 minute time slots through face-to-face interviews.


Two recent developments which have pushed up the demand for TUS globally are the commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030

  • UN RESOLUTION : The path-breaking Resolution of the 19th International Conference on Labour Statistics,- International Labour Organization has raised focus on TUS..
  • COMMITMENT TO SDG : The Government of India is fully committed to the SDGs and has also indicated its inclination to implementing the second.
  • DATA INTERPRETATION : TUS data are also required for understanding and monitoring major socio-economic concerns of countries.

Time Use Survey vs SDG 2030 | UPSC


Somehow, both these developments have not been incorporated in this first time use survey.

  • COMPREHENSIVE FRAMEWORK : Time use data are needed for implementing not only the SDG 5.4 on unpaid work, but also for implementing the SDG-1 to the SDG-10.
  • SCATTERED INFORMATION : Even for the SDG 5.4 — considered to be the most important SDG for measuring and valuing unpaid domestic servicesand unpaid care by women and men — the Indian TUS data are not adequate.
  • DATA DEFICIENCY : This valuation is not adequate, because it values only the labour input and leaves out the capital and technology used.
  • COMPUTATIONS AND RECORDS : Satellite accounts of unpaid work, however, takes into consideration capital/technology while computing the accounts.


Satellite accounts are supplementary statistics that allow analysis of a particular aspect of the economy, such as spending on travel and tourism

  • Satellite accounts of unpaid work use the principal functions concept, which can be compared with the national accounts functions.
  • Under this approach, unpaid work is presented in terms of this classification of the functions.
  • It is similar to the classification of the functions under the national-accounts.
  • These accounts would be comparable with the national income accounts, and measure the correct contribution of unpaid work to the GDP.


  • ASSETS AND ACCOUNTING : This accounting requires information on the assets of a household that includes assets used in domestic services, vehicles used in travel and commuting, and consumer durables, etc.
  • AGGREGATE WAGES : The accounting also requires wage rates prevailing in different locations.

In the absence of this information, valuation will not be feasible in satellite accounts. 

  • GENDER DATA : Since there is no data collected on the ownership of the assets by gender, valuation by gender will not be feasible.


  • The ILO’s Resolution — referred to above — presents a new definition of work, new forms of work and a new labour force status classification.

It defines “work” as “any activity performed by persons of any sex and age to produce goods or provide services for use by others or own use”.

  • The TUS does not even have employment as one of the objectives of the TUS.


  • Employment(production of goods and services for pay, profit or barter);
  • Own use production of goods and services by households;
  • Unpaid trainee work,
  • Volunteer work;
  • Other work (compulsory work performed without pay to produce goods/services for others).

Unpaid domestic services and unpaid care are now formally recognised as “work” for the first time.

      IASbhai Windup: 


  • UNDER-REPORTED DATA : Indian Employment/Unemployment Surveys, or EUS, tend to under-report informal workers, due to the nature of informal employment.
  • SHORT TERM SCOPE : Being frequently intermittent, scattered, temporary, short term or unstable, it is frequently not reported accurately by the EUS.

Again, women frequently view work as a part of household work and under-report it.

  • PARTIAL INFORMATION : The EUS are not equipped to collect data on multiple jobs performed by people, the time spent on work (i.e. intensity of work).


  • WORKFORCE CHARACTERISTICS : The TUS, which collects comprehensive information on all human activities, provides improved estimates of the workforce as well as shed light on important characteristics of the workforce.
  • RECORDING EVENTS : A TUS collects data only for one or two days per person in a week, while according to the ILO, “a person is a worker if she/he has spent at least one hour on work in the reference week”.
  • INFORMAL WORK : As informal work is frequently intermittent and irregular, the TUS information on one day’s work (for less than one hour) or non-work cannot qualify the person to be a worker or non-worker.
  • EMPLOYMENT NUMBERS : Thus, the TUS cannot provide information on the workforce/employment status of persons.

It is necessary, therefore, to draw the TUS sample (which is always smaller) from the same sampling framework that is used by the labour force survey (EUS), with some common units.

  • RENDERING ESTIMATES : The independent TUS cannot provide estimates of the workforce/labour force.

In short, the Indian TUS has missed two important opportunities — of implementing the SDG 5.4 and the ILO’s important resolution.

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Time Use Survey vs SDG 2030 | UPSC


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