ASSOCHAM goes topsy-turvy on its 25% job cut study

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New Delhi, Oct 31 (UNI) Realising the political storm that it has whipped up, ASSOCHAM today withdrew its report that 25 per cent job cuts are in the offing resulting from the economic slowdown.

In a statement here, ASSOCHAM Secretary General D S Rawat said its report ''was not representative of the industrial segments in their totality.'' The volte-face by the apex chamber came after Finance Minister P Chidambaram debunked the ASSOCHAM forecast in this regard, saying that the Indian economy growing at seven per cent instead of the targeted nine per cent would only mean that the pace of creating employment will be slower.

''Our is a job creating economy, not a job destroying economy,'' Mr Chidmabaram said reacting to the ASSOCAM study.

Mr Chidambaram said the global meltdown would have an impact on the Indian economy, but not significantly as India is "still a domestic consumer driven economy." Yesterday, ASSOCHAM's rival chamber-- Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry---ruled out any immediate threat of large scale lay offs, saying this was not plausible as labour laws of the land prevent any sudden compression in the workforce.

Besides, FICCI said, as far as management level and officer level personnel are concerned, these are assets in which huge investments have been made overtime. Thus, laying off people will only be counter productive, FICCI said.

Mr Rawat said ASSOCHAM's analysis of job cuts was primarily pertaining to a few sectors, such as real estate, brokerage and investment advisory services.

Mr Rawat said ASSOCHAM's research team was now following up its analysis with a more detailed survey on a much larger sample size to get a more definitive picture on corporate responses to the present economic crisis.

Besides, the detailed study would identify new job opportunities in emerging sectors of education, biotechnology, petroleum and chemicals, pharma and health.

''The Chamber is giving final touches to its latest study on job trends for the period January to September 2008 which will be made public shortly,'' Mr Rawat added.

The Jet Airways had to do a similar volte-face after announcing that it would lay off 1,900 employees after Maharashtra Nav Nirmal Sena Chief Raj Thackeray threatened that his party workers would stop all flights of the Airlines if this was done.

It is, however, significant that in the Jet Airways case the Union Government had refused to intervene in the matter.

It appears that ASSOCHAM miscalculated the reaction that the study would have on the public and the political authorities.

Mr Rawat's remark that the detailed new study now underway would also look into the areas where job creation would take place is not related to the plans of the corporate sector to lay off staff.

The fact remains that ASSOCHAM did put out to the media its study on the basis of a survey of its members relating to job cuts in key segments, comprising steel, cement, ITeS, BPO, financial and brokerage services, construction, real estate and aviation.

It had never stated that all segments of industy had been covered.

How is it then the truth changed overnight? UNI MP/GS RL BST2014

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