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REPORT OF THE THIRD MEETING OF THE EXPERT GROUP ON INFORMAL SECTOR STATISTICS (DELHI GROUP)  NEW DELHI INDIA 17-19 MAY 1999.

The third meeting of the Expert Group on Informal Sector Statistics (Delhi Group) was organised by the Department of Statistics Programme Implementation, Ministry of Planning, Government of India at New Delhi during 17-19 May, 1999.

Inauguration

  • Mr. Vishnu Kumar, Deputy Director General, Central Statistical Organisation, New Delhi welcomed the delegates from different countries, International Organisations, Research Institutions and India. 
  • Mr. M.D. Asthana, Secretary, Department of Statistics & Programme Implementation, Government of India and Chairman of the Delhi Group delivered the keynote address wherein he outlined the importance of the informal sector in the national economies. He felt that there is a need to evolve  effective mechanism through which it should be possible to give the informal sector a separate identity and distinguishable status as an altogether independent sector rather than giving it a very casual and indifferent treatment by viewing it merely a residual sector left over after one has taken cognizance and account of the formal sector of a nation’s economy. He expressed the hope that deliberations of the Expert Group meeting would be helpful in formulating technical guidelines on specific issues including further specification, in operational terms, of the criteria of informal sector definition adopted by the 15th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) for the purpose of improving international comparability of the informal sector statistics.

Programme of the Meeting The programme of the meeting was as under:

  • Inaugural Session 
  • Technical Session: This session deliberated upon
  • Clarification and operationalisation of the 15th ICLS/1993 SNA International definition for Informal Sector.

  • Development of strategies to address sample frame and weighting issues in Informal Sector Surveys.

      
  • Development of an appropriate methodology for more accurate measures of value added from informal sector

CONCLUDING SESSION
  •  Mr. M.D. Asthana opened the session by inviting Mr. Hussmanns to present the summary of recommendations for Session-I. Mr. Hussmanns outlined each of the recommendations and invited comments from the participants. Mr. Asthana and Mr. Hussmanns suggested minor changes to the opening statement, which were accepted by the Group. Participants suggested a number of minor amendments to the recommendations, which were also discussed and accepted by the Group.Mr. Asthana concluded the discussion by noting that reaching agreement on the harmonised international reporting requirements is a significant step forward in the work of the Group.
  • Mr. Asthana then outlined the recommendations arising from Session-II and invited comments from the floor. A number of changes were suggested and incorporated. He also outlined the recommendations for Session-III  and minor changes suggested by participants were incorporated.

  • Mr. Asthana moved on to discuss the progress of the four projects agreed in the second meeting of the Group. It was agreed that this meeting had made substantial progress on the first project, i.e. harmonised definition. It was also agreed that progress is being made on the sample frame and quality assurance projects. Work on the final project relating to value added measure is yet to commence. The need to make further progress on these projects with a view to developing strategies and methodologies for discussion at future meeting of the Delhi Group were emphasised by him.
RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE EXPERT GROUP ON INFORMAL SECTOR STATISTICS
  • Since the informal sector manifests itself in different ways in different countries, national definitions of the informal sector cannot be fully harmonised at present. International agencies should also disseminate informal sector data according to the national definitions used. In order to enhance the international comparability of informal sector statistics, they should disseminate data for the subset of the informal sector, which can be defined uniformly. So as to define this subset, the Delhi Group adopts the following  recommendations:  
    1. All countries use the criteria of legal organisation (un-incorporated enterprises), of type of accounts (no complete set of accounts) and of product destination (at least some market output). 
    2. Specification of the employment size limit of the enterprise in national definition of the informal sector is left to the country’s discretion.For international reporting, however, countries should provide figures separately for enterprises with less than five employees. In the case of multiple-establishment enterprises, the size limit should apply to the largest establishment. 
    3. Countries using the employment size criteria provide disaggregated figures for enterprises, which are not registered, as well as for enterprises, which are registered. 
    4. Countries using the criterion of non-registration provide disaggregated figures for enterprises with less than five employees as well as for enterprises with five and more employees.
    5. Countries, which include agricultural activities, should provide figures separately for agricultural and non-agricultural activities.
    6. Countries should include persons engaged in professional or technical activities if they meet the criteria of the informal sector definition.
    7. Countries should include paid domestic services unless these are provided by employees.
    8. Countries should follow paragraph 18 of the Resolution adopted by the 15th ICLS regarding the treatment of outworkers/home-workers.
    9. Countries should provide figures separately for outworkers/home-workers included in the informal sector.
    10. Countries covering urban as well as rural areas should provide figures separately for both urban and rural areas.
    11. Countries using household surveys or mixed surveys should make an effort to cover not only persons whose main job is in the informal sector, but also those whose main job is in another sector and who have a secondary activity in the informal sector.
    12. The Group hopes that it will be possible to enlarge this subset.
    13. Results of the surveys on informal sector conducted by different countries may be discussed as the main topic of the next meeting of the Delhi Group for recommending the survey methodologies for collection of data on various aspects of the informal sector with a view interalia, to improving data quality including reducing non-sampling errors.
    14. At another meeting, the main topic may be the respective advantages and limitations of different survey methods and sample designs for  the collection of data on the informal sector.
    15. Following the definition of informal sector as proposed, attempt should be made to estimate the size of the informal sector in terms of employment and its contribution to GDP on a regular basis.
    16. The Delhi Group should formulate recommendations regarding the identification of precarious forms of employment (including outwork/home-work)  inside and outside the informal sector and submit them to the Paris Group for consideration. 
      NEXT MEETING OF THE EXPERT GROUP AND ITS AGENDA

It was proposed to hold the next meeting of the Delhi Group either at the ILO headquarters in Geneva or in Nigerian Capital, Lagos after June, 2000 but before September, 2000. The actual venue and dates of the fourth meeting of the Delhi Group will be decided by Mr.O.O. Ajayi, Director General, Federal Office of Statistics, Nigeria in consultation with Mr. Ralf Husssmanns of ILO and intimated to Delhi Group Secretariat by September, 1999 so as to enable it to initiate preparatory steps for holding the next meeting. The following agenda was also agreed upon. Focus in the next meeting would be on the first two items. 

  • Results of the surveys on informal sector conducted by different countries may be discussed as the main topic of the next meeting of the Delhi Group for recommending the survey methodologies for collection of data on various aspects of the informal sector with a view to improving data quality  including reduction of non-sampling errors. Project members include Nigeria, India, Australia and ILO. Project leader will be ILO.
  • Investigate and develop an appropriate methodology to develop more accurate measures of value-added.Project members include Armenia, Turkey,  India, UNID, Mexico and Mrs. Ferran.
  • Following the definition of informal sector as proposed, attempt should be made to estimate the contribution of the informal sector to GDP on a regular basis. Project will be run by Mr. Jacques Charmes, Professor of University of Versailles, France and India.
  • Develop strategies to address sample frame and weighting issues. Project members includes India and Nigeria. Nigeria will be project leader.
  • The advantage and limitation of different survey methods and sample design for collection of data on the informal sector may be investigated and discussed. Project members include India, Nigeria and ILO.
  • The Delhi Group should formulate recommendations regarding the identification of precarious forms of employment (including outwork/home-work) inside and outside the informal sector and submit them to the  Paris Group for consideration

VOTE OF THANKS

The Session was concluded with a vote of thanks by Mr. Ajayi on behalf of the Delhi Group participants to Mr. Asthana and the Indian Department of Statistics and Programme Implementation for hosting the third meeting. Mr. Asthana then thanked the participants and closed the meeting.

Documentation :  Papers listed at Annex III were presented during the meet