The total number of people absorbed into what might broadly be termed an employed state, either full-time or part-time, increased by a mere 2.76 million from 2004-05 to 2009-10. By contrast, the corresponding increase in the preceding five-year period, 1999-2000 to 2004-05, was 60.7 million. What made for such a fantastic difference between these two periods?

The sectoral breakdown shows that construction is the major employment spinner. The 1999 to 2004 period saw a rapid rate of highway construction, and last mile connectivity for previously marooned rural habitats. Even in the five years after 2004, with much slower highway development, construction added 18 million employed in terms of its direct impact alone, not counting its upstream impact through the demand for steel, cement and other materials. Read More