1. Historical background

    National Employment service(NES) came into the existence in July 1945 for the purpose of resettling demobilized Defence service personnel and discharged War Workers in civil life through the network of employment exchanges controlled by the then Directorate General of Resettlement and Employment (DGR&E) now known as Directorate General of Employment and Training (DGE&T). After Independence, the Directorate was also called upon to handle work relating to displaced persons from Pakistan. Subsequently, the scope of the Directorate was extended to cover, employment service to all categories of job-seekers in early 1948. In pursuance of the recommendations of the Training and Employment Service Committee ( Shiv Rao Committee set up in 1952) the day-to-day administrative control of the Employment Exchanges was transferred to the State Governments/Union Territory Administrations with effect from 1.11.1956.

    Present National Employment Service functions within the conceptual framework of the ILO Convention No.88 on Organisation of Employment Service. Services are free. The primary objective is  settlement of job-seekers either through regular jobs or through self-employment. For furtherance of the employability of the job-seekers , collection of employment market information, career counselling and vocational guidance are inbuilt in the system. The net work of the Employment Service consists of about 940 Employment Exchanges run by the State Governments. Private placement agencies are also operating on a limited scale primarily in the urban area to cater to the requirement of the specialised fields in the organised sector. Such agencies which help in achieving the above objective charge fees of varying amount both from the jobseekers and the employers.

  1. Functions of the National Employment Service(NES)

The National Employment Service and for that matter Employment Exchanges functions within the ambit of Employment Exchanges ( Compulsory Notification of Vacancies ) Act 1959 enacted within the framework of ILO convention no 88.. According to the act Notification of vacancies arising in all the public sector establishments and non-agricultural establishments in the private sector employing 25 or more workers is compulsory. The act also makes it obligatory on the part of such employers to furnish employment returns ( called ER-I and ER-II ) which give information on employment, vacancies occurred, mode of recruitment of persons in the vacancies occurred, occupational distribution of  employees and educational requirements for those occupations etc. Therefore the objectives of the National Employment Service in brief are as follows, It must be emphasised that NES is not responsible for employment generation nor do they implement any employment generation scheme.

  1. Collect, compile and disseminate Information on vacancies notified, employment in various industries, types of occupations in existence, qualifications required for  various occupations, emerging trend of employment in various industries etc.

  2. To have an assessment of demand ( from notification of vacancies) and supply of labour ( from registration of Jobseekers) in the Labour Market and adjust them.

  3. Create requisite data base for manpower planning and management, career counselling and vocational guidance with a view to effectively guiding the job-seekers.

Employment market information programme and the Central Institute for Research and Training in Employment Service, are of special significance in the National Employment Service. Details are given separately. 

2.1    In order to achieve the above objectives, the National Employment Service which operates  through the net work of Employment Exchanges carries out the following functions:

  1. Registration and placement of job-seekers so as to ensure a proper balance between  demand and supply.

  2. Collect comprehensive Employment Market Information on a quarterly basis for  creation of data base for use in effective management of the demand and supply of  labour, preparing career literature for counselling and vocational guidance. 

  3. Career Counselling and Vocational Guidance. 

  4. Conduct area specific specialised study/surveys to have an assessment of skills  available and the marketable skills required for encouraging the job-seekers for  self-employment particularly in rural informal sector. 

  5. Some of the State Governments arrange disbursement of unemployment allowance to  certain specific categories of jobseekers out of their own resources through the  employment exchanges as registered with them.

2.2.    National Employment Service from its very inception restricted its activity to that sector of the  economy which are covered under the Employment Exchanges (Compulsory Notifications of  Vacancies) Act, 1959, in view of statutory backing for notification of vacancies and submission  of employment market information. At the initial stage the job-seekers registered with the  Employment Exchanges and the placement made through Employment Exchanges compared well  due to emergence of large number of Public Sector , Public Sector Undertakings and existence of  only Employment Exchanges to meet the manpower requirements. Therefore, attention was  given then mainly on registration and placement functions and other legitimate functions namely  creation of data base, career counselling and vocational guidance were relegated to the secondary  functional arena. Subsequently a large number of recruiting agencies like Staff Selection  Commission, Railway recruitment Boards, Banking Service Commissions etc came up and  restricted the area of operations of the Employment Exchanges. In fact today almost all the major  establishments both in Government and outside have their own recruitment agencies. Therefore  Employment Exchanges are left with only stray cases that too at the lower levels of appointment.  Recent Judgments of the Supreme court makes obligatory on the part of the employers to  advertise the vacancies in other media and consider candidates not only submitted by the  employment exchanges but also those responding to the open advertisements for selection of  candidates.. Therefore in the placement side (regular wage employment) the role of Employment  Exchanges is definitely going to be not very significant. 

  1. Public perception of the Employment Service .

Broadly the public in general has the perception that Employment Exchanges are only to provide  Jobs. These are only placement agencies and is one of the sources for securing wage employment. This  perceptions are not in tune with the functions of the Employment Exchanges. The placement of  Jobseekers will have to be seen Vis-a Vis the notification of vacancies to the Employment Exchanges  which at present is not very significant. Therefore there will be long waiting time.

  1. Present Employment scenario vis a vis Employment Exchange operations.

Currently the organised sector employment is shrinking. Employment Exchange strategy so far  had been primarily identifying those jobs which were generated in public sector. Emphasis on Private  Sector jobs was not to the extend desired. Therefore placement through employment exchanges was  primarily in the public sector. But now the employment generated in the organised sector ( both Public  and Private) is not appreciable enough to absorb the job-seekers registered with the Employment  Exchanges. In the present scenario a job-seeker is expected to wait for a long time for getting his name  sponsored.

  1. Private Placement agencies. 

Private placement agencies normally consider placement in relatively large industrial establishments, utilize the data collected through the National Employment Service, data collected by  their personal contact, public notifications in the News Paper and periodicals, internet etc. They generally  charge fees from the job-seekers as well as from the employers for their services.. These agencies  function primarily in the Metropolitan cities and a very rough estimate place its number as around 800.  These agencies again are very small ( one or two men show) and concentrate on placement only. Fake  placement agencies also exist. These fake agencies collect money from the jobseekers and arrange fake  interview in connivance with some of the industries or agents. Jobseekers, therefore may be careful in  utilizing their services.