Rising unemployment in India, a burden on the economy
By: Dr. Satyawan Saurabh
Data from the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy showed India’s unemployment rate rose to 8.30% in December, the highest in 16 months from 8.00% in the previous month. The urban unemployment rate rose to 10.09% in December from 8.96% in the previous month, while the rural unemployment rate declined to 7.44% from 7.55%, the data showed. In a jobless growth economy, unemployment remains high even as the economy grows. This occurs when a relatively large number of people have lost their jobs, and the resulting recovery is insufficient to accommodate the unemployed, the underemployed, and those first entering the workforce.
There is currently growing concerned that future growth may result in unemployment due to de-industrialization, de-globalization, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and technological progress. According to the NSSO Periodic Labor Force Survey 2017-18, India’s labor force participation rate for the age group of 15-59 years is around 53%, i.e. almost half of the working-age population is unemployed. The increase in the working-age ratio is likely to be concentrated in some of India’s poorest states and the demographic dividend will be fully realized only if India can generate gainful employment opportunities for this working-age population.
Most of the new jobs that will be created in the future will be highly skilled and the skill shortage in the Indian workforce is a major challenge. India may not be able to take advantage of the opportunities due to a low human capital base and skill crunch. India ranks 130 out of 189 countries on the Human Development Index of UNDP, which is a matter of concern. Therefore, there is a need to significantly improve the standards of health and education to make the Indian workforce skilled and efficient. The informal nature of the economy in India is another hindrance to reaping the benefits of the demographic transition in India.
The latest data revealed that there were 86 lakh vacancies across all civilian posts in the central government as of March 2020. The government recently announced the Agneepath scheme as four-year contract employment for the youth. But this measure will also be a recovery in the real economy, which has been in crisis over the past few years as a result of the effects of the pandemic. The country cannot afford to lose more years in its race to reap the benefits of its demographic dividend, and the push to provide jobs for those willing to enter the labor force, even if belated, will continue in the medium term. will help ease matters for Real jobs in manufacturing, industries, and MSMEs are the key to reaping the demographic dividend. Skill development will also help the youth to get employment in the high-paying service sector.
Investing in people through healthcare, quality education, jobs, and skills helps build human capital, which is critical to supporting economic growth, ending extreme poverty, and creating more inclusive societies. Skill development to enhance the employability of the youth population. The modern economy requires India’s labor force to be empowered with the right skills. The government has set up the National Skill Development Corporation with an overall goal of skilling/skilling 500 million people in India by 2022. To increase the educational level by making proper investments in primary, secondary, and higher education. India, which has about 41% of its population below the age of 20, can reap the demographic dividend with a better education system. Also, academia-industry collaboration is essential to synchronize the demands of modern industry and the level of learning in academia.
The setting up of the Higher Education Finance Agency (HEFA) is a welcome step in this direction. Improving healthcare infrastructure will ensure more productive days for the young labor force, thus increasing the productivity of the economy. The success of schemes like Ayushman Bharat and the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) is essential. Along with the effective implementation of the Integrated Child Development (ICDS) program, there is a need to pay special attention to the nutritional status of women and children. The nation needs to create ten million jobs per year to add young people to the workforce. Promoting the interests of businesses and entrepreneurship will help in job creation to employ a large workforce.
Schemes like Start-up India and Make in India, if implemented properly, will yield desired results shortly. In the coming years, large youth and working populations will migrate to urban areas of their own and other states, leading to the rapid and massive growth of the urban population. How these migrating people can access basic amenities, health, and social services in urban areas need to be the focus of urban policy planning. Schemes like Smart City Mission and AMRUT need to be implemented effectively and carefully.
If policymakers align developmental policies with this demographic shift, India is on the right side of the demographic transition, which offers golden opportunities for its rapid socioeconomic development. Proper investment in human capital by focusing on education, skill development, and health facilities is needed to reap the benefits of demographic dividends. The dedicated Shram Suvidha portal will allot Labor Identification Numbers (LIN) to units and register them under 16 out of 44 labor laws. Will allow online compliance filing for The government will mainly support manufacturing units and other establishments by reimbursing 50% of the stipend paid to the trainees during the first two years of their training.
The writer is Poet, freelance journalist and columnist, All India Radio and TV panellist,