Cloudy prospects for India’s youth

Source: The post is based on an article “Cloudy prospects for India’s youth published in The Business Standard on 15th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Population and associated issues

News: India’s population is still young with about 55 percent below 30 and over a quarter below 15. However, now it is becoming visible that this dividend is not available for long.

India’s billion-strong working age populations have an enormous potential for jobs and economic growth.

However, successive governments have not been able to utilize this potential due to wrong or weak policies and programs. An extremely complex and anti-job-creating maze of labor laws and regulations is prevalent.

What does the data say?

According to World Bank data –

  1. The employment rate is defined as number of employed divided by the population in the corresponding age category.
  2. The employment rate for the 15-24 age groups was 23.2 per cent in India in 2020. It is very low compared to 50.6 per cent in North America, 38.9 per cent in Pakistan and 35.3 per cent in Bangladesh.
  3. The employment rate for the 15-24 categories had fallen in India from 43.4 per cent in 1994 and 40.5 per cent in 2005 to 23.2 per cent in 2020.

According to the National Statistical Office (NSO) and Periodic Labour Force Surveys data, there is a sharp rise in the rate of open unemployment among youth from 5-6 per cent in 2004-05 and 2011-12 to 17-18 per cent in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

The employment rate of women is even poorer. For example, the employment rate for female youth had declined from 34.9 per cent in 2004-05 to 13.5 per cent in 2017-18.

Furthermore, the rate of open unemployment among urban female youth nearly doubled to 27.2 per cent by 2017-18 from 14.9 per cent in 2004-05.

The data on unemployment shows a declining scenario similarly the data on state education systems in the government schools are also not good.

Annual Survey of Education Reports (ASER) produced by the Pratham Education Foundation focuses on the education of the younger children only.

According to this report –

  1. The result for government schools in 2008 was 53.1 per cent but it has fallen down to 44.2 per cent by 2018.
  2. This shows that half of the children are not able to pass in the basic tests.
  3. The success ratio for basic numeracy for class 5 students dropped from a 34.4 per cent in 2008 to a disastrous 22.7 per cent in 2018.
  4. The success ratio for even standard 7 children was only 40 per cent dropped from 65 per cent in 2008.

These data varies across different states.

It is the time for government to come up with policies and proper measures to ensure proper education and employment to its growing population.

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