Create more jobs, revamp employment policy

Source: The post is based on an article “Create more jobs, revamp employment policy” published in the “The Hindu” on 13th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 – Economy – Issues related to growth and development

Relevance: Employment Generation;

News: The Government of India has recently announced a plan to create 10 lakh government jobs and fill up the vacant posts in the next 18 months.

There are about 40 lakh sanctioned posts. At present, around 22% of the total posts are vacant

What are the issues with the government announcement?

The real number of vacant posts in the government might touch around 30 lakh. In addition to 8.72 lakh vacant positions in various departments of the Central government, there are also vacant positions in public sector banks, the defence forces and police, the health sector etc.

Further, the above cited numbers do not include vacancies in State government jobs.

The concerns have been raised on the quality of employment that will be generated. For example:

– The share of contract workers in total government employment has increased from 11.11 lakh in 2017 to 24.31 lakh in 2021.

– There are “honorary workers” such as Anganvadi and Accredited social health activist (ASHA) workers, etc, who receive very low consolidated wages and are not covered in a social security net as recommended by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

More jobs are needed: The magnitude of unemployment in India is very high.

– According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), there are about 30 million unemployed people, at present in India and according to the World Bank (WB), around 50 lakh-70 lakh workers will be added annually.

– Therefore, 10 lakh jobs in the next 18 months will not have much impact on the present unemployment problem.

Way Forward

The employment generated by the government under its proposed plan must be of a standard quality.

At present, the Government should take the lead over the private sector in creating as many jobs as possible. The private sector is struggling to overcome the shocks caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The private firms cannot be expected to create employment opportunities.

Focus on basic needs: The government can create more employment in areas where the government is required to provide basic needs. For example, health and nutrition, education, and other basic infrastructure, etc. The government should focus on serving the bottom 40% of the population without doing privatisation in these areas.

The government should reorient the industrialisation policy to focus on labour-intensive sectors of the economy, and to promote Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). For example, to provide better technology, finances (including working capital) and working towards cluster development for all industries.

Urban employment: The urban employment guarantee programme should be launched to create ample urban employment avenues for urban youth. For example, day-care centres can be set up for childcare to enable women to reduce their unpaid services etc.

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