The Great Jobs Hunt – Too few Indians are seeking work and mostly among those working quality of employment isn’t great

Source: The post is based on the article “The Great Jobs Hunt – Too few Indians are seeking work and mostly among those working quality of employment isn’t great” published in The Times of India on 7th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS – 3 – Employment.

Relevance: About the quality of employment.

News: India’s faster GDP growth does not translate into good quality jobs. Further, India does not also have timely and reliable job data.

About India’s unemployment rate

The government’s quarterly urban Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) and Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy’s Consumer Pyramids Household Survey peg India’s unemployment rate at 7. 2% and 8% as of September and November 2022 respectively.

This means that around 3.5-3.9 crore Indians of the working age population, who are willing and able to search for jobs, are not getting jobs.

These are two large-scale datasets. But these surveys do not mention, a) Unemployed persons who are not looking for jobs, b) About the quality of jobs and their productivity. For instance, disguised unemployment is completely neglected in these surveys.

Read more: India’s big problem of low-quality employment
What is the ground reality of India’s quality of employment?

Low labour force participation rate (LFPR): The LFPR in India is currently around 46%. So, for every 100 Indians of working age, a staggering 54 are not participating in the labour force. On the other hand, in 2021, the LFPR for Brazil was 58% and for all the OECD countries the ratio was 60%.

Low female labour force participation: India’s female LFPR is just 19%. This is even lower than in Saudi Arabia.

Youth unemployment: It has increased steadily. For instance, the ratio stood at 22% in 2019 and was 28% in 2021 as compared to 18% in 2010.

Increase in farm employment: The PLFS indicates 46.5% of the labour force works in the agriculture sector today as compared to 42.5% in 2019. Agricultural employment increased by 3.4 crores while industry and services employment only grew by 93 lakh.

Overall, India might be the only developing country that is pushing people back to agriculture.

Decrease in salaried employment: Regular salaried employees have dropped from 24% in 2018-19 to 21% in 2020-21.

More subsidy per job: The government plans to create around 8 lakh jobs over the next five years through the Production Linked Incentives schemes. Overall, the estimated cost of government subsidies will be Rs 2 lakh crore, amounting to Rs 25 lakh per job created. This is an enormous subsidy per job.

The youth’s response to the army’s Agnipath Scheme reinforces the failure of India’s job creation programmes.

Read more: The employment-income crisis
What should be done to improve the quality of employment?

Government, private sector, and civil society must come together to find a sustainable way to create more and better jobs.

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