Unemployment and joblessness: How to avert a demographic disaster

News: Utilization of demographic dividends depends on the ability of the economy to generate gainful employment. But India is witnessing unemployment and joblessness.

What is the current scenario of unemployment and joblessness?

India’s joblessness rate is at 7.9%, in December 2021 with urban unemployment rising to 9.3%. In Uttar Pradesh, the Labour force has risen from 150 to 170 million in the past five years. But the percentage of those employed has fallen from 38.5% to 32.8% (CMIE data).

For youth, the unemployment rate has risen from 15.66% in 2016-17 to 28.26% in 2020-21. 9 million out of 55 million graduate degree holders were unemployed in 2019.

Also read: Creating jobs for young India

The labour force participation rate has dropped from 47.26% to 40–42% since August 2016. This has increased demand for state assured labour jobs under the national employment guarantee scheme, with 85.6 million individuals utilising this between April and October 2021.

Start-ups, 53,000 in number, have only created 5.7 lakh jobs.

Public sector jobs are on a decline, with numbers dropping from 11.3 lakh to 10.3 lakh Between 2017 and 2019.

Considering these, India needs to create 90 million non-farm jobs between 2023 and 2030.

Read here: To tackle the Indian economy’s woes, create more jobs
What should be done to avert unemployment and joblessness?

The state could expand basic public services. As of 2019, there were 2 million health workers vacancies, 1 million teacher vacancies and 1.17 million Anganwadi worker vacancies. Also, there is a need to expand capacity in healthcare by 2.9 to 4.2 lakh health workers.  These activities could create 5.2 million jobs.

There is a need to upscale the existing labour force, particularly in urban India. A national urban employment guarantee scheme focused on creating public assets could generate infrastructure and employment. It could cover 20 million urban casual workers for a hundred days, with an overall annual cost of 1 lakh crore.

The state could focus on creating green jobs. Municipal council-based towns could create an estimated 650 green jobs. A full-fledged municipal corporation could create up to 9085 jobs.

Thus, Indian cities could act as engines of growth and job creation if the right policies are implemented.

Source: This post is based on the article “How to avert a demographic disaster” published in the Indian Express on  20th January 2022.

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