Steps to Tackle Unemployment in India

Introduction


Steps to tackle unemployment in India

One of the most critical issues that the Modi government has to address with utmost ingenuity is the growing rate of unemployment in the country.

The sea of humanity, especially the youth that he has assumed the responsibility of, can be seen as a force multiplier to catapult India to the next level, or else, if not adequately harnessed may spell an existential disaster for the nation.

We have already seen the amplitude of this problem with the Twitter hashtag #modi_rozgar_do, trending for more than 50 hours.

The government has introduced some steps to check job losses and unemployment, but those measures appear to have fallen short to deliver the desired results on the ground.

The issue needs to be addressed at multiple levels and with the multitude of actions that are discussed in the succeeding paragraphs.


Major Reasons for Growing Unemployment


Major reasons for growing umemployment

The route cause of unemployment in India is that the economic growth of the country is unable to keep pace with the rate at which the population is growing.

India is an agrarian economy and hence the majority of our population is dependent on the agriculture sector. However, agriculture in India is still largely dependent on rainfall, follows outdated, traditional practices and generates only seasonal employment.

In recent times, primarily due to climate change, the weather has become highly erratic and has often been the reason for farmer’s distress.

Another important reason for unemployment is inadequate attention paid right from the beginning to the industrial sector in India.

During the 1950s and 1960s, China and India stared their economic journey together from almost the same level. While India focused on bringing about the ‘green revolution’, which was its need of the hour, China decided to give a boost to its manufacturing sector. The comparative development graph for the two countries is for everyone to see.

However, inadequate capital available with India restricts its desire to forge into the manufacturing sector. The reason is that industrialization requires massive investments in R&D, training of manpower, procurement of raw materials, energy and expensive machinery.

Moreover, with the break-up of the joint family system, the masked employment that was seemingly being done by a wide cross-section of our society, who simply attached themselves with the earnings of the joint family, are now highlighted as unemployed.


Recent Surge in Unemployment in India


Unemployment in India - A major problem

The present unprecedented rate of unemployment, which was announced by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) just before the general election at about 31 million can be attributed to some of the following reasons:

The education system in India is centred on creating only white collared jobs. Our colleges and universities are churning out degree holders who are not industry-ready. There is a crying need to skill our youth today so that they become employable.

Secondly, the informal sector in India constitutes a major chunk of the economy. Demonetization and the introduction of GST served a heavy blow to the cottage industry and small-informal workers and entrepreneurs. Numerous jobs were lost especially in the real estate and service sector because of these two factors.

Next, the heightened state of polarization in the country has created an environment of insecurity that deters investors, both domestic and foreign.

Also, sectors, where India was an international brand like beef export and leather industry, has suffered because of an intense right-wing wave prevailing in the country. Resulting in millions of job losses as the industry has totally collapsed.

All these factors have constituted the increasing employment deficit in the country.


Proposed Steps to Tackle Unemployment in India


effect of corona on economy - The Rozra Report

Revamp Education System: The present system of education needs a major overhaul to meet the evolving pattern of demand for jobs, people of India expect this change with our New Education Policy, let me know your views on this in the comment section!

Not only is there a requirement of re-orientation of the curriculums being run presently, but also to look at diversification of the courses in various fields to meet the explicit demand of skill-sets required by the industry in contemporary India.

Delivery Mechanism of Education Needs Improvement: The quality of education being imparted and infrastructure requirement for government-run educational institutions needs a close examination and intensive upgrade.

Simply establishing more schools under Right to Education with pathetic infrastructure and incompetent teachers, who have low motivation and zeal to teach is counterproductive.

I personally feel that the pay and perks of teachers must be at the highest scale, offering them a status, which is higher than any other civil servants.

It goes without saying that their selection must follow the most stringent process, only the best, from the best be selected for this onerous responsibility of shaping the future of the nation.

Need for Rapid Industrialization: Provide impetus to the manufacturing sector, which will serve to boost job creation in a very major way.

The ‘manufacturing hubs’ being talked about by the government under the ‘Make in India’ campaign should be rolled out with utmost urgency.

These manufacturing hubs will also arrest a major problem that our country is facing today of mass migration from the rural population to urban centres for work.

Skill development of Youth: Concurrent with the creation of manufacturing hubs will be the requirement of providing appropriately skilled youth for specific jobs.

The education system must dovetail this demand and identify the aptitude of students at an early age to segregate them for training for a specific field.

Schemes like Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana for skill development are well-conceived but poorly implemented.

Empower Rural India for Better Workforce Management and Employment: Employment opportunities in our mainstay agrarian sector can be increased through intensive farming using technology, improving irrigation facilities by river water linking to make more land arable, the extension of community projects to rural India, like agro-infrastructure projects, e.g. cold chains, food processing, etc.

Organization of cooperative farming to overcome the problem of reducing land holdings and vocational skill training to prevent farm distress due to vagaries of weather and to tied over the problem of seasonal employment.

The farmers must be skilled for alternative employment that may be available in these ‘manufacturing hubs’ that are coming up in their vicinity.

Development of village industry and settlement of labourers on the reclaimed land must be planned as a policy for rural India. Besides creating employment opportunities, the small-scale and cottage industries will help to reduce the dependence of farmers only on agriculture.

The village industries so planned must become supportive of the items being fabricated in the 'manufacturing hubs’ being created by the government.

Utilization of Labour-force During Lean Periods for Infrastructure Development under Government Schemes: The surplus labour force available during the lean period can be utilized for various public work programmes, like afforestation, reclaiming land, expansion of cottage industries and so on.

The schemes under which the above is being done already like the MNERAGA requires closer scrutiny for the necessity of work being carried out, its quality on completion and syphoning of funds by executioners.

Opportunities for Self-employment: Schemes like Start-up India and Stand-up India to encourage entrepreneurship have been poorly implemented.

In spite of the scheme available since 2016, only 1368 application were received, out of which only 502 have been approved by the Department of Industry Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

It is essential that the government comes up with more innovative and doable self-employment schemes for unemployed youth, which can help generate more jobs for others as well.

Conclusion

It has been an ongoing endeavour by the Modi government to address the problem of unemployment, but it has not been successful because of a sectional approach, where each government department is working in isolation and in some cases at cross purposes with each other to address the issue.

A closer look at the ways to tackle unemployment will reveal that all the proposed actions are intimately linked with each other.

The delivery of education, including proficiency acquired in the desired field, is linked with skill-sets required by the industry.

Hence, unless the department of education bases its curriculum on the expectations of the industry and prepares the alumni accordingly, their education will be irrelevant.

Similarly, the creation of rural communities to prevent urban migration will require the provision of local infrastructural amenities, diverse employment opportunities besides agriculture, which is linked with the setting up of ‘manufacturing hubs’, which are in turn supported by cottage industry from the local village.

Therefore, many departments of the government will have to work in a synchronized fashion to harness our population dividend optimally.

Though I wanted to address the problem on the basis of our demographic dividend, which is directly linked with the opportunities we will be missing in future if we don't address that now. But let us address that some other day!