With jobless people increasing by 11 per cent between 2014 and 2015, unemployment has increased sharply in the national capital. While according to the Delhi Economic Survey, 12 lakh people were without jobs in 2014-15, a survey by Labour Bureau claimed that the country’s unemployment rate has shot up to a 5-year high of 5 per cent in 2015-16.
With 9.13 lakh unemployed people in 2013, 10.97 lakh in 2014 and 12.22 lakh in 2015, unemployment has been rising continuously over the years. However, this figure is significantly higher with 8.7 percent unemployed women as compared to 4.3 per cent men. That means around 77 per cent of Indian households do not have regular salaried person.
This figure sounds alarming at a time when India is on the verge of being the fastest growing major economy in the world with a projected 7.6 percent annual GDP growth in the next two years.
The Modi-government, which came to power with a landslide victory in the 2014 general elections, has definitely reversed the pessimistic economical situation which prevailed during the UPA days. Benefitting from oil price crash and internal adjustments, the government has managed to bring a change in the structural reforms and the finances look in a much better shape now. Consumer inflation is lower than what it was three years back and even the positive reforms offer hope for a change.
However, what’s disturbing is the increasing pattern in unemployment and how Modi government has very conevniently avoided talking about it. At his inaugural speech, the PM had promised the young voters to create job for 1 crore people every year to curb unemployment. However, looks like Modi has forgotten his promise.
Textiles, leather, metals, automobiles, gems and jewellery, transport, information technology and the handloom sectors together created just 135,000 jobs during 2015 which was 67 per cent lower than the 421,000 jobs created in 2014, which was, by the way, last year of Manmohan Singh government.
What’s more shocking is that according to the educational distribution of those unemployed in 2015, around 1,95,450 people were graduates, 34,033 were post-graduates and 56,576 were diploma holders. About 12 million people like these stand in the job seekers’ queue and this is the section which is highly ignored by the recent government and are utterly disappointed by it.
And that’s not all! A World Bank research has showed that technology will take up 69 per cent of the jobs in India. Asia-Pacific Human Development Report released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) gave a strong warning in 2016 about the increasing level of unemployment in the country. Between 1991 and 2013, India could provide employment only to less than half of the new entrants into the job market, said the report.
To add to it, the situation doesn’t seem to get better as Modi doesn’t seem to have a plan to tackle this problem or handle this young job seeking population.
The above numbers talk raises serious questions about the GDP growth that Modi and his ministers keep on boasting about. But why can’t they focus on the reason behind this joblessness. The lack of private investments to set up new factories and the zero growth of small-scale companies could be one of the reasons. As the World Bank report suggests, the companies focusing more on higher efficiency by increasing mechanisation and not hiring new staffs, could be another reason. India’s age-old labour laws are also a major turn off for the employers when it comes to hiring.
But whatever be the reason, one thing is pretty evident. Most of the GDP growth in India has come from consumption, rather than fresh investments. And this kills the brilliance of the GDP growth. According to the economists. a jobless economic growth won’t really contribute to the country’s prosperity.
The major question before the government here is does it have a plan to fight the problem? Why have the various initiatives launched by the Modi government since 2014, for instance, Make in India, Start Up India, Skill India have failed to create job in a significant way?
India has one of the best quality of human resources in the world. Higher education isn’t scarce but jobs are. Lakhs of engineers, doctors and other professionals join the queue every year. And it’s not the sole responsibilty of the public sector to absorb the new work force. The private sector needs to play a major role.
The basic point here is that while there is a huge hue and cry over the 7.6 percent growth figure, it doesn not make much sense to the 125 crore Indians, who come from the aspiring middle class and migrate to the cities looking for better jobs and income.
And till the time higher growth doesn’t translate into higher number of jobs and better income for this class, Modi can bid goodbye to his dream run in 2019.