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EXPLORING SOLUTIONS TO INDIA'S UNEMPLOYMENT CRISIS


Dr. Naushad Forbes is the Co-Chairman of Forbes Marshall, India's leading Process and Energy Efficiency company; Author of "The Struggle and the Promise: Restoring India's Potential". He is on the Board of several educational institutions and public companies.Naushad is on the Board of several educational institutions and public companies.


SYNOPSIS:

There are no inefficient people, just inefficient systems. As India grapples with the increasing #unemployment rate, especially amongst the youth, the global focus may well be on the Indian story of ‘growth without #jobs’. Recent research indicates that the labor force participation rate --

meaning people who are working or looking for work -- has dropped to just 40% of the 900 million Indians of legal age, from 46% in 2016. By comparison, the participation rate in the United States of America was 62.2% early this year.


The United Nations Population Fund describes ‘demographic dividend’ as the potential for substantial national #economic payoff in a period in which the working-age #population is healthy, educated, and gainfully employed, with a low proportion of young dependents. India is said to have entered into 37 years, lasting from 2018 to 2055, due to a declining dependency ratio. Consequently, the realisation has set in that India needs to urgently overhaul multiple systems structurally, if it is to capitalise on this once in a century opportunity presented before it.


However, is enough being done? Argumentative Indians explore :


The common perception that #governmentjobs organisations are overstaffed and underutilised may only be partially true. One in six teaching positions and one in five positions in the #police are vacant in India. Several major organisations including no less than the #armedforces Forces, National Public Service Broadcaster and Health Services amongst others have a shortfall of staff at various ranks. Recent estimates suggest that India has close to 8 lakh vacancies in the Government sector. However, with a burgeoning pension bill that severely affects the treasury, India is in a Catch-22 situation. Recent reforms in the labour laws, introduction of National Pension Scheme, National Education Policy 2020 and even the ‘#Agnipath’ scheme for the Armed Forces must be seen in that context. However, the most recent announcement by the Indian leadership of more than million government jobs being provided in the next one-and-a-half years has the potential of being a game changer. It is also a tacit acceptance that the Private sector has failed to create enough jobs for India’s labour workforce.


Then again, how much blame can one really attribute to the Private sector? Not much, if one goes by statistics. The private industry that was already adjusting to reforms with the introduction of the #gstindia and the announcement of #demonetization was hit the hardest after the onset of the Covid19 pandemic. With hiring coming to a halt and the semi-skilled and unskilled workforce being

handed pink slips on account of no economic activity, the unemployment numbers had seen a surge. Even though several governmental interventions have seen the employment rates recover, the situation remains still very grim.


The private sector requires incentives, or rather an enabling environment, to provide jobs. Government, on the other hand, is responsible for creating the environment that motivates the private sector to invest, which can create jobs. Thus, the government has a heavier responsibility. While India has launched several ambitious programmes for bringing about a structural reform :

upskilling of its workforce (Skill India), increasing Gross Enrolment Ratio (NEP 2020), digital inclusion (Digital India) amongst others, the question still remains -


Is India in a position to harness the benefits of its demographic dividend or will it be another episode of a missed opportunity for the country? Argumentative Indians explore the different facets of the question - “Is India’s unemployability crisis solvable?” in a LIVE discussion.



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