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Amaresh Dubey is Professor of Economics at the Centre for the Study of Regional

Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University , New Delhi. Before moving to JNU, he

taught Economics at North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) Shillong, worked at Indian

Statistical Institute, Delhi Centre and the National Council of Applied Economic

Research (NCAER), New Delhi. His publications include six coauthored and co-edited

books, fifty articles and papers in international and national refereed journals and forty

articles in edited volumes. In addition, he has thirty-six research project reports and

commissioned policy papers for the Government of India, World Bank, DFID, UNDP,

Asian Development Bank etc.


No other country has been expanding as fast as India lately, beating both China and the United States. Even though output is increasing as a result of pandemic-related government spending, the country of a Billion+ isn’t creating enough jobs for its citizens. Meanwhile, the private sector sits on the fence, deterred by dim conditions for new investment. The rising inflation and pandemic related disruptions too are playing their part in exacerbating this crisis.

According to latest data tracked by private business information and analytics firm Center for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the rate of unemployment in India in September 2022 was 6.43%, showing a downward trend from the August high of 8.3%.

According to another CMIE report for the time period of January to April 2022, the number of unemployed in the 20-24 yrs age bracket was estimated at just above 2 crores, a 42% unemployment rate. Unemployment in the 25-29 year age group was around 60 lakhs, a 12.72% unemployment rate. Together, the unemployed in the 20-29 years age group constituted nearly 80% of the 3 crore+ unemployed Indians above 15 years of age who were actively seeking work but in vain.

In 2018, as fertility rates declined, India embarked upon a key demographic transition as its working age population began to grow larger than the population of dependents aged below 14 years or above 65, achieving that vaunted ‘demographic dividend’ that countries such as Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and others utilized to pave the way to economic growth, with an increased focus on education, job-creation, skilling and health for young people.

With India’s unemployment crisis unfolding during that window of opportunity, what should be the immediate and the long term strategy to truly harness the potential of India's demographic dividend, rather than let it slip into what could be India’s demographic disaster.

Argumentative Indians discusses India’s unemployment scenario and the possible solutions to it with Dr Amaresh Dubey Professor of Economics at the Center for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.


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