By Karthik Ganesh:
Did you just graduate from one of the zillion colleges present in the country? Then according to Indian government statistics you have a healthy 10% chance of remaining unemployed. The next job posting in the newspaper would grab the eyeballs of three lakh young graduates who would fight it out among themselves to seize the opportunity. Today, a qualified person with the zeal to work, yet reeling under unemployment, is perhaps the saddest sight that prosperity’s inequality exhibits under this sun.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) study, 75% percent of technical graduates and more than 85% of general graduates are unemployable by India’s high-growth global industries, including information technology and call centers. Surveys conducted by Pratham (India’s largest NGO working to provide quality education to the underprivileged children) revealed that around half of the 5th grade students across 13000 schools were not able to read a 2nd grade textbook. These troubling statistics and figures enforced me to try and understand the issue of unemployment in India at a deeper level and analyse the reasons behind it.
The primary factors that have facilitated the growth of unemployment in India are as follows:
– Rapid growth of population: The increment in the size of population has had an adverse effect on the employment levels especially in rural India. Due to the mismatch in the creation of job opportunities and population increase, we now have a sizeable chunk of our employed population lurching under the issue of disguised employment where they are forced to take up jobs below their intellectual capabilities. Also, now we have a large set of people with low access to resources which leads to an increment in growth of unskilled human resources.
– Agrarian based Indian economy: In spite of being one of the fastest growing economies with a GDP growth rate of 5.5%, we have around 52% population employed in the agricultural sector that contributes only 17% of our GDP. This statistic gives us an insight on how the lack of job opportunities in other sectors namely industry and services has forced people to take up work that is far below their potential.
– Technological advancement: In recent times, advancement in technology for the agricultural sector has put lakhs of farmers out of their jobs. The need of the hour is to understand the importance of human resources and bring out the necessary technology for the work after ensuring enough job creation. Also, the unequal access to technology across the different states of India has degraded the quality of human resources and has stifled the growth of self-employment.
– Flawed education sector: The primary aim of our education sector as per status quo is to provide students with a certification that would entitle them jobs in their respective fields of interest. There is an urgent need to rework this strategy and try to promote the values of entrepreneurship and self-employment while educating the children so as to bridge the gap between the educational curriculum and the practical work carried out by people when employed in an industry.
– Lack of employment planning: The decline in cottage based industry due to the growth of industrialization has put many people out of their jobs. There is a pressing need to integrate the large industrial houses with the cottage industries so as to ensure creation of job opportunities. Lack of transportation and communication facilities has hindered the job growth rate in many of the villages in India. These problems are a testament to the unplanned efforts taken by the government with respect to employment and there is a vital need to have a detailed plan formulated soon regarding the same.
Rather than just leaving you with the causes behind the issue, I have listed below some of the suggestions that could be implemented to tackle this issue:
– Human resource development: The government must undertake targeted endeavours to educate and train the unemployed people so that they have the required amount of skillsets for the jobs that are available in the country but are empty due to the lack of skilled people.
– Equitable wage structure: Many of the jobs in the industry and service sectors in India have a pay scale depending on the capability of a candidate rather than their job profile. An equal pay for equal work can bring down the wage bill for the company which can be utilized for job creation.
– Stringent implementation of Right to Education Act: The implementation of the education act can ensure that we have an educated population who, with their skills can contribute to the growth of the nation. Also, amendments should be made to the curriculum with a greater focus on vocational skills.
– Job creation by the government: Grants to business to produce goods, employing labour for betterment of transportation and communication facilities, integrating the local manufactures with the global industries and cutting down on income tax to encourage spending are some of the measures that the government can take to ensure employment creation.
Let us hope that in the days to come we get to see every citizen of this nation employed in a job in accordance with his skillsets and working towards the progress of our country.