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By 2050, Millions Of Youth In India Are Going To Be Unemployed: Report Reveals How

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By Abhishek Waghmare, IndiaSpend.com:

jobber_620India will need to generate 280 million jobs between now and 2050, the year when the working-age population (15 to 64) will peak, according to a new report, amid indicators that the country’s demographic dividend could be at the cusp of disaster.

Over 22 years of unprecedented economic growth (1991 to 2013), less than half the Indians who sought jobs got them, 140 million of 300 million, according to a new United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report.

“In China, the number of jobs grew from 628 million to 772 million between 1991 and 2013, an increase of 144 million, but the working-age population increased by 241 million,” the report said. “A wider gap in India than China suggests a more limited capacity to generate employment—a serious challenge given the continued expansion of the workforce in India over the next 35 years.”

With fears that India is experiencing jobless growth and skepticism abounding that the country may not be able to cash in on its “demographic bonus”, the world’s largest working-age population—869 million by 2020—because of limited progress on health, education and job skills, we identified six warning signs:

  • In 2015, India added the fewest organised-sector jobs—in large companies and factories—in seven years across eight important industries.
  • The proportion of jobs in the unorganised sector—without formal monthly payment or social security benefits—is set to rise to 93% in 2017.
  • Rural wages are at a decadal low, as agriculture—which accounts for 47% of jobs—contracted 0.2% in 2014-15, growing 1% in 2015-16.
  • As many as 60% of those with jobs do not find employment for the entire year, indicating widespread ‘under-employment’ and temporary jobs.
  • The formation of companies has slowed to 2009 levels, and existing companies are growing at 2%, the lowest in five years.
  • With large corporations and public-sector banks financially stressed, the average size of companies in India is reducing, at a time when well-organised large companies are central to creating jobs.

With a million jobs required every month—the UNDP report says eight million are required every year until 2050—dominant castes across various regions are reacting violently to unfulfilled aspirations, as IndiaSpend reported in February 2016.

1. Organised sector, offering 10% of employment and steadiest jobs, slows

Employment shrank over two quarters of four in 2015, the first time since the 2008 global financial crisis, according to the latest data from the Labour Bureau’s Quarterly Employment Survey.

Source: Quarterly Report on Changes in Employment in Selected Sectors, Labour Bureau, Ministry of Labour and Employment.Note: 2008 data only for October to December

The first quarter, January to March 2015, added 64,000 jobs, while the third quarter, July to September, added 134,000 jobs in eight sectors that the Bureau surveys on “changes in employment” (not existing jobs): Textiles (apparels), leather, metals, automobile, gems and jewellery, transport, IT/BPO and handloom/power loom.

Source: Quarterly Report on Changes in Employment in Selected Sectors, Labour Bureau, Ministry of Labour and Employment

However, in the second quarter, April to June, 2015, 43,000 jobs were lost, and in the last quarter of the year, October to December, 20,000 jobs were lost. These jobs were to be in industries that comprise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India programme, a manufacturing expansion meant to offer jobs to the millions moving out of agriculture.

The employment generated per quarter slowed since after the relatively short-lived 2008 financial crisis, indicating that the current global slowdown is steadier, as IndiaSpend reported earlier.

Recent Reserve Bank of India data on “Assessment and Expectations for Employment Outlook” indicates India’s jobs gloom.

“The survey indicated moderate increase in optimism for production, financial situation and salary for fourth quarter (January to March 2016) of 2015-16 as compared with previous quarter. However sentiments on other indicators, viz. exports, imports, employments, profit margin and overall business situation, deteriorated,” the RBI quarterly industrial outlook report said.

2. Up to 93% of jobs in unorganised, insecure informal sector by 2017

The informal sector accounted for 90% of jobs through the period 2004-05 to 2011-12, said the Economic Survey 2015-16. This is going to increase marginally to 92-93% in 2017, according to a report by the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS).

The accelerated growth of the Indian economy over the past two decades is accompanied by increasing informalisation, notes the Report of the Committee on Unorganised Sector Statistics by the National Statistical Commission.

The proportion of ‘own account establishments’, such as carpenters and street-kiosk owners, has jumped from 64% of all establishments in 2005 to 72% in 2013, according to the Sixth Economic Census.

The proportion of larger companies—which range from accountancy firms, IT services companies to a Tata Motors—reduced from 35.6% in 2005 to 28.3% in 2013.

In China and Southeast Asia—regions of high literacy—farmers moving off the land found factory jobs. With illiteracy widespread in India, farm labour appears to be the main option. Those who get a better education and move to cities find that construction labour, maids and security guards are most in demand, as IndiaSpend had reported in 2014.

3. As farming recedes, menial rural labour grows 34%; agriculture stays India’s largest employer

From 2001 to 2011, the number of farmers fell 7%, from 127.6 million to 118.6 million. Over the same period, agricultural labourers increased 34%, from 107.5 million to 144.3 million, as IndiaSpend reported.

Agricultural growth nosedived over the last two years, with three, and possibly four (the data for January to March 2016 are not yet out), quarters registering a contraction.

Source: Key Economic Indicators, Office of Economic Advisor, Department of Industry

Rural wages are growing at a much slower pace compared to the initial years of India’s rural jobs programme, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA), the wages of which were down at 2005 levels in 2015, as IndiaSpend reported.

“In 2009-10, the previous (nationwide) drought year, MGNREGA was able to increase rural wages,” former chief statistician of India Pronab Sen was quoted in Business Standard. “We are not seeing that trend now.”

The construction sector—building roads, bridges and ports—is rapidly becoming India’s fastest-growing employment destination. More specialised sectors of the economy cannot absorb those leaving farms because they do not possess the skills needed. Modi’s Skill India initiative aims to train 400 million Indians over the next six years—that’s a million every week. In 2014, as we reported, no more than seven million were trained; fewer than 5% of Indians have ever received formal skills training.

4. Under-employment: 40% working people can’t find a steady job

Many Indians who report themselves as ’employed’ do not get year-round work, or may have jobs lagging their abilities and expectations, said the Fourth Annual Report on Employment and Unemployment 2014.

Only 60.5% of the working population (above 15 years) was able to find work through the year.

Source: Volume I, Employment and Unemployment Survey 2013-14, Ministry of Labour and Employment

Underemployment affects youth the most. Of 100 persons aged above 30, only two persons report being fully unemployed, while in the 18-29 age group, 13 in 100 are unemployed, noted the survey.

Education only appears to increase the prospect of unemployment.

Source: Volume II, Employment and Unemployment Survey 2013-14, Ministry of Labour and Employment

This could be because educated young people prefer to remain unemployed than work in jobs they consider below their qualifications or dignity. Job options in the sectors they desire are receding.

5. As industrial growth slows, company jobs recede, jobs per company fall

The growth of eight core industries—coal, oil, oil products, gas, electricity, fertiliser, steel and cement—is now the lowest it has been over the last ten years.

Source: Key Economic Indicators report, Industrial Handbook 2008-09, Office of Economic Advisor; Annual Report 2015-16, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.Note: 2015-16: April to January period over April-January 2014-15.

Industrial growth of the last decade (represented here by the year-on-year growth in the Index of Industrial Production) shows a slump during the 2008 crisis; it recovers and again goes south till 2015-16.

Source: Office of the Economic Advisor, Department of Industry

The number of companies registered every year is—after a peak in 2012—down to 2008 levels, an indication of business uncertainty.

In 2014, as many as 70,043 companies were registered in India, marginally less than 70,513 in 2008.

Source: Ministry of Corporate Affairs

Fewer than 2,000 companies were registered in April 2016, the first month of the new financial year, 2016-17, according to ministry data. In comparison, 6,000 companies were registered monthly, on an average, during the last decade.

Indian companies are also hiring fewer employees: The average number of employees employed in an establishment reduced from 2.41 to 2.24, according to the Sixth Economic Census.

“It’s well known that the small size of Indian firms is a major reason for their abysmal levels of productivity,” columnist Manas Chakravarty wrote in Mint earlier this month. Employment in companies employing more than 10 workers declined from 37.1% in 1990 to 21.15% in 2013.

Large corporations are important to India’s economy, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said in February, but many are struggling to repay loans and grow, potentially sparking a circle of low growth, low bank credit, job cuts, low output and low growth.

So, a paradox unfolds, with many young Indians, many with substandard education, unable to find jobs commensurate with their education, while industry endures a shortage of skilled labour.

This article was originally published on IndiaSpend.com, a data-driven and public-interest journalism non-profit.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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