In recently released rankings of the Human Development Index (HDI), by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the year 2019, India was ranked 129th. Although the country’s rank is up from 2018’s (130), it’s still disappointing, considering that 189 countries are taken into account.
The HDI is considered one of the most accurate measurements of the socio-economic development of a country, and while European countries such as Norway and Switzerland have often been top rankers, India has struggled to stay above 150.
The country’s unsatisfactory ranking can be due to various reasons such as inequality, inadequate medical and education services, population explosion. However, one of the biggest contributors to India’s low HDI is unemployment.
India’s unemployment rates have been on a constant rise for the past few years, and while there was a small improvement in the rate at the start of 2019, it also saw some of the highest rates with August and October reaching 8.2% and 8.5% respectively.
In fact, according to a report by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the rates of the mentioned months were the highest in three years.
One also needs to note, that while unemployment rates are improving for rural areas, it is a completely different story for metropolitans.
The unemployment rates in urban areas in India have somewhat become the stuff of nightmares for many. In a report by CMIE, the weekly unemployment rate in India, during the last quarter of 2019, was between 7-9%. As for the overall rate, it’s 22.5% – the highest the country has seen in the last 45 years.
Unemployment has many known implications, such as poverty, and an increase in crimes. It can also affect small-scale local businesses. An opinion piece in The Telegraph states that unemployed youth are highly vulnerable to be misled by political parties and turn to a life of crimes. It also means a low per capita income and standard of living for the residents of a country.
Sadly, despite having such a devastating effect on the economy and society, there aren’t any concrete measures taken by the government to tackle the problem of unemployment. While there are programs such as MGNREGA, and Jawahar Rozgar Yojana these are effective in rural areas, meanwhile, there are no such schemes for the urban population.
Unemployment is an issue that needs to be prioritised. If we fail to pay attention to the problem now, it may affect our already crumbling economy and HDI even more. As a result, future generations are going to have a harder time surviving, as they may not have the social and economic resources needed to keep up with the rest of the world.
Hence, the government needs to wake up for the sake of the development of the country and do something, not just about rural but also urban unemployment.
Editor’s note: Do you want to know where India stands in the Human Development Index (2019)? You can access the report, released on December 9 (2019), here.