ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Addressing Unemployment


Unemployment will be a key issue for the electorate in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. An estimated 12.75 crore first-time voters would be exercising their franchise in the elections to be held between April and May 2019. India is the world’s second most populous nation, having a population of around 135 crore. With every two out of three Indians below 35 years of age, and around one million of its working-age population seeking jobs every month, India is currently witnessing a perpetual and astonishing job crisis scenario. According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), as of July 2017, there were 14 million unemployed people in the country, which doubled to around 29 million in October 2018. As of February 2019, around 31.2 million people were actively looking for jobs. The unemployment rate has increased to 7.2% in February 2019 vis-à-vis 5.9% in February 2018.

Though the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate has been high during the last few years, it has not translated into enough jobs for the youth of the country. According to the “State of Working India 2018” report published by Azim Premji University, the relationship between growth and employment generation has become weaker over the last few years. During the 1970s and 1980s, when the growth rate was around 3%–4%, employment growth was strong and hovered at around 2% per annum. Since 2004, even though the annual growth increased to more than 7%, the employment rate slowed down to less than 1%. A growth rate of 10% now results in less than 1% increase in employment. The situation is further precipitated by a low wage earnings problem whereby 82% of male workers and 92% of female workers earn less than `10,000 a month. There is also a greater disparity in the gender wage gap; women earn between 35% and 85% of men’s earnings, depending on the work type, education level, occupation and type of industry. An important point to be highlighted is the declining trend of female labour force involvement in the Indian economy over the last two decades. According to the International Labour Organization’s international database (ILOSTAT), India ranked 121 out of 131 countries on the participation of female workforce.

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Updated On : 5th Apr, 2019
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