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ESSAY : Unemployment Problem in India
Thursday, 20 June 2013 02:52

Unemployment Problem in India


“Jobs in India are shrinking at an alarming rate. Privatization and globalization have further aggravated the problem. Instead of generating employment, they have rendered millions of hands idle. American policies are effective there but not in India where the accursed ones are left to fend for themselves leading to frustration, disappointment, anger and violence. ”

Unemployment is the mother of countless ills. It is such a poison that pollutes the society, endangers the democratic fabric of the country. We can’t expect nobility, honesty and truth from a person who is unable to manage two square meals a day for his family. An unemployed person has no sense of self-respect as he has no sense of security.

“Rightly”, said by Franklin, “A ploughman on his feet is better than a gentleman on his knees.”

Estimates of the total number of Indians unemployed or underemployed vary between 70 and 100 million. This figure can cause concern to any nation, but to a developing country like ours, it is the cause of great distress. A developing country must mobilize its manpower resources to the maximum possible extent and a developing country with such a large segment of its population unemployed or underemployed is a contradiction in terms.

In India the specter of frustration of misery and hunger of fallen hopes and barren dreams of bitter pain and dark despair haunts the unemployed.

It is true that the future of a country depends on the ability and the mental attitudes of its young men and women then India has already lost the will to develop. If India allows her young men to be gripped by insecurity and frustration, she will have to pay for modernization and rapid advancement with several years of stagnation.

The universities with their techniques of mass education and system of examinations offer little information and less understanding. The grapes at the end of the course, acquired after many years of ill-spent effort and spending bulk of hard earned money of the parents, very often turn out to be sour, as the degrees soon prove valueless, and succeed neither in increasing the students’ mental alertness and intellectual capacities nor in raising their chances of employment.

The student unable to secure employment passes on from one academic degree to another, from one vacuum to another and as he goes on, the employment that he desires becomes increasingly elusive. At the end of the process, the student very soon realizes that the is not a first-class intellectual who can step out of the university into waiting, eager commercial units; that he is not doing them a favour by joining them but that they are doing him a favour by accepting him.

Many of them drift aimlessly into coffee houses, theatres and billiard clubs in an effort to escape from the world in which they are sure they have no place and utility. Should not this in itself cause distress to a nation which requires all possible physical and psychological assistance with which to develop?

“Employment generation is an issue of life and death for our democracy,” says Amit Mitra, secretary general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce an Industry, a businesses lobby.

India was Asia’s fastest expanding economy in the most recent quarterly data. Growth is its highest in nearly 15 years. Glitzy shopping malls are springing up and a culture of consumption is taking root as foreign companies are attracted by cheap labour.

But growing unemployment is forcing people from rural areas to migrate in hordes to nearby cities and towns, creating slums, social unrest and electricity and water shortages. “There is some truth in the fat that jobs have not grown as much as expected as the economy has grown”, Ashok Lahiri, Chief economic adviser to the government, told Reuters. “We have to expand employment. There is no doubt about that.” But even getting to grips with the scale of the problem is hard enough: India does not regularly release unemployment data and forming a view on the trends has to come from a combination of rarely issued official reports and anecdotal evidence.

Millions of laboring, street vending and farm jobs fall below the government’s radar screen and getting information on them is a daunting task. Some 92 percent of India jobs are thought to be informal. Even for the remaining eight percent, the numbers are hard to come by. The government issues an employment report one every five years and economists can glean trends from Indian census data which is published every 10 years. The world’s top economies publish data every month. India estimates unemployment currently to be around 7.8 percent, a government official said. Whatever it is, the figure looks to be on the rise. The planning commission says nearly 35 million people are registered with employment exchange from 27 million four years ago.

India knows one thing based on demographic trends, is that to keep the jobless rate from rising more, it must create sone 60 million jobs in five years as more Indian enter the Job market, More than 65 percent of the population is under 35. India expects economic growth of at least eight percent in the year ended March 2004. But economists say it’s not enough to create 12 million jobs a year. For instance, the country’s success in information technology and emerging areas such as retail and tourism is expected to add just some 2.2 million jobs in the next few years, according to industry estimates. Government adviser Lahiri bristles at the suggestion this is a jobless recovery. “I don’t think the growth has been jobless. Jobless is an overstatement” he said.

But economist say the trend threatens long-term prospects. “If we fail to create more jobs it will lead to a lot of social tension which in turn will hurt the economy.” Said Saumitra chaudhuri, economic adviser at Indian credit firm ICRA. “Large unemployment for a country like India is not something desirable,” he said.

Some economists say the jobs problem stems from an economic liberalization programme launched more than a decade ago. The country’s huge public sector has shed thousands of jobs since it stepped on the road to privatization in the early 1990s. the Planning Commission, in a report on employment published last year, attributed rising joblessness to a policy of shedding excess labour in both the private and public sector. It said companies had stepped up investment in plants and machinery more than in labour-intensive industries. Economist add that a $53 billion fiscal deficit prevents the government from creating employment by spending more on social sectors such as health and education.” We should be looking for a fiscal-led economic expansion based on the basic needs of the people which will have a much higher multiplier effect,” says jayati Ghose, professor at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.

In the light of this the task of harnessing the unemployed should be put on a war footing. Massive urban recruitment will be useless as the cities which have got along well enough without the recruits, can certainly continue to do so. Besides, massive urban recruitment will be inflationary and hence is impracticable. The unemployed population should be mobilized for rural reconstruction, especially as the villages lack technical know- how and also that 70 percent of India’s population lives there. Stressing on agronomy will augment rural reconstruction, enlighten the farmers, raise agricultural production, conserve foreign exchange and above all be a step towards self-sufficiency and employment for all. The only other country which successfully mobilized vast populations for national development is China. If we are to mobilize our manpower resources we must learn form the mistakes of China during her Great Leap Forward. The Chinese made three basic mistakes. Firstly, the presents were given inadequate training. Secondly, the fax levied on agriculture communes was exorbitant oftern as high as 70 percent of the total produce. Finally, recruitment was governed not by considerations of merit and ability to do the job, but by loyalty to the Communist Party and on ideological grounds. In India the counterpart of this last mistake is recruitment of workers on communal, regional and linguistic grounds. This must go. It is the duty of every responsible and patriotic Indian to herald in a new ‘meritocracy’.

Unemployment in our county has become such a complicated, economic, social and political issue that requires urgent steps to eliminate its scourge. Half hearted measures or temporary solutions will not yield and fruitful results. The foremost requirement is the overhauling the existing educational system. We have to change the system from producing white collar job seekers to practically job oriented technocrats, capable to start their own ventures. There should be perfect coordination and integration between our education and the industrial environment. We have to search new avenues in farm sector, herbal and medical fields to provide job opportunities after completing the education by the students. India should also go for fast development of cottage and small industries. Government should take effective steps so that the globalization does not affect the small and cottage industries. The industrial development can relieve us from this problem to a great extent. We must concentrate on labour intensive units. We have to plan and exploit our industrial potential to the fullest extent to provide jobs to our fellow youths. In a nutshell the problem of unemployment has to be dealt with on war footing lest the youth should be diverted to some wrong path.