In India, unemployment has been on the rise due to the deepening agrarian crisis as well as present economic situation. Before tthe 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had promised the youth of the country that two crore jobs would be created annually, which meant that in these five years, the Narendra Modi government should have generated 10 crore jobs, had it kept its promise. It has completely failed on this front.
Male Workforce is Shrinking
According to a yet to be officially released National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) report, reviewed by The Indian Express, for the first time in 25 years, there has been a marked drop in male workforce in both rural and urban areas. The female workforce had anyway been declining all these years.
“This is the first instance of a drop in the male workforce that steadily swelled from 21.9 crore in 1993-94 to 30.4 crore in 2011-12 when the last NSSO survey was conducted. This suggests fewer men were employed in 2017-18 compared with five years ago,” said the report.
The IE report has based its report on data from the NSSO’s Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) 2017-18 reviewed by the newspaper. It may be recalled that this is the same report whose release was “thwarted” by the Narendra Modi government, leading to top resignations from the National Statistical Commission. Eventually, parts of the ‘leaked’ report were published in the Business Standard, saying that the unemployment rate in India had climbed to a four-decade high at 6.1% during the Modi regime.
According the report, from 1993 to 2017-18, this was the first time there was a decline in the actual numbers of male workforce, both in rural and urban areas, with the fall steeper in rural areas, at 6.4%, and 4.1% in urban areas.
“The yet -to-be-released PLFS report put the unemployment rate for male in urban and rural segments at 7.1 per cent and 5.8 per cent, respectively,” the report said.
These figures clearly show that in the past few years, there have been fewer and fewer job opportunites in the country, leading to an overall decline in the number of jobs generated.
High Unemployment in Rural Areas
As per NSSO data, between 2011-12 and 2017-18, there has been a loss of 4.3 crore jobs in rural areas, and 40 lakh jobs in urban areas. It can be said that the total loss in employment in the country during this period stood at 4.7 crore.
“While the employment loss in the rural segment hurt the women most (68 per cent), men suffered more (96 per cent) job losses in the urban areas. In all, since 2011-12, India’s national workforce shrunk by 4.7 crore — more than the population of Saudi Arabia,” said the report.
According to the PLFS report, in the age group of 15-59, there was a decline in the number of people getting vocational/technical education, which has a direct impact on employment.
“Overall, the PLFS 2017-18 reported a 6.1 per cent unemployment rate, a sharp jump from 2.2 per cent reported in 2011-12,” said the Indian Express.
It may be recalled that the Centre of Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) had pegged the unemployment rate at 6. 9% till March 11, which stayed in this range till the end of the Monsoons, but spiralled to 8.6% in the week ended February 10, 2019. The Rabi crop did shave off some of this job loss, but overall the unemployment situation stays grim and is reminiscent of the economic crisis of the early 1970s.
With the Lok Sabha elections underway, the Modi government seems reluctant to release the NSSO report on unemployment for obvious reasons. For, once the report is released, the government’s promise of two crore jobs a year will be proved to be a jumla (hollow statement) as unemployment has actually zoomed.
The country’s economy may be growing at 7%, but the reality is that educated youth do not have adequate job opportunties. In the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, unemployment will a big poll issue, sticking out like a thorn for the Modi government. Whatever the outcome, unemployment will remain one of the biggest challenges ahead for the country.
(Infographics created by Glenissa Pereira)