India and Unemployment

One of the major social issues in India is unemployment. As the Indian labour laws are inflexible and restrictive, and its infrastructure is poor, which is actually the main reason for India’s unemployment situation, according to The Economist. As of September 2018, according to the Indian Government, India had 31 million jobless people. The scenario of Assam, in the case of unemployment, is also worst. As per statistics made available by the state Skill Employment and Entrepreneurship department, the total numbers of registered employed in the state is 19,63,376; of them, 16,65,866 are educated or skilled ones and  2,97,510 unskilled ones. Further, as per statistics, the state has 942 unemployed medical graduates, 7,804 jobless engineering graduates, 327 jobless veterinary graduates, 832 jobless Agri graduates, 16575 postgraduates, 3,97,824 general graduates, 6,82,796 H.S.- passed candidates, 5,67,340 HSLC passed candidates and 46,137 others. The highest number of unemployed have their names registered in Guwahati which is almost 3 lakh. The lack of skill-based education in schools and colleges is the main reason for unemployment. Our education system is primarily concerned with the quality and knowledge and written examination more than practical based tasks. For these reasons, after completion of graduation, while facing interviews, students find themselves lacking in confidence and skills. The rapid growth of population also being the burden on cultivation, low productivity in the agriculture sector, defective economic planning, lack of capital etc are also some of the foremost reason for unemployment. The overall result of the unemployment is rate is already not so good; while now due to the coronavirus effect, it has left a devastating impact on the economy of India. The world has changed in the last few months, because of the rare disaster coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a tragically large number of human lives being lost. As the countries already implemented necessary quarantine and social distancing practices to prevent a pandemic, the whole world has been put in a Great Lockdown. There is uncertainty about its impact on people’s live and livelihoods. In addition, many countries are now facing multiple problems -a health crisis, a financial crisis, and a collapse in commodity prices which interact in complex ways. The COVID-19 crisis has led to a severe economic loss of the country. Within a month, unemployment rose from 6.7% on 15 March to 26% on 19th April. During the lockdown, an estimated 14 crore ( 140 million) people lost employment. It is reported that, compared to the previous year, more than 45% of households across the nation’s income is dropped. The Indian economy was expected to lose over 32,000 crore every day during the first 21 days of complete lockdown. The country’s unemployment rate rose to 27.11 % for the week ended May 3, up from the under 7% level before the start of the pandemic in mid-March, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) has said. The Mumbai-based think tank said the rate of unemployment was the highest in the urban areas, which constitute the most number of red zones due to the coronavirus cases, at 29.22%, as against 26.69% for the rural areas. When it was announced on March 25 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to put the country under lockdown to arrest the spread of coronavirus infections; analysts had warned about the unemployment issue ever since then.  The government has so far announced income and food support to the vulnerable people as part of an Rs. 1.70 lakh crore fiscal stimulus to the economic -financial- and possibly humanitarian crisis. But it is a worst-case scenario, that 100 million and more Indian jobs will be at risk during and after the Covid-19 lockdown stage. From the end of March, most companies have come up with the three main decisions – dismissing the people, asking employees to go on indefinite leave without pay and slashing salaries by as much as 85%. During May-July, 2018, the beginning of the year of Narendra Modi’s government said the lack of employment opportunities and rising prices are India’s most pressing challenges. The lockdown has left tens of millions of migrant workers unemployed. They are often from rural areas but live most of the year in India’s megacities serving as day laborer’s, construction workers, or domestic help. Advocates for the poor say that while they support the lockdown to save lives, the way it has been rolled out with apparently little guidance for the poorest of India’s poor- may mean the lockdown itself endangers more lives than the coronavirus. India’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced more than 22 billion in coronavirus relief money. Sitharaman told reporters  “ to reach food to the poorest of the poor, to reach money in the hands of those who need it immediately.” But according to many economists, that’s not enough, “ we need a much, much larger stimulus- at least two or three times that amount”, says Jayati Ghosh, professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. Migrant workers fled India’s cities after Narendra Modi’s lockdown left them suddenly unemployed. Now the employers that let them go may need to offer big incentives to lure them back, “ the country has seen two lockdowns till now, both different in certain aspects, and now we have to think of the way ahead. Prime Minister Narendra Modi noted on Monday that the country will have to give importance to the economy as well, because the lockdown, has severely affected the economy.

In this ongoing crisis where coronavirus has spread the entire world, the economic condition of India, as well as  Assam too has seen a massive downfall. Assam’s educated unemployment rate stands at 17 lakh, as per data provided in the assembly on December 2019. In Assam too, the economic slowdown unfolded across the state, due to lockdown. Migrant workers and students from Assam stuck on different places of India have returned already. State Government has arranged food and lodging for them. The migrants who have returned to Assam say they won’t go back outside of Assam. They feel that it was a lack of opportunities that took them away, but now they will create opportunities locally. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal ordered to create jobs for the migrants who returned from the different parts of the country. He also mentioned prioritizing the skills of the migrant workers. “The Chief Minister directed the panchayat and rural development department to allot jobs under MGNREGA at the earliest.” An official release said. There is no clear indication as to when the country as a whole might emerge from the lockdown. So, it is also high time for the Government to look into the matter of unemployment seriously along with tackling the rare corona pandemic.

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