Unemployment has been one of the biggest challenges for policymakers in India. Now they have more reasons to worry about it because as per the ‘State of Working India 2018’ report, the country has the highest rate of unemployment in 20 years.
The report, which was released by the Centre for Sustainable Employment of the Azim Premji University, brought to light some scary realities that plague the job market in India.
According to the report, “Even as GDP growth rates have risen, the relationship between growth and employment generation has become weaker over time. In the 1970s and 1980s, when GDP growth was around 3-4 per cent, employment growth was around 2 per cent per annum. Since the 1990s, and particularly in the 2000s, GDP growth has accelerated to 7 per cent but employment growth has slowed to 1 per cent or even less. The ratio of GDP growth to employment growth is now less than 0.1.”
Shockingly, 82 per cent of male and 92 per cent of female workers earn less than ₹10,000 a month (₹18,000 per month is the minimum salary recommended by the Seventh Central Pay Commission). “This suggests that a large majority of Indians are not being paid what may be termed a living wage, and it explains the intense hunger for government jobs,” stated the report.
Another disturbing truth the report highlighted is the growing rate of open unemployment among the educated youth. “It used to be said that India’s problem is not unemployment but underemployment and low wages. But a new feature of the economy is a high rate of open unemployment, which is now over 5 per cent overall, and a much higher 16 per cent for youth and the higher educated,” stated the report.
According to the report, while the increase in unemployment is clearly visible across India, but it is particularly severe in the northern states.