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High youth unemployment: India 'fails' to take advantage of demographic dividend

By Varun Kumar
As coronavirus pandemic continues amplifying challenges among youth with regard to employment opportunities, government policies have further resulted in economic slowdown, leading to mass unemployment and loss jobs. According to the International Labour Organisation report “Covid-19 and the World of Work” (May 27, 2020), around 94 percent of the world’s workers are living in countries with some sort of workplace closure measures in place.
Keeping this framework in view, the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi, organized an online panel discussion on harnessing demographic dividend amidst Covid-19 in India, even as seeking to find ways ahead for youth employment.
Opening the discussion, Dr Simi Mehta, CEO and editorial director, IMPRI, said, as one observed World Population Day on July 11, a major concern that needed to be addressed is the future of the youth, who form 28 percent of India’s total population. This section is considered demographic dividend, which implies that if they are equipped with quality education and skilled training, they will be able to seek decent and relevant jobs, hugely contributing to the country’s economy.
PC Mohanan, former acting chairperson, National Statistical Commission, Government of India, who chaired the panel discussion, discussing total fertility rate, said that while in 1970s 51 percent of India’s population was below the age of 20, now it has gone down to 41 percent, and by 2050 it will further go down to 22 percent, resulting in demographic shift. According to him, by 2050 India will lose demographic advantage.
Mohanan said that the median age of the population in India is 28, as against Japan’s 48.6 years and China’s 42 years. This data clearly suggests the need for taking demographic advantage in favour of India. However, regretfully, we have one of the highest unemployment rate -- 15 to 29 percent among the youth -- and things have worsened amidst the current pandemic.
Dr Arjun Kumar, director IMPRI, and India-China visiting fellow, Ashoka University, asserted that there is a need to utilise the current demographic transition wisely and diligently. We have two-thirds working age population, and of this, we have only one-third which gets employment. This highlights the problem of unemployment and under-employment.
India has the highest unemployment rate -- 15 to 29 percent among the youth -- and things have worsened amidst the current pandemic
Prof Balwant Singh Mehta, research director, IMPRI, and senior fellow, Institute for Human Development (IHD), Delhi, said that by 2030, India will be the most populous country with 1.46 billion people, surpassing China’s projected population of 1.39 billion.
He said, data suggest that the median age in India will be 32 years in 2030, as against US’ 39, UK’s 42, China’s 43 and Brazil’s 35. Today, 28 percent youths in India belong to the age group of 15-29 years, but half of them have less than secondary education or are illiterate, while only 13 percent are graduate.
He further said, only 5.5 million additional jobs were created in the country in 2017-18 against 8 million youth that entered the job markets. Clearly, India has been facing a huge jobs problem with 6.1 percent overall unemployment last year, the highest in 45 years. Amidst the Covid-19 lockdown, economic growth has slowed down, leading to an unemployment rate of a whopping 24 percent, according to Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy data.
Mr Toshi Wungtung, MLA from Nagaland, said that while the state has fewer Covid-19 positive cases, the pandemic has affected the economy in a big way. The sudden shutdown of industries, factories and other departmental activities has led to a situation where 70 per cent of construction workers have left the state. The shutdown has also adversely impacted the tourism sector.
Prof Vinoj Abraham of the Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, said that demographic dividend is closely associated with demographic transition, which is linked to structural transition of the economy. For instance, there is always a shift from agricultural to service to secondary sector. This was part of structural transition in European counties. But in India, we have demographic transition, yet the required structural transition has not taken place.
Then, he said, demographic dividend is often discussed without addressing female workforce participation rate. Cultural norms is a major factor that leads to low participation of females in labour market. Further, large workforce in the market is highly unskilled or lacks proper training. This creates the challenge of high unemployment rate. The Covid-19 pandemic has only worsened the situation, resulting in mass unemployment, layoffs, etc.
Prof Anjana Thampi assistant professor, Jindal Global Law School, Sonepat, said that women both in urban and rural regions are largely affected by the pandemic. Urban women lost their jobs, while household chores for women in the rural regions increased. Data show that around 27 million people may have have lost their jobs.
Ritika Gupta, senior research assistant, IMPRI, said that youth unemployment rate among males is 18.7 percent and females 27.2 percent, while youth work participation rate among males is three-fifths and one-fifth among females. As for graduate youth, work participation rate among males is 47.7 per cent as against 29.7 percent among females.
Anshula Mehta, also senior research assistant, IMPRI, said challenges faced by youth during Covid-19 include (1) institutional failure, ill organised labour market and skill mismatch, (ii) low prevalence of technical training among youth workforce, and (iii) demand drive employment and supply driven education, etc.

Comments

sanu said…
Poor quality
sanu said…
Mass production of poor quality candidates
Unknown said…
I feel more than 80 % people are not employed. Most are dependent to their parents. Others don't have long term employment. Most job forms which are devloped post liberalisation of different nature(which is beyond understanding of common mass,our education system unessarly be blamed). In skill India what skill we are talking about.
Unidirectional policies to favour one sector brought drought in job market.
Digitalisation will have govt good surveillance over empty pockets of common people.
Anonymous said…
Professor vinoy arbhan is an idiot. First there should be jobs for people to reap demographic dividend. Demographic dividend is neutral to gender. For example we have 10 males and 10 females and economic technique/policies/govt action/choices be so adopted to create only 10 jobs. First we applied 7 males and 3 females. Later we applied 7females and 3 males. By increasing female participation is there there increase in number of people participating in economic activities.
Actually no body knows what problem is, else problem would had been solved and most of the population would had jobs. We have very poor economists in country who don't have skills to overcome the economic problems and challenges. It is really lack of skill. They should be replaced first because they studied earlier than young population and standard of education they recieved don't fit present day situation. Nikalo sab ko bahar.
Anonymous said…
Can anyone tell why there is mismatch between the job and and actual qualification? Would love know from senior professors.

Sound of confidence is missing in everyone's voice.

Why is male favouritism in job market?Terminology by student is incorrect. It's not favouritism. Why is so I being female is employed and my husband is unemployed?
Mr vinoy suggested about short term employment. Producing locally and selling globally. even this is not valid/possible at current situation due to vivid 19. This will again add to backlog of unemployed in near future.
Person who is not in frame is suggesting fraudulant technique to raise the number of employment by distorting definition.
Work from home is bad idea, why there be need of offices, furniture and transport ect and employment for people involved in these sections.when culture of work from home be promoted even more unemployment will arise. Our Economist suggesting such ways where one job created distroying 10 other jobs. Truely speaking these poor economists need reskilling first. Even this person is talking about encouraging women employment, which is good but not giving real solution to boost up human employment.
Another anology based wrong reasoning that youth unemployment is global phenomina.
Mr PC manmohan is even answered in brushing the surface. Discussion come out nothing but no solution to problem and logically when there is no plan to make democgrafic dividend then is likely to come out as disaster.

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