Skip to main content

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

TRENDING

Nirma varsity demand for higher fees 'illegal', violates Article 14: Letter to Gujarat HC

Counterview Desk
Students of Gujarat’s top private institute, Nirma University, situated in the outskirts of Ahmedabad, in a letter to the Chief Justice the state High Court, have complained that the authorities are demanding “full fees” from students, without taking into account the “disproportionate impact” the lockdown has on the livelihood of students and families.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Vulnerable to Covid-19, sharp rise in murder of Indian journalists during pandemic

By Nava Thakuria*
Vulnerability of working journalists in India is no way an alien issue as the populous country loses a number of working journalists to assailants as also medical emergencies. Even though there was only one casualty in the Indian media fraternity during the first half of 2020, who was targeted for journalistic work, India has begun witnessing an alarming number of media casualties during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cruel legacy of Green Revolution? Covid-19 underscores 'risky, fragile' food system

By Moin Qazi*  The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the risks of an unhealthy diet and the extreme fragility of food systems. The economic reconstruction that will follow the pandemic is the perfect opportunity to provide better nutrition and health to all. The pandemic should spur us to redefine how we feed ourselves, and agricultural research can play a vital role in making our food systems more sustainable and resilient.

Renounced US citizenship to serve workers, tribals, Sudha Bharadwaj 'odiously' in jail

By Atul, Sandeep Pandey*
Professor Sudha Bharadwaj has been in jail since August 2018. She was taken into police custody on August 26, 2018 on suspicion of being involved in Maoist terror activities after Republic TV claimed that she had allegedly written a letter to Maoists and was conspiring to create public disorder and unrest in India.

Plant organic, eat fresh: Emlen Bage's journey from migrant labour to agri-entrepreneur

By Chandrashekar and Kriti*
Who is a farmer? Type this question in the google search and check out the images? You can see men thronging the screen. This is the popular perception around the globe. Well one can understand how difficult it would be for a woman to defy this perception.

Dichotomy? US Hindutva groups oppose racism, mum on Modi's 'anti-minority' stance

By Our Representative
The Hindus for Human Rights (HHR), a US-based advocacy group, has noticed a major dichotomy between the stance taken by RSS’ US arm, Hindu Swayamsewak Sangh (HSS), expressing “shock” at the “painful killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others”, all of which suggest “the tragic tale of racial injustice” in US, and HSS’ “hatred” for India’s religious minorities and Dalits.

Ahmedabad lockdown: 37% poor households didn't get ration, Dalits, Muslims worst hit

By Rajiv Shah
An authoritative survey, carried out by a group of academics and social workers, among low-income settlements in Ahmedabad during the Narendra Modi-announced Covid-19 lockdown, has said a whopping 37% of the households did not receive any free ration from the government. Of those who did receive ration (59% households), Dalits or scheduled caste (SC) and minority communities were found to be at the receiving end.