Unemployment is a Real Problem! The Political Class Must Address This!

  • The ruling dispensation at the Centre, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance, is quite gung-ho about the prospects of returning to power for the third successive time. What makes the NDA believe that the electorate will shower their blessings on them again? The NDA is quite confident about its ten-year rule despite facing some of the most challenging times vis-à-vis the pandemic, subsequent economic meltdown, the global crisis in the form of ongoing conflicts, and the disturbed world order owing to an extremely aggressive and overtly ambitious expansionist narrative of China. To its credit, the Indian Union Government has successfully navigated some of the most turbulent waters during this period.

GDP growth

PC: The Economic Times

  • However, one of the aspects that cannot be brushed under the carpet any longer is the growing unemployment scenario across the region. The NDA would want us to believe that the nation is progressing on the back of healthy GDP growth consistently despite facing challenges. Nonetheless, all the data made available and the situation on the ground suggest an entirely different scenario unfolding altogether. The ongoing general election should have offered a great opportunity for the opposition ranks to highlight this anomaly where the unemployed youths are struggling to exist. Throughout the election period, from prosperous Kerala, Haryana, and Maharashtra to Bihar, Odisha, and Rajasthan, unemployment has been a running theme.
  • This is not restricted to voters alone but also reporters, pollsters, party workers, and others have picked up too. The distress call is no surprise – that India is facing a big youth unemployment problem that has only worsened post-Covid is borne out by all estimates. The latest PLFS data on unemployment, the Jan-Mar quarter, for the age group of 15-29 is at 17%, a notch higher than the previous quarter. The double-digit unemployment crisis in this group has only worsened over the years. Unpaid work is increasing, the quality of nonwhite collar jobs is declining, self-employment, a desperate choice for most low-income earners, is going up and real wages have been falling. This is when around 5 million people annually join the workforce. It’s a depressing scenario indeed.

Poor Colleges

PC: India Today

  • One cruel twist of many desperate tales is that while coveted govt jobs are elusive, being part of the paper-leak rackets of qualifying exams is kosher – because there’s a chance to make a quick buck. The explosion of low-quality private colleges across India in the last decade has meant an explosion in the number of graduates. Some of those with the means have taken illegal routes abroad only to fall prey to job scams, lured into wars, labor work, and illegal activity. The short-term Agnipath scheme for army recruitment has been a point of pain. To be retired at age 24 is how the scheme is increasingly perceived. Unemployment needs as much political cooperation as political will for the Centre and states. More employment opportunities must be ensured. The new government should initiate suitable measures on this extremely crucial economic aspect.