India’s unemployment rate remains high, aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic
NEW DELHI – Engineering graduate Govind Mishra, 31, dreamed of earning a big salary in a regular office job after earning his Bachelor of Technology (BTech) a decade ago.
He had worked in the private sector as a data manager for four years, but had no job satisfaction and was unable to support himself on 8,000 rupees (S$144) a month in New Delhi.
He then decided to try for a government job, but failed despite four years of exams to qualify for a job. He is now back in his village to help with the farm work, toying with the idea of starting a business like a village shop.
“I thought BTech had value. But when you get to the job, you realize companies want totally different skills like (programming language) Java, which wasn’t there in the curriculum,” he said. declared. “I will not apply for a job again.”
Disillusionment among India’s employable population, analysts said, was a worrying trend amid its unemployment problem.
India’s labor force participation rate, which is the percentage of the population that is working or actively seeking employment, is 40%, compared to the global rate of 60%.
“It’s not that everyone is desperate. But the marginalized are losing hope and that’s not a good sign,” said Mahesh Vyas, director general of the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).
Jobless growth in India has been a problem compounded by the pandemic. Unemployment rose to 7.83% in April, from 7.6% in March, according to the CMIE.
In 2019 to 2020, there were 442 million people in the labor force, and that number fell to 424 million the following year when India imposed a strict Covid-19 lockdown.
As the economy began to pick up speed on pent-up demand, the number jumped to 435 million people.
“It’s a challenge that pent-up demand can meet to some extent. But the recovery is still happening. We’re not employing as many people as (we were) before the pandemic. We need more people. investments to happen and it doesn’t happen,” Vyas said. “For the future, the situation looks difficult.”
Women, in particular, have dropped out of the labor market in a trend that continues to worry policymakers. Factors range from having to stay home to care for children to not having enough job opportunities.
Job creation has not kept pace with the 12 million people entering the labor market each year. This is explained by the decline in investment, an education system deemed out of step with economic growth, the slowdown in the labor-intensive manufacturing sector and the service-oriented economy.