India’s growth story will remain incomplete if the country fails to provide employment for its youth. Although the unemployment rate in the country is said to have gone down in the July-September quarter of the ongoing fiscal, the issue is far from being addressed. As per modest estimates, India needs to create 2.4 crore jobs every year to prevent the unemployment problem in the country from snowballing into a major crisis. The problem could be better handled with huge investments in both public and private sectors. But, the scenario is quite different today. Since the introduction of the new economic policy, investment in the public sector has gone down considerably over restriction of government’s role- from being an investor to a facilitator. This is why the government is going ahead with a large-scale disinvestment plan and withdrawing itself from many areas. Currently, the government is putting more stress on creating infrastructure, than building industries. On the other hand, notwithstanding the various sops announced by the government, the private sector seems reluctant to invest in traditional labour intensive industries and is preferring businesses that provide maximum returns in the quickest possible time. All these factors out together have created a crisis in the Indian job market, where a huge number of educated youth are unable to get suitable jobs. Thus, instead of reaping demographic dividends, the country is facing a crisis in providing employment to its youth.
For ages, the Indian job market has been divided into the organised and unorganised sectors. While the planned economy took care of the organised sector, the unorganised sector was largely dependent on agriculture, where employment is seasonal. However, as the country is blessed with fertile land, agriculture has remained to be a lucrative profession. But over the years, due to our failure to modernise the agriculture sector, its contribution to GDP has gone down drastically. As a result, the farming community has suffered considerably with many switching their professions to earn a better livelihood. Same is the case with micro and small industries. This sector used to contribute largely towards India’s economic development not long ago, but it also suffered some setbacks, leading to increase in unemployment rate. At present, most employment is in the service sector.
So, there is a need to strike a balance between the three sectors of the economy in order to generate enough employment and ensure adequate jobs for the young population. As agriculture engages over 50 per cent of the Indian workforce, a policy should be envisaged to make it lucrative enough to attract the youths like in the past. Similarly, micro and small scale industries, which survive on big industries, should be provided a chance to enhance the production by making necessary changes that can facilitate such a climate. Last but not the least, we cannot ignore the importance of heavy industries in strengthening the economy. So, the government should make all efforts to establish heavy industries, besides modifying the existing ones. If all the three sectors of the economy receive adequate attention, the employment scenario in the country will certainly take a turn for the better.