The long queue of job seekers - AFP photo
Despite racing ahead in economic growth, surpassing China’s slowing economy; India is unable to keep pace when it comes to creating jobs. A survey by Labour Bureau shows that job growth has declined in the third quarter of 2014-15.
During the quarter October-December 2014, only 1.17 lakh jobs were created in eight key sectors of the economy. A careful perusal shows that job growth has been steadily on the decline in the first three quarters of the year. From 1.82 lakh jobs created in April-June, it came down to 1.58 lakh jobs in July-September; and further slid to 1.17 lakh jobs in October-December 2014.
Total jobs created in the first three quarters of 2014-15 therefore add to 4.57 lakh. At this rate, even if take the highest figure of job creation in 2014 for the first quarter of 2014 as the likely jobs to be created in the fourth quarter January-March 2015, the total jobs created would be somewhere around 5.40 lakh. India needs to create about 1.2 crore jobs every year to cater to the needs of the aspiring workforce waiting to enter the job market every year.
The dismally low job growth is being witnessed at a time when economic growth has been revised upwards for 2014-15 fiscal. The government has pegged economic growth for 2014-15 fiscal at 7.4 per cent.
The declining rate of job creation at a time when the economic growth has been on an upswing defies the academic assumption that the higher the growth more will be the employment generation. Recall the period when Dr Manmohan Singh became the Prime Minister in 2004. Between 2004 and 2009, India’s GDP grew at a stupendous rate of over 8 per cent, and clocked 9.3 per cent at its best. Going by the general economic prescription, the high growth rate should have created a large number of jobs.
It didn’t happen. On the contrary, India witnessed a jobless growth when its GDP was galloping ahead. A Planning Commission study shows that 140 million people left agriculture in the period 2005-09. Those quitting agriculture are generally believed to be entering the manufacturing sector. But even in the manufacturing sector, 53 million jobs were lost.
The question that crops up is where the 140 million who quit agriculture, and the 53 million who were shunted out of the manufacturing sector, finally go to? The only plausible answer is they joined the ever-growing army of daily wage workers in the cities or became landless farm workers.
More recently, CRISIL, a global analytical company has shown in a study that since 2007 over 37 million Indian farmers had abandoned agriculture and migrated into the cities. But in the last two years – between 2012 and 2014 – when economic growth had remained sluggish, an estimated 15 million have returned back to the villages in the absence of job opportunities. This establishes the argument that more and more people are joining the daily wage worker class, whether on the farm or in the cities.
If providing more and more workforce with jobs that are akin to daily wagers (dehari mazdoor); what becomes obvious is that the fruits of economic growth are simply not benefitting the common man. It is time to rethink and revisit the economic growth model to see where an economically-secure employment environment can be created. When I look around I am baffled to find that millions of jobs in the formal sector are lying vacant, and in fact such vacancies are growing every month. Government as well as public sector institutions are being starved to death in the process. Appointments in place of those who are retiring are not being filled.
Almost all universities and government colleges have anything between 40 to 60 per cent of the jobs lying vacant. In schools, both primary and secondary, over 5 lakh jobs as per a conservative estimate are lying vacant. Add to this the jobs required in hospitals, police, postal services, and other government institutions, several million employment vacancies exist.
Filling these jobs will also raise GDP besides making these dying institutes functional. I fail to understand why are government bodies/institutes as well as public sector undertakings deliberately and systematically being killed. This cannot continue like this anymore. Job creation cannot be left to private sector alone.
Where are the jobs? ABPLive.in May 3, 2015.http://www.abplive.in/author/