The Indian youths dilemma
Economic growth, typically, also leads to growth in new jobs and consequently a higher rate of employment. However India has been witnessing a slow down in job creation even while economic indicators were showing positive growth. This phenomenon is indicative of substantial growth taking in capital intensive infra and Industry, where labour growth will be disproportionate to market growth. If we choose selective rural economic growth industries like food chain, agricultural produce logistics including cold chain, it will be much more feasible to create matching job creation for our youth. These sectors offer skilled jobs for non professional graduates, who form a majority of our workforce. This could also the pressure on most youth to seek underpaid and unmatched jobs in a shrinking or stagnant job market.
To balance job creation of this magnitude, India should grow between 8 to 8.5 % annually to meet a net growth of 1.5% annually. However this was only recorded during 2000=2012. This is a real worry as our economy is still to respond to the post pandemic revival as expected.
India boasts the world’s largest youth population that adds approximately 1.3 million to its workforce every month, as per World Bank data. Our benefit from the ‘demographic dividend’ resulting from the proportion of those gainfully employed far outstripping its dependent population would turn out to be a mirage, If the same were to turn out to be social burdens without gainful jobs. Depressed economic growth and along with continued slump in investments could lead to the nation witnessing the highest unemployment rate (6.1 per cent) in over four decades as prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
An uncertain future
Approximately 1.3 billion of India’s population is under the age of 25. So it is obvious the youth will be the real sufferers in any distress caused by an economic slowdown. Young high school or university graduates often with semi-skilled, entry-level positions are often the first to go when companies are faced with a crisis.
Again with 97 per cent of Indian children between the ages of six and 14 were enrolled in school, with a substantial percentage going on to secure college degrees as well, aspiration for an income is very high after especially having spent significant time and money toward their education. Mostly by Parents who having sacrificed on basis needs to educate their children and have not been able to save either, from their suboptimal incomes. This would increase general stress levels in our middle class society.
In hard times, educated workers end up taking whatever job they can find, regardless of how overqualified they may be for those types of work. In doing so, they endanger career growth, training and skill development. They are also unable to save or fund for self-education or skill training.
In general surveys and studies in recent months, a majority of respondents believe, a long term stress across India’s urban centers, as they still find themselves out of jobs and facing hugely uncertain futures. So if small industries fail more jobs may be on the chopping block to in the absence of governmental support. Let us hope we have a quick post pandemic revival as many economists are telling us. The silver lining is the much better revival rates of patients with covid than most other countries.