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Jobs fail to catch up with India's growing youth population

In absolute terms, 46.9 million of India's youth were unemployed in 2011, compared with 33.5 million in 2001

Somesh Jha  |  New Delhi 

As the population of India's youth (aged 15-24 years) more-than-doubled during 2001-2011, the unemployment rate among this section rose from 17.6 per cent to 20 per cent, show the latest Census data. The unemployment also takes into account those seeking jobs after working for three-six months in a particular segment (marginal workers).

In absolute terms, 46.9 million of India's youth were unemployed in 2011, compared with 33.5 million in 2001. Overall, 9.6 per cent of the total population was unemployed in 2011, compared with 6.8 per cent in 2001. In 2011, the number of youth in India rose to 23.2 million from 10 million in 2001. By comparison, the country's total population rose 17.71 per cent during this period.

20% Unemployment rate among youth (15-24 years) in 2011, against 17.6% in 2001
46.9 mn Number of youths available for work in 2011, compared with 33.5 million in 2001
9.6% Unemployment rate at all-India level in 2011, against 6.8% in 2001
23.2 mn Population of youth in 2011, double that in 2001
Onus on Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance government to create jobs for yout

Economists said the rise in the number of unemployed youth was alarming and needed the immediate attention of the new government. "This is alarming and was responsible for the huge voter turnout during the Lok Sabha elections and the massive victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Employment-intensive sectors were not able to generate jobs, leading to this," said Amitabh Kundu of the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

He added people were banking on the Narendra Modi government to address the issue of unemployment. "The stress should be on skill development and taking care of small-scale industries," he said.

The new government has already initiated steps towards skill development for the youth. The labour ministry has mooted a National Employment Policy, largely aimed at tapping the potential of the youth and revamping the unorganised sector in India. Under the policy, the focus will be on providing skill development in unorganised non-farm sectors such as construction.

"There is an urgent need to expand vocational training at the certificate level to upgrade and enrich the skill base and the productivity levels of growing non-farm employment sectors such as construction," said a ministry note.

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First Published: Thu, July 03 2014. 00:43 IST