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Squandering India's demographic dividend

Looking at the nature of employment among the youth, we find that a disproportionately large share are self-employed


Radhicka Kapoor 

Radhicka Kapoor

India is facing a serious jobs crisis. The findings of the Periodic Labour Force Survey or PLFS (2017-18) recently reported by this newspaper, reaffirm the enormity of the crisis. For an economy that has typically been characterised by disguised unemployment and has witnessed open unemployment rates in the range of 2 to 3 per cent, an unemployment rate (UR) of 6 per cent is startling to say the least. What is particularly alarming is that the high UR is largely a consequence of unemployment among the youth (15-29 age bracket). The UR for the youth is reported at 17.4 per cent and 13.6 per cent for rural males and females respectively. The corresponding figures for urban males and females stand at 18.7 per cent and 27.2 per cent respectively. That Narendra Modi came to power backed by the support of the youth on his promise of providing them jobs makes his government’s discomfort at acknowledging the recently released data palpable. But, this is not just an election issue. It is about India squandering its demographic dividend — a once in a lifetime opportunity for a country.



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First Published: Thu, February 14 2019. 20:32 IST