Who Is Responsible for India’s Jobless Growth?

The push for structural reforms in the past few years – including unprecedented moves to curb black money, relaxation in FDI norms, introduction of the ripe and ready GST, and digitization of services – has helped improve the credit profile of the country, and thus ease its high-debt burden.

The nation’s progress is also reflected on the charts with the Annual Growth Rate scaling much higher than the forecasted growth rates of more than 7 per cent in the past two quarters. It is only in the first quarter of this year that the growth rate has slowed down to 6.1 per cent.

While most of the indicators of growth, viz., strengthening of rupee, stabilization of inflation and increase in FDIs (foreign direct investments) show an upturn to the realization of the promise of ‘Acche Din’, there remains one that reveals the flip side of the ‘Indian Success Story’- the Employment Data.

A critical analysis of the employment scenario across various sectors shows that India is slowly slipping into a long-lasting phase of jobless growth. By industry, the service sector has been the biggest contributor to the Indian economy’s growth.. Trade, hotels, transport and communication, financing, insurance, real estate, business services and community, and social and personal services account for more than 60 per cent of the country’s GDP. Agriculture, forestry and fishing together constitute around 12 per cent of the output, but employs more than 50 per cent of the labor force. Manufacturing makes a contribution of 15 per cent in the GDP, while construction adds another 8 per cent. Mining, quarrying, electricity, gas and water supply build the remaining 5 per cent (Source: MINISTRY OF STATISTICS AND PROGRAMME IMPLEMENTATION, GOI, update – June 2017).

Competition Pressure

After years of steady, consistent growth, many Indian IT companies have faced massive competitive pressure. This has pushed them towards the trend of ‘cost cutting’ in the past few years. According to the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), the rate at which jobs are generated in the IT industry is terribly lower than the average year-on-year growth of the industry itself. It is, thus, evident that the Indian IT industry, while moving towards greater automation, is fast becoming a job-less proposition.

Skilled yet un-skilled

While most try to corner the Government on the issue, as I recall from the discussion at the Parliamentarian Youth Conclave, held in March at Delhi, ‘growing un-employment’ was a persistent undertone of the questions put forth by the youth delegates to most of the Cabinet Ministers from Shri Prakash Javadekar to Shri Piyush Goel. Addressing the concerns, Shri Prakash Javadekar commented, “.. It is also a result of the youth today looking for high-paying options, rather than a good job. This herd mentality is at the root of this crisis”. Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, Founder of Sulabh International and a celebrated social reformer, also stated, “There is no dearth of jobs for those who really want to work and understand the importance of growing one …