In the tumultuous landscape of Indian politics, a recent event has thrust a long-neglected issue into the limelight: youth unemployment. Two individuals, in a daring act, brought this concern to the Lok Sabha, reflecting the frustration of countless young minds across India facing joblessness.
The Stark Reality
1. Scale of the Problem
The severity of India’s youth unemployment is underscored by data from the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy, revealing a sharp drop from 25% (2016-’17) to 17% (2022-’23) in the youth workforce. In contrast, those above 45 witnessed an increase from 37% to 49%.
2. Global Comparisons
India’s youth unemployment quandary, highlighted by the World Bank, eclipses that of Bangladesh and Indonesia. The stark contrast in employing young talents raises questions about India’s economic dynamics.
3. Projections vs. Reality
Pranjul Bhandari, HSBC’s chief India economist, estimates a need for 70 million jobs in the next decade. However, the grim reality suggests a shortfall, with only 24 million on the horizon.
The Education-Employment Conundrum
1. Inverse Relationship
State of Working India report 2023 exposes a perplexing trend – a staggering 42% unemployment rate among young graduates, fueling the discontent witnessed in the recent parliamentary protest.
2. Desperate Prospects
Educated youth, epitomized by the Parliament protestors, face bleak job prospects, creating a powder keg of frustration among the educated demographic.
Political Response and Vacuum
1. State-Level Dynamics
While youth unemployment resonates in state elections, the national landscape remains conspicuously silent. Recent instances of corruption in government recruitment have stirred public anger at the state level.
2. Policy Interventions
States like Bihar respond with caste-based quotas, attempting to address the imbalance. However, the insignificance of government jobs necessitates broader measures.
3. Delhi’s Responsibility
In India’s constitutional framework, job creation falls under the central government’s purview. Surprisingly, Delhi remains insulated from the fury, a testament to the political sway of the BJP and Modi’s popularity.
Media’s Role and Economic Realities
1. Media Dynamics
The national media’s reluctance to channel public anger towards the government, coupled with its close ties to the BJP, keeps the conversation away from pressing issues like unemployment.
2. Jobless Growth
India’s economic growth since the late ’80s has been marked by jobless growth. The State of Working India report 2023 emphasizes the disconnect between economic and employment growth.
3. Structural Challenges
The deeply embedded issues of gender roles in India contribute to the unemployment crisis, necessitating massive and time-consuming economic and social transformations.
As India grapples with the dichotomy of economic growth and burgeoning youth unemployment, the need for comprehensive, sustained policy measures is undeniable. The recent parliamentary protest, though dramatic, sheds light on an issue that demands urgent attention. The socio-economic fabric of India is at a crossroads, requiring bold initiatives to pave the way for a future where employment is not just a statistic but a reality for the nation’s youth.