Unemployment In India

The unemployment rate in India fell to 7% in September 2020 from the record high of 29% since the country went into lockdown from March 2020, says the report of CMIE – Centre For Monitoring Indian Economy. The lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak has forced many industries to shut down thus increasing unemployment across the country.

The unemployment in India stood at 6.1% in the financial year 2018 mentions the NSSO – National Sample Survey Organisation Report 2019. Candidates can check the detailed information on NSSO on the given link.

The topic of unemployment, the data related to unemployment in India and initiatives by the government to alleviate unemployment is important for aspirants preparing for competitive exams. It holds relevance in the general awareness section of various government exams like SSC exams, Bank exams, RRB exams etc. 

Candidates can check the following links for General Awareness preparation:

For candidates preparing for UPSC, unemployment in India can be asked in GS I or as an essay question. Therefore, this article will discuss detailed information on unemployment in India, types of unemployment, causes and government initiatives to control unemployment in India.

Candidates appearing for UPSC 2020 can go through the following links:

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What is Unemployment?

Unemployment is a situation when a person actively searches for a job and is unable to find work. Unemployment tells the health of the economy. 

The unemployment rate is the most frequent measure of unemployment. The unemployment rate is the number of people unemployed divided by the working population or people working under labour force.

Unemployment rate = (Unemployed Workers / Total labour force) × 100

National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) defines employment and unemployment on the following activity statuses of an individual, NSSO, an organization under MoSPI – Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation measures India’s unemployment on three approaches:

  1. Daily Status Approach: unemployment status of a person under this approach is measured for each day in a reference week. A person having no gainful work even for one hour in a day is described as unemployed for that day.
  2. Weekly Status Approach: This approach highlights the record of those persons who did not have gainful work or were unemployed even for an hour on any day of the week preceding the date of the survey.
  3. Usual Status Approach: This gives the estimates of those persons who were unemployed or had no gainful work for a major time during the 365 days.

Types of Unemployment in India

In India, there are seven types of unemployment. The types of unemployment are discussed below:

  1. Disguised Unemployment: This is a type of unemployment where people employed are more than actually needed. Disguised unemployment is generally traced in unorganised sectors or the agricultural sectors.
  2. Structural Unemployment: This unemployment arises when there is a mismatch between the worker’s skills and availability of jobs in the market. Many people in India do not get job matching to their skills or due to lack of required skills they do not get jobs and because of poor education level, it becomes to provide them related training. 
  3. Seasonal Unemployment: That situation of unemployment when people do not have during certain seasons of the year such as labourers in India rarely have occupation throughout the year.
  4. Vulnerable Unemployment: people are deemed unemployed under this unemployment. People are employed but informally i.e. without proper job contracts and thus records of their work are never maintained. It is one of the main types of unemployment in India.
  5. Technological Unemployment: the situation when people lose their jobs due to advancement in technologies. In 2016, the data of the World Bank predicted that the proportion of jobs threatened by automation in India is 69% year-on-year.
  6. Cyclical Unemployment: unemployment caused due to the business cycle, where the number of unemployed heads rises during recessions and declines with the growth of the economy. Cyclical unemployment figures in India are negligible. 
  7. Frictional Unemployment: this is a situation when people are unemployed for a short span of time while searching for a new job or switching between the jobs. The Frictional Unemployment also called Search Unemployment, it is the time lag between the jobs. Frictional unemployment is considered as voluntary unemployment because the reason for unemployment is not a shortage of jobs, but in fact, the workers themselves quit their jobs in search of better opportunities.

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Causes of Unemployment

The major causes of unemployment in India are as mentioned below:

  • Large population.
  • Lack of vocational skills or low educational levels of the working population.
  • Labour-intensive sectors suffering from the slowdown in private investment particularly after demonetisation
  • The low productivity in the agriculture sector plus the lack of alternative opportunities for agricultural workers that makes transition among the three sectors difficult.
  • legal complexities, Inadequate state support, low infrastructural, financial and market linkages to small businesses making such enterprises unviable with cost and compliance overruns.
  • Inadequate growth of infrastructure and low investments in the manufacturing sector, hence restricting the employment potential of the secondary sector.
  • The huge workforce of the country is associated with the informal sector because of a lack of required education or skills, and this data is not captured in employment statistics.
  • The main cause of structural unemployment is the education provided in schools and colleges are not as per the current requirements of the industries. 
  • Regressive social norms that deter women from taking/continuing employment.

Impact Of Unemployment

The unemployment in any nation have the following effects on the economy:

  • The problem of unemployment gives rise to the problem of poverty.
  • The government suffers extra borrowing burden because unemployment causes a decrease in the production and less consumption of goods and services by the people.
  • Unemployed persons can easily be enticed by antisocial elements. This makes them lose faith in the democratic values of the country.
  • People unemployed for a long time may indulge in illegal and wrong activities for earning money which increases crime in the country.
  • Unemployment affects the economy of the country as the workforce that could have been gainfully employed to generate resources actually gets dependent on the remaining working population, thus escalating socio-economic costs for the state. For instance, a 1 % increase in unemployment reduces the GDP by 2 %.
  • It is often seen that unemployed people end up getting addicted to drugs and alcohol or attempts suicide, leading losses to the human resources of the country.

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Government Initiative To Control Unemployment

Several policies have been initiated by the government to reduce the unemployment problem in the economy. The policies to reduce unemployment are highlighted below:

  • In 1979 the government launched TRYSEM – Training of Rural Youth for Self-Employment The objective of this scheme was to help unemployed youth of rural areas aged between 18 and 35 years to acquire skills for self-employment. The priority under this scheme was given to women and youth belonging to SC/ST category.
  • The Government launched the IRDP – Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) in the year 1980 to create full employment opportunities in rural areas.
  • A new initiative was tried namely RSETI/RUDSETI in 1982 jointly by Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Educational Trust, Canara Bank and Syndicate Bank. The aim of RUDSETI, the acronym of Rural Development And Self Employment Training Institute was to mitigate the unemployment problem among the youth. Rural Self Employment Training Institutes/ RSETIs are now managed by Banks with active cooperation from the state and central Government.
  • The Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY) was started in April 1989 by merging the two existing wage employment programme i.e. RLEGP – Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme and NREP – National Rural Employment Programme on an 80:20 cost-sharing basis between the state and centre.
  • MNREGA – Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act launched in 2005 providing the right to work to people. An employment scheme of MGNREGA aimed to provide social security by guaranteeing a minimum of 100 days paid work per year to all the families whose adult members opt for unskilled labour-intensive work. For details on MNREGA check the link provided. 
  • PMKVY – Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana was launched in 2015. The objective of PMKVY was to enable the youth of the country to take up industry-relevant skill training in order to acquire a secured better livelihood. For further details on Pradhan Mantri Kushal Vikas Yojana check the given link. 
  • The government launched the Start-Up India Scheme in 2016. The aim of Startup India programmes was to develop an ecosystem that nurtures and promotes entrepreneurship across the nation. Check detailed information on Startup India Scheme in the given link. 
  • Stand Up India Scheme also launched in 2016 aimed to facilitate bank loans to women and SC/ST borrowers between Rs 10 lakh and Rs. 1 crore for setting up a greenfield enterprise. Details on Stand-Up India is given in the linked page.
  • National Skill Development Mission was set up in November 2014 to drive the ‘Skill India’ agenda in a ‘Mission Mode’ in order to converge the existing skill training initiatives and combine scale and quality of skilling efforts, with speed. Check the National Skill Development Mission in detail. 

Like the above-mentioned schemes, there are various other schemes launched by the Government of India in order to address the social and economic welfare of the citizens and the nation.  The links of related schemes launched by the government are given below.

Candidates appearing for any competitive exams must keep up to date with information on PRASAD schemes. Aspirants can check in detail various Government Schemes which will be helpful for UPSC aspirants and for other competitive exams.

Unemployment in India – Important Questions

Q1. Unemployment that occurs during the normal workings of an economy as people change jobs and move across the country is called _____.

  1. structural unemployment.
  2. natural unemployment
  3. frictional unemployment
  4. cyclical unemployment

Answer (3) Frictional unemployment

Q2. The natural rate of unemployment is generally thought of as the

  1. the sum of frictional unemployment and structural unemployment
  2. the ratio of the frictional unemployment rate to the cyclical unemployment rate
  3. the sum of frictional unemployment and cyclical unemployment
  4. the sum of structural unemployment and cyclical unemployment

Answer (1) the sum of frictional unemployment and structural unemployment

Q3. A sales manager of an equipment manufacturing company loses his job because the company relocated the unit to another country is an example of ____ unemployment.

  1. Seasonal unemployment
  2. Frictional unemployment
  3. Cyclical unemployment
  4. Structural unemployment

Answer (4) Structural unemployment

Q4. When the rate of unemployment increases because of recession or depression. It is which type of unemployment?

  1. Structural unemployment
  2. Seasonal unemployment
  3. Cyclical Unemployment
  4. Frictional Unemployment

Answer (3) Cyclical Unemployment

Q5. Discouraged workers are not considered as a part of the labour force, so classifying them as unemployed would

  1. have an indeterminate impact on the unemployment rate
  2. not change the unemployment rate
  3. increase the unemployment rate
  4. decrease the unemployment rate

Answer (3) increase the unemployment rate

Candidates can check Previous Year Question Papers with solution PDF to understand the type of questions asked in examinations related to such topics.

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