Jobs not in sight, data missing too

Shortage of quantitative quality higher education with worsening employment in the informal sector is hurting economy, writes MY Siddiqui

Job market is worsening in India. Government employment is shrinking and employability of our youth waning in view of the country reeling under shortages of quantitative quality higher education with worsening employment in the informal sector of economy, knocked down completely by ill-conceived disastrous demonetisation and impractical hasty implementation of the “well thought out” Goods and Services Tax (GST). This has been abated further by changes in the calculation formulae of Price Indices and GDP, with no correlation with ground reality, compounded further by suppression of employment data by the NDA Union Government.

According to the Union Government’s successive annual budgets, yearly Central Government’s recruitment has fallen from 113,524 to 100933 from 2014-15 to 2016-17. During the same period, outstanding workforce shrunk from 16.91 lakh to 15.23 lakh in the Government of India. Same period saw shrinking of workforce in the Government banks including Regional Rural Bank from 9.47 lakh to 8.97 lakh. This explodes the myth of viability of reservations in government jobs on social and economic backwardness when there is no generation of jobs in the government.

In the liberalised Indian economy, private sector generates employment and the government is required to provide conducive environment for generation of jobs. In short, government is facilitators and private sector providers. Worrying scenario reveals that in an atmosphere of rising social tension caused by targeted mob violence against minorities, Dalits and denigration of women with growing politics of exclusion, politics of hatred and politics of marginalisation, private sector is wary of investment in the country so much so that employment is waning. No business can thrive without peace and social harmony. As a result, there has been quietly large scale lay-offs in the private sector media houses, companies including multi-national corporations.

India has seen wave of jobs in government till 1980s and thereafter since the globalisation in 1991 triggered by Information Technology revolutions followed by spurt in manufacturing, agro-processing, construction, logistics, health care, tourism, media (both print & electronic) and other value services.

Given the fact that only 10 per cent of Indian graduates are employable as per a survey of the NASSCOM, commissioned by the Union Government earlier in the UPA regime, there is urgent needs for increasing seats in government schools and higher education ensuring quality and high standards as abroad. Presently, number of seats in private educational institutes is three times more than the public educational institutes. In view of the growing commercialisation of education, it is necessary to ensure affordability of education for all sections of society with attendant incentives of enhanced scholarships and other facilities to equip the future workforce and job creatons with increased productivity.

However, immediate worry is neither government jobs, nor reservations but the frozen state of the overall job market (job availability) itself. According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), a noted private sector economic organisation for economic assessment, data computation, analysis, evaluation and forecasting country’s state of economy, India’s total number of employed fell from 407.9 million (approximately 48 crore) in December 2017 to 397 million (39.7 crore), with the salaried job losses alone for this period estimated at 3.9 million. It has the potential to upset the apple cart of the government in the general elections 2019, notwithstanding the government’s disclaimer.

The Central Government has not published employment data by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) of the Department of Statistics and the Labour Bureau under a deliberate design to deflect the main problems facing the people and indulging in emotive polarising issues with misgovernance galore. It appears the government has nothing credible to showcase in fulfilment of its 2014 electoral promises resulting in wide scale discontentment!