Unemployment Trends in India

 

  • Post-independence, the issue of employment has had different resonance during different Plan periods.
    • In the initial years of development planning, unemployment was not expected to emerge as a major problem. It was assumed that reasonable growth rate and labour intensive sectors would prevent any increase in unemployment and this expectation continued from one Five Year Plan to another during the 1950’s and 1960’s
    • However, the economy grew at a slower pace (around 3.5% as against the planned rate of 5% per annum) and the labour force grew more rapidly than the increase in employment , doubling the unemployment figures during 1956-1972, from around 5 to 10 million and increasing the unemployment rate from 2.6 to 3.8 per cent
  • 1980s to 2015
    • According to the Indian government’s official statistics between the 1980s and mid-2010s, relying in part on the NSSO data, the unemployment rate in India has been about 2.8 percent
    • In absolute terms, according to the various Indian governments between 1983 and 2005, the number of unemployed persons in India steadily increased from around 7.8 million in 1983 to 12.3 million in 2004–05
    • Using the current daily status definition, the unemployment rate in India had increased from “7.3 percent in 1999–2000 to 8.3 percent in 2004–5”, states the World Bank report
  • 2018-2019
    • According to the Pew Research Centre, a significant majority of Indians consider the lack of employment opportunities as a “very big problem”
      • About 18.6 million Indians were jobless and another 393.7 million work in poor-quality jobs vulnerable to displacement
    • According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) – a United Nations agency, unemployment is rising in India and the unemployment rate in the country stood at 3.5 percent in 2018 and 2019

 

  • Present status
    • Unemployment rate in India rose to 10.3% in 2020, according to a periodic labour force survey by the National Statistical Office (NSO)
    • The rise in the unemployment rate comes in the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which suspended commercial activities for a long time, leading to people losing jobs countrywide
    • Data from the periodic labour force survey shows the female unemployment rate in urban India at 13.1% for October-December quarter of 2020, which is higher than the national average of 10.3%, while women labour force participation rate stood at 20.6% compared to national average of 47.3%.
    • Further, While 67 per cent of all men of working age are employed, only 9 per cent of all women of working age are employed
    • Overall, Women face a much higher unemployment rate of 17 per cent compared to 6 per cent for men