Unemployed Indians crowd outside the Employment Exchange Office | AP
Is India on the path of growth? Growth for the sake of growth is the nature of the cancer cell. Growth without employment is nothing but cancerous to the economy. For decades independent India witnessed growth without development, making the rich richer and the poor poorer. Robbing Peter to pay Paul was the favourite pass time of the inept political managers who cultivated the vote banks. ‘Garibi Hatao’ remained a will O’ the whisp, a mirage, an enigma, a riddle and a puzzle. India could not reap the demographic dividend. Unemployment soared high. When India is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its independence, there are silver linings in the dark sky.
Here is the finding of the Center for Monitoring the Indian economy, India’s unemployment rate in June 2022 spiked to 7.8 per cent from 7.12 per cent in May. Disturbing indeed. But India rose to the occasion, acted fast, and here is the result. The unemployment rate decreased to 7.29 per cent as of July 14, 2022. Not a reason to rest on our laurels. The decline is in urban unemployment. Rural unemployment hiked considerably to 8.03 per cent in June this year from 6.62 per cent in May. Certainly, India should take its economic growth more seriously with the accent on employment generation and reduction of economic disparity between the city and the village.
Resurgent India is ready for an economic upsurge. A reality check reveals, that what does not make economic sense, will not make political sense either. India, as a political entity, is determined to ensure economic sustainability in its growth and development. Through decentralization or localization of production and upgradation of quality and efficiency in the generation, distribution, marketing, and export, India should leap forward in economic development in an unorthodox, competitive and seamless manner. Economic analysts have predicted that India will be the third largest economy in the world by 2030. Atmanirbhar Bharat will lead to the change from survival to strength.
Government should remain a facilitator, paving the way for independent and hassle-free functioning of the engines of economic growth. Enlightened entrepreneurship will trigger an economic upswing in the nation. The government would prefer to don the mantle of a friend, philosopher and guide to the industry, business and its corollary pursuits. India will consider public and private investment in the economy with equanimity and balance.
The nation is indebted to its workers who built up this country brick by brick, road by road, factory by factory, school by school, hospital by hospital. A contented workforce indicates the index of a nation’s happiness and equanimity. Without labour, capital becomes irrelevant. Without capital, the labour remains non-productive. India should implement its Labour Agenda, which will turn the workforce of India into the best in the world. We should develop the core competence of our workforce and make India the sought-after destination for human resources, to turn the wheels of progress in the days to come. It is desirable that we set up a Labour Authority of India as a nodal agency to ensure the growth and development of the workforce of this country.
Already a project for the national registration of workers has been introduced along with one nation - one ration card scheme. We should set up a National Bank for Labour to usher in an era of entrepreneurial development among the workers. An insurance-linked pension scheme to provide a monthly pension of rupees 10000 to the workers after 60 years of age, should be launched. A time-bound project needs to be taken up to provide houses for all workers. Facilitation centres should be set up in different parts of the country to aid, guide and handhold the workers to have their grievances redressed and ease their access to various government schemes. An overseas employment exchange should be opened to help the workers utilize the opportunities in the international labour market. A national campaign will be launched for the abolition of child labour in the country.
India needs to strategize its economic development through innovative approaches and initiatives so as to ensure growth with employment generation. We should focus on skill development through appropriate courses resulting in the capacity building of the students and youth. India should become the most favoured destination in the world in the search for talent and competence. The employment policy should be so oriented that training for a living will form the core of the skilling, reskilling and multiskilling; training, retraining and multi-training pursuits of the nation. World-class institutions for human resource and skill development should be established in all the states of India, which should emerge as the flag bearers of India’s leap forward in the global employment market.
The nation is proud of the non-resident Indians and sensitive to their needs and aspirations. The pandemic has forced many of them to come back to the motherland without work and income. There can be Panchayath level professional service agencies owned and operated by the Pravasis. Government should provide for special hassle-free investment by the returning Pravasis who want to set up new enterprises. Through professional and vocational training and capacity building, the returning Pravasis will be equipped to tap the global employment market. A National Social Security Board will be set up for the benefit of the Pravasis. To ensure the democratic empowerment of the non-resident Indians, virtual Pravasi constituencies will be created, so that the Indians domiciled abroad can get elected to the legislature. Special self-help groups should be nurtured for the benefit of returning Pravasi women. India Houses should be established in other countries to handhold and guide the Indian workforce there. Our Embassies should be reoriented to be more people-friendly and offer effective service for the redressal of their grievances.
Employment is intrinsically intertwined with employability. Jubilarian India should launch an aggressive campaign to turn the population into manpower; waste to wealth. Remember, India is surging ahead to be the most youthful nation in the world. The new gen population in India will prove to be the foot soldiers of India’s great march to economic victory and the engines of development for the world. India should be able to proudly echo the poet ‘bliss was it to be alive in those days, but to be young was very heaven ‘.With a job on hand, the youth of India should proudly assert ‘Mera Bharat Mahan ‘.