The Indian economy is on a stable footing, with multilateral agencies predicting around 8 per cent growth over the medium to long term. Projected pick-up in the investment cycle together with accelerated policy reforms could underpin higher economic growth. This growth trajectory is based on India’s favourable demographics. India has the distinctive advantage of a young population and by 2025 the country is expected to have the one of the largest labour forces in the world of over 600 million. The measures India takes now would determine the fullest realization of its demographic dividend.
The imminent challenge for the government is to create employment opportunities for more than 10 million people who are joining the workforce every year.
To meet the shortage of skilled workforce, India needs a strong education system, creating an environment that promotes skill development.
Making India’s labour market more exible is crucial for the success of the government’s flagship programmes like ‘Make in India’.
The employment challenges in India
With close to 10 million job seekers entering the job market annually, creation of sustainable livelihood opportunities on a large scale is an imperative to address the national challenge of poverty alleviation and development. Additionally, underemployment, particularly in the rural economy, forms its own issues. As the share of agriculture in the Indian economy declines, more and more of the labour force would aspire to move to other sectors for job opportunities. This movement will be compounded by shift of the rural population to urban centres where economic productivity is higher. Hence, employment generation has emerged as a top priority for policymakers today.
As of 2015, India’s working-age population constituted 62.3 per cent of the total population, of which a little less than half were in the young age group of 15-29. The country’s population had a median age of 26.6 years, which is among the youngest in the world even as large parts of the world are experiencing an ageing population.
Taking into account entry of 10 million people in the workforce annually as well as the factors of labour force participation rate, underemployment, and higher education enrolment ratio, we would recommend a target of creating 100 million jobs in the next ten years.
Timely estimates of employment and unemployment data
Effective policy interventions necessitate correct and regular estimation of employment/unemployment status. Capturing data frequently and without a lag would help in maneuvering employment policy to desired outputs.
Five pillars of the reform agenda
The reform agenda for creating the targeted 100 million jobs in 10 years is extensive. We have subdivided it into the below segments:
- Physical agenda: This would extend to developing the right ecosystem and connectivity for job creation and livelihood development. It also includes developing urban clusters for absorbing migration and ensuring higher productivity.
- Sectoral agenda: To reduce dependence on agriculture and promote manufacturing and services sector growth, it is important to devise separate policies for key identified sectors.
- Enterprise related agenda: India’s enterprise structure includes a massive base of small and tiny units and a peak of a few thousand larger enterprises. There should be methods to support formalisation of the workplace.
- Educational agenda: Education at all levels, skill development and vocational training constitute a formidable component of the overall job creation endeavor.
- Legislative agenda: India’s labour regulations are complex and inhibit job creation in the formal sector. There is need to address labour laws.
Source: CII Report on INDIA: BUILDING FUTURE COMPETITIVENESS