Economy India
RAJ ARTHA

Political contradictions of unemployment and policy confusion of governments

Political contradictions of unemployment and policy confusion of governments

Manohar Manoj

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There is a very contradictory picture regarding unemployment in India right now. On one hand, according to the data released by HSBC Service Business, maximum employment has been created in the service sector in the last 22 months. According to other data, the presence of traders in the footpath business in India has increased to around 6.5 crores which were 5.5 crores during the Covid period.

These figures may show the increase in private and market-based employment generation in India, but on the other hand, the ground situation of unemployment in India is showing a frightening picture. This was also visible in the just concluded Lok Sabha elections.  Unemployment was the biggest issue that contributed to the emergence of the opposition India Bloc against the ruling Modi government. The anger towards the government regarding employment was clearly visible among the young voters of states like UP and Bihar. While there is a difference between the data and the ground situation in the country regarding unemployment, there is also a policy contradiction among the political parties regarding employment generation in India. The ruling party considers self-employment initiatives like Mudra loan businesses and start-up businesses as the main means of removing unemployment, whereas the opposition party directly talks about making lakhs of government recruitments. As even during the Lok Sabha elections, the INDIA Alliance had announced to provide thirty lakh government jobs. The ruling party thinks that by giving away jobs as dole, the administrative expenditure will increase and the burden on the treasury will increase, while on the other hand, for the opposition, distributing jobs in lakhs seems to be a political adventurism.Apart from these two viewpoints, if we take a comprehensive look at the actual situation of employment in India, we find that the two main employment providers, the ‘government’ and the ‘market’, are victims of contradictions and confusion.Firstly, it is true that the employment potential in the market is directly affected by the increasing rate of economic growth and effective demand. This situation has arisen in the Indian economy after the COVID period, but this situation is not uniform in all the sectors of production. Secondly, within the unorganized private sector of India, compliance with labor, employment and social security laws and working conditions is almost non-existent or not at all equal.All the prescribed labor regulations of the government regarding minimum wage policy, allowances, working hours and all working conditions of the workers are completely ineffective here. If we talk about the organized private sector, then in case of recession of the economy, the burden falls on them too and no labor law of the government is able to provide them security cover. But during the boom of the economy, the organized labor force in the private sector definitely enjoys a lot. But in the current situation, except the finance, manufacturing and infrastructure sectors of the economy, there is still recession in other sectors. For example, in India, information technology is the biggest source of providing white collar employment, in which at least 50 lakh white collar work force gets good employment. But after the Covid period, due to less practice of work from home and not enough demand for IT enabled services, the situation of unemployment has arisen there too.

It is being heard for the first time that only 60 percent of the students passing out from famous institutes like IITs are getting placements.

Another major obstacle to the possibility of employment generation from private and market sector due to increase in economic growth rate in India is the lack of adequate availability of skilled labor force. We are not able to even get an idea of ​​the real situation regarding the demand for skilled and trained workers and their better wages. Prime Minister Modi’s Skill Development Scheme is a visionary plan for the skilled labor development in India, but nothing can be said with certainty as to what its outcome will be.  It is difficult to tell how much it has been able to meet the demand of the economy in the last ten years and how much role it has played in increasing the wages of workers.  What Chandra Babu Naidu, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and a key partner of the Central Government, has said about the correct calculation of skilled workers in the country and their possible employment is highly commendable.Secondly, in order to increase their profits, in the private sector, less number of appointments are made as per the preferred labor requirements, while on the contrary, in government institutions, more number of appointments are made than what is actually required. In such a situation, to create employment in India, there is a need to conduct a proper audit of the employment requirement in all private and government enterprises so that more and more people but productive people are appointed.Talking about the governments, whether it is the Central or all the state governments, they are currently avoiding appointing as much work power as they need for all their development, welfare and public relief programmes. Not because their aim is to increase the size of their profits like the private sector, but because they are afraid of giving hugely burdensome permanent jobs on the lines of old labor laws. Past experience of governments says that their work culture is not productive rather the workforce is a burden on the treasury; their work is not done as per their salary/wages.It is true that the government has at least got rid of the pension of the employees appointed after the year 2004. But the opposition ruled governments are taking a huge financial burden on themselves by promising to give old pensions in political competition. On the other hand, despite the new pension policy, the number of employees working at the Center is still less than the pensioners. Obviously, the Central Government is so devastated by the financial burden of the pensioners that instead of its required workforce of around 60 lakh, it is running with merely 35-40 lakh. There are about 15 lakh vacancies in big departments of the Center like Railways, Defence, Para Military, Banks, Health, Education and General Administration. But it is avoiding recruiting them because it is unable to decide whether the appointments to these vacancies should be made permanent or on contract. The provision of contractual jobs has been started in many departments of the Central and State Governments, but ultimately they have not been able to show its political will in giving it the form of a national labor policy. When employment became a political issue in Bihar, it was announced to provide one million government jobs by the govt.. In this sequence, two lakh recruitments were done there in the previous government and now it is being said that the present government will provide 15 lakh government jobs there. Obviously, apart from the market, the government is a big employment provider in the country, so if it fills about 70 lakh vacant posts on contract basis, then how many unemployed people seeking government jobs will get employment?The problem arises when the government itself provides jobs, it is not able to convert them into productive employment and when it outsources to the private sector, it is not able to check the exploitation of the workforce employed by the contractors, who supply jobs under arbitrary working conditions. In such a situation, if a uniform labor policy and a universal guarantee of compliance with working conditions and a proper policy of employment and self-employment of every category of unemployed are brought in the country, then it will not only give a big boost to the country’s economy but will also help in eliminating inequality.

 

 

 

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