India’s rising unemployment – a major concern

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Unemployment is becoming the major reason of concern for the Indian government. It was even before the coronavirus pandemic that the nation has witnessed a fall in the employment percentage given the nation’s slipping economic position. The pandemic further opened a pandora’s box as the lockdowns deteriorated the employment scenario in India. During the first wave, lakhs of labourers were seen left to fend for themselves owing to the abrupt closure of all establishments for lockdown. A majority of these labourers had to return to their native states, some even on foot. Many thought that the unlock after the first wave would mean a fresh start but to their dismay, the virus had other plans. The second wave of coronavirus put the remaining nails in the coffin for an average Indian working class.

Unemployment continues rising every passing day in India. The labour participation rate further slipped to 39.7 per cent from 40 per cent during the same period showing a lesser number of jobs available in the market. The employment rate currently stands at 34.6 per cent which has come down from 35.3 per cent earlier. With the government anticipating the third wave by August, the situation is set to see more depreciation in the coming days. This is, by far, the worst condition since the total nationwide lockdown of April and May 2020. Additionally, the past few months have been particularly hard for the Indian labour market as the market conditions deteriorated sharply during this period. The week ending May 16 saw the labour participation rate at 40.5 per cent, which is only a slight fraction higher than the average 40.4 per cent. At the same period, the unemployment rate shot up to an alarming rate of 14.5 per cent. Already a large number of the working-class population of the country have lost their jobs and are clueless about their future given the double trouble (pandemic and economy) in their lives. During the next week ending on May 23, the unemployment rate shot up to 14.7 per cent despite the labour participation rate declining to 39.4 per cent. This is indicative of the fact that Indians are searching for jobs but are utterly unable to find one given the country’s economic position and pandemic.

Today, the country has the worst employment rate since the pandemic began which continues to slip low at an alarming level. However, with the new cases of virus infection now coming down, many are hopeful that after the market opens, as and when it opens, will bring in positive change. What is still a matter of serious concern for the government is the fact that a steady fall in employment has been recorded independent of the lockdowns. Even if the government opens up the market it would be able to make up for twenty-five per cent of the damage. The rest is still unclear until the government comes up with a strategy to deal with it. Employment must be the top priority of the government post the second wave of the pandemic. The matter is of serious concern for the government for this may result in a far larger fallout after the pandemic. India, already one of the largest young populations of the world needs not less than a miracle to come back on track, from which it slipped owing to bad policy decisions and pandemics.

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