"We are the youngest country with 65 percent of our population below 35 years of age. We are the world's largest democracy and we have a huge domestic market to feed. No country has such an opportunity as India to create jobs with human capital and abundant natural resource,” Narendra Modi is quoted saying on his website, and he couldn’t be more correct.
India definitely has an opportunity, maybe the best opportunity in the world given the average age of its population (In 2020, it is expected to be 29 years). But how can the demographic dividend be leveraged when there are not enough jobs?
Eight key industries, ‘Textiles’, ‘Leather’, ‘Metals’, ‘Automobiles’, ‘Gems and Jewellery’, ‘Transport’, ‘IT/BPO’ and ‘Handloom/power’, have touched a new low in terms of job-creation. According to the Labour Bureau’s quarterly report on “Changes in employment in selected sectors,” only 1.35 lakh jobs were created across industries last year, compared to 4.21 lakhs in 2014 and 4.19 lakhs in 2013.
And not even once in the past seven years (since recession) has the quantum of jobs created across the eight sectors been this low.
A new low
Job creation hits a new low across eight industries
Source: Labour Bureau, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India
Comparing the data of 2015 and 2014, all the industries – ‘Textiles’, ‘Leather’, ‘Metals’, ‘Automobiles’, ‘Gems and Jewellery’, ‘IT/BPO’ and ‘Handloom/power’ (with Transport being the only anomaly), saw a huge reduction in number of jobs created. IT/BPO industry, for example, saw a monumental shift and saw the number of jobs created go down by 117,000 this year. Gems and Jewellery industry saw a 272% decrease in the number of jobs created compared to 2014.
Jobs created across industries over the years after recession
The real concern
The worrying sign is that the legacy industry of textiles which provides the maximum employment is also not creating enough jobs, and the booming IT/BPO sector has also gone down the same road. Then where will the approximate 50 percent population below 15 years age (as per the Census of India 2011) find jobs? Not all can be CEOs and cofounders of start-ups. Jobs will have to be created in the above industries or the others, but the future influx of job-seekers has to be accounted for.
The criticality of job creation had been established, now the urgency also has.
Read all the labour bureau quarterly reports here