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India's growth, fewer jobs: skill gaps, automation



  Sep 23, 2023

Challenges of Jobless Growth in India


Jobless growth is a persistent challenge in India's economic landscape. Despite economic growth since the mid-1980s, employment conditions haven't seen the desired improvements. The Azim Premji University's recent report highlights several key aspects:
 
Non-Farm Sector Employment: There has been a significant increase in non-farm sector employment over the years. However, this hasn't translated into well-paying regular employment. Most of those moving out of the agriculture sector end up in low-paying casual work.
 
Organised Sector: The increase in the organised sector, offering better-paying jobs, has been minimal. This leaves a large portion of the workforce engaged in casual or irregular employment.
 
Female Workforce Participation: The study notes a decline in female workforce participation rates in rural India, primarily due to women exiting the labour force when moving out of agriculture. This has implications for overall growth.
 
Challenges for Educated Youth: Unemployment rates are particularly high for young and educated individuals entering the job market, with over 42% unemployment among young graduates.
 
Intergenerational Mobility: While there is some improvement in intergenerational mobility, certain communities, like Scheduled Castes and Tribes, face more challenges in transitioning from casual labour to other forms of work.
 
Uncorrelated Growth and Employment: Interestingly, the study finds that GDP growth and employment generation have been uncorrelated over the long run. This suggests that higher growth hasn't translated into sufficient job creation, possibly due to rising labor productivity and a lack of low-skilled manufacturing jobs.
 
Sustainability Concerns: The risk of jobless growth is that it may not be sustainable in the long run, posing a challenge for policymakers.
 
In summary, while India has witnessed economic growth, the quality of employment and job creation remain significant issues. Addressing these challenges is crucial for achieving inclusive and sustainable economic development.
 
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