THE new sunday express MAGAZINE Voices Anand Neelakantan Sumeet Bhasin Sathya Saran Anuja Chandramouli Ravi Shankar Mata Amritanandamayi Buffet People Wellness Books Food Art & Culture Entertainment JUNE 19 2022 SUNDAY PAGES 12 As of December 2021, 1 in 5 college graduates are unemployed. In April, India’s overall unemployment rate rose to 7.83% up from 7.6% in March. , The unemployment rate in urban areas was higher at 9.22% compared to 8.28% in March. In rural areas, the unemployment rate was at 7.18% in April compared to 7.29% in the previous month. The Great Indian Job Race The unemployment rate was the highest in Haryana at 34.5% followed by Rajasthan (28.8%), Bihar (21.1%) and Jammu & Kashmir (15.6%). As the country battles rising unemployment, here’s what it means for the future of a budding workforce and the economy Between 2017 and 2022, the overall labour participation rate dropped from 46% to 40% I . Source: Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy ✥ India’s largely young and educated population on one side and mushrooming of startups on the other pose unique challenges when it comes to employment. ✥ Covid just added more fuel to the fire by stalling all commercial or economic activities, as there was job loss and a reduction in the creation of new jobs. Atul Pratap Singh Co-Founder, Jobsgaar By Noor Anand Chawla n the late noughties, Raju Kumar escaped the drudgery of a life of agricultural debt when he left his village near Patna to move to the National Capital Region, at the young age of 17. After several years of toiling as a daily wager at a construction site in Gurugram, his ability to learn fast and his friendly personality came to his aid, allowing him to move up the ladder—from being an unskilled labourer to a carpenter on contract for the duration of entire projects. Five years ago, he saved enough from his earnings to buy a room for himself in an overrun slum in Kapashera near Gurugram, and started sub-letting and sharing this space for a small fee with another labourer who kept different hours. When 2020 threw a spanner in the works, he jumped at a business opportunity that presented itself. His latest tenant was a fruit-seller who plied his wares on a cart to the posh farmhouses of nearby Pushpanjali Farms—a job that lockdown had not affected. Hence, as soon as borders reopened, Kumar increased the rent and took off for his village. He has stayed there ever since, marrying locally , and living off the rent he gets month-on-month from his grateful tenant, who enjoys the extra room and whose ‘essential’ business boom allows him to pay the increased fee. Sujata Meena from Raipur had been living her dream of being an air hostess for a private airline for just about seven months when the pandemic struck. All cabin crew plying domestic routes were grounded and asked to stay home till further notice. At first, she did not receive her salary for three straight months, and a month later was informed that her services would no longer be required. Dejected, she went through a phase battling mental health issues and stayed home without proactively searching for a replacement job. Over months of counselling and her parents’ dedicated care, she got out of her funk, but now the job market had become even more competitive. Finally , after over a year, her uncle hired her to manage his fabric shop in a local market in the Chhattisgarh capital—a far cry from her qualifications and dreams. Sheenabh Mehra from Bengaluru graduated from a highly ranked engineering college in 2020. When the nationwide lockdown was imposed, he was stuck at home without a job. Over the course of the next few months, he decided to change his career track and invest in online courses to learn the basics of digital marketing, as he saw his peers doing exceedingly well in that field. In August of 2020, he finally landed his first proper job, where he was hired to handle the digital content of a logistics startup. From then to now, Mehra has shifted eight times, never staying at a company longer than three months. The incredible demand for digital experts made it easy for him to shop around for the highest bidder with startups readily accepting him despite his past record, in desperate need of his expertise. Welcome to not just two, but three Indias—an India where distraught labourers are leaving the job market in droves, one where skilled workers are being forced into jobs well below their qualifications, and another where promising and qualified talent is unwilling to stick to a job. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) keeps track of these numbers by publishing data every month. Their latest information shows that the unemployment rate in the country grew to 7.83 percent in April from 7.6 percent in March. Though quite a jump on the face of it, the number was significantly less than this time last year, when in the grip of the deadly second wave, India’s unemployment rate stood at a whopping 11.84 percent in May 2021. Unsurprising- the 2018-19 Periodic Labour Force Survey shows that by attaining higher education, people have lower job prospects, as they do not want to take up menial jobs. ly as per the latest data, , urban areas are the worst affected at 9.22 percent and in rural areas, the unemployment rate is at 7.18 percent in April. It is clear that the pandemic rang the death knell for an already struggling economy yet in reality , , these disturbing figures had begun to rear their head well before Covid-19 was dreamt of. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… As the current political regime completes its eight years of governance, a newly released survey by community connection platform LocalCircles shares that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity is at its highest since the start of the pandemic. The only two thorns in his blooming bed of roses are rising Turn to page 2
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