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Combating Unemployment

Combating Unemployment

The ban on all recruitment-processes for posts in various government departments by the BJP dispensation in Goa so as to enable smoother implementation of the Seventh pay Commission recommendations is bound to have quashed the dreams of many whose perennial quest for a government job would have received a temporary jolt with the announcement. 

We have to accept the fact there are not enough jobs in either the public or the private sector to accommodate the thousands who ‘qualify’ themselves to enter the job-market year-after-year. 

Youth unemployment remains a major problem for every country, including India.  Although the unemployment statistics in the country continue to be alarming, it is nowhere near the scenario of the sixties and seventies where jobs were so scarce that employment eluded educated youth to an extent where ‘the dignity of labour’ and a clear distinction between ‘Blue collar’ and ‘White collar’ jobs started gaining a distinct impression on the mindset of the people. 

But with changing times, the concept of employment too has changed. The latest trend is to ‘create a job’ for oneself! 

The IT-boom witnessed in the country churned out a number of first-generation entrepreneurs who were quick to capitalize on the opportunities proffered to carve out a niche for themselves. 

Furthermore, the economic liberalization in India saw the advent of a large number of multi-national companies that opened the floodgates for employment in the country. 

However, it was the ‘outsourcing’ mantra that was doing the trick for the smart and deserving. While many sought employment in these firms, it was those with the verve in them to shape their lives that pounced on the break to change their lives for the better. 

The economy is currently shedding jobs more than it creates. Then why is self-employment not being given the due consideration it richly deserves! Let us not forget that economic self-reliance of the country can only be driven through self-employment. 

Let us for instance take the MNCs, pharmaceuticals, IT and various other companies engaged in production of world-class engineering products in Goa! 

Very few have latched on to the idea that these plants and machineries would require components and other parts which if manufactured locally would save the MNCs a lot of time and money. Moreover, local labour would prove to be more economic and viable in their order of things. 

Assembling and packing of finished goods is another line that has shown enough scope. A host of ancillary units thus would cater to the needs of the multinationals. House-keeping and other allied services have also much to offer by way of self-employment. Quality services and a healthy competition will ensure the generation of decent business for the entrepreneur.  

It is generally observed that youngsters have always been unsure of embarking on any type of business ventures. Maybe the risk factors involved deter them from doing so. But factually speaking, preferring the comforts of a secure job and the salary that is assured at the end of every month, the quest for a government job has been the bane of the Indian youth.  

This brings us to the ‘empirical’ belief - ‘self-help is the best help’! 

When will we shed our ‘servile’ attitude and decide to make the most of the situation available and make a life for ourselves? Why aren’t the youth being encouraged to decide on self-employment? It is time youngsters learn to reap the benefits of being one’s own boss. 

Youth entrepreneurship is however unlikely to be a panacea for solving the youth unemployment problem at the initial stages as many challenges may prevent young people from setting their own business. 

However, with a government that endorses policies that favour entrepreneurship, including support in the way of finance, counseling and creation of networks, it may well turn out to be the era of young start-ups and small business ideas. 

Yet, youth self-employment seems not to be impressive because, as mentioned earlier, very few individuals venture into self-employment. This is precisely the reason why the suggestion to introduce entrepreneurship education in the curriculum as a way of exposing students to the knowledge of various skills and business in colleges and universities so that the emphasis is more towards self-employment rather than job seeking seriously needs to be given heed to.

Although self-employment could be thought of as a means to combat unemployment, it would be foolhardy to imagine that there would be a sudden spurt in start-up activities of the unemployed. There still would be reservations. Things cannot change overnight. Moreover, everyone is not business-savvy!  

It is presumed that the demonetization move by the Prime Minister would save a country steeped in corruption and put it right back on the roadmap to progress and development. At the same time, the problems of unemployment are not trivial either. Just as corruption requires an iron will to deal with and eradicate, the issues of unemployment too will have to be addressed in a very systematic manner. 

The nation needs to invest in our youth. Re-modelling our education system, schools and colleges should evolve courses developing the necessary skills students need to make the transition from classrooms to the world of work. Vocational educational should be a given a fillip. 

There is another school of thought that both the organized and unorganized sectors must adopt labour-intensive technology in place of capital-intensive technology if sufficient employment opportunities are to be generated in both the rural and urban sectors of the economy. 

Considering that the production technique should in effect suit the needs and means of the country, a change in the industrial technique is definitely called for. 

India, it is said, lives in its villages, which would imply that agriculture is a main source of income for those tilling the land. An effective agricultural policy would have ensured a fair deal for the farmers as well. But is it actually so? The large number of suicides among the peasant community paints a very sordid saga of their plight. In such bleak settings would anyone feel confident enough to take to farming as an occupation? 

Higher agricultural yields, healthier productivity rates in the industrial sector, encouraging the development of small and medium industries and promoting cottage industry could generate better employment opportunities. As can be seen, there are sufficient ways to improve unemployment rates in the country. But this calls for a political will.

All said and done, a nation is only as good as its progressive agendas. Hence the main objective of the country’s employment policy should be to increase employment opportunities and productivity of labour.

(Published on 19th December 2016, Volume XXVIII, Issue 51)#