India’s Youth is Facing the Wrath of Economic Instability; More Needs to be done

By Arshita Biswas

India has one of the largest proportions of the population in the younger age groups in the world. 35.3% of the population of the country has been in the age group 0-14 years at the Census 2001. 41% of the population account for less than 18 years of age.

Today, every fifth person in India is an adolescent (10-19 years) and every third – a young person (10-24 years), but as mentioned in an article in Livemint, The proportion of people below the age of 24 will fall to 34.7% by 2036 from over 50% in 2011 and the median age of Indians will jump 10 years to almost 35 by 2036, with some 13 large and industrialized states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh expected to have even a higher median age of its people than the national average. Data from the population projection report shows that the number of older persons in the population is expected to increase and their share in the total population shall jump to 15% in 2036 from 8.4% in 2011.

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the whole world in view of various aspects, one of them being economic stability. Almost every country irrespective of their economic size had to face the economic downtrend due to covid, India being one of the most heavily impacted countries. India’s growth for the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2020 dropped down to 3.1%  according to the Ministry of Statistics. The World Bank and rating agencies had initially revised India’s growth for FY2021 with the lowest figures India has seen in three decades since India’s economic liberalization in the 1990s. However, after the announcement of the economic package in mid-May, India’s GDP estimates were downgraded even more to negative figures, signalling a deep recession. According to Nomura India Business Resumption Index economic activity fell from 82.9 on 22 March to 44.7 on 26 April. By 13 September 2020 economic activity was nearly back to pre-lockdown. Unemployment rose from 6.7% on 15 March to 26% on 19 April and then back down to pre-lockdown levels by mid-June. During the lockdown, an estimated 140 million (140 million) people lost employment while salaries were cut for many others. More than 45% of households across the nation have reported an income drop as compared to the previous year. Under complete lockdown, less than a quarter of India’s $2.8 trillion economic movements was functional. Up to 53% of businesses in the country were projected to be significantly affected. Multiple major companies such as Larsen & Toubro, Bharat Forge, UltraTech Cement, Grasim Industries, Aditya Birla Group, BHEL, Tata Motors etc. temporarily suspended or significantly reduced operations.  Most of the Fast-moving consumer goods companies in the country have significantly reduced operations and are focusing on essentials. Young startups have been impacted as funding has fallen. These are the reasons that have directly resulted in the reduction of job openings, thus, hardly any new job opportunities for the youth.

Now, let us compare India’s economy to the economies of the developed countries on the basis of per capita income, population growth and human development.

In 2014, the per capita income of an Indian was $1,560. This grew to $1,600 in 2015. Although in comparison to other major economies like the USA, UK, Japan, Germany, and China, India’s per capita GNI was much lower. Further, in 2015, the per capita GNI of the USA was around 35 times that of India. On the other hand, the purchasing power parity rates of the USA was only 10 times that of India. In simple words, the official exchange rates showed an exaggerated disparity between the economies while the purchasing power parity figures balanced them. Having said that, the difference between the standard of living of an average American and Indian is large and significant.

Now talking about China, the average per capita GNI of China was around 5 times higher than India in 2015. Also, the purchasing power parity figures were almost twice those of India’s. However, there is a significant difference in the standard of living of an average Chinese and Indian citizen.

In 1980, the population of the world was around 4,426 million which grew to around 6,893 million by 2010. The annual compound growth rate of the population was 1.7 per cent in 1980-81 which dropped to around 1.15 per cent in 2009-10. Also, around the period of 2000-09, the growth rate in low-income economies was higher than the middle-income economies. Further, China’s population growth rates declined to 0.5 per cent during 2000-09, while India recorded a population growth of 1.38 per cent.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP), ranks countries based on their Human Development Index or HDI. The HDI takes into consideration life expectancy, educational attainment, and per capita income. It is also an alternative indicator of the socio-economic development of a country. According to the Human Development Report (HDR), India ranks 130 out of 188 countries. India’s HDI of 0.609 is below the average of countries in the medium human development group (of 0.630). However, it is marginally higher than the HDI average of the South Asian countries (0.607). Between 1980 and 2014, India’s per capita GNI increased by about 338 per cent. Also, over the same period, the Life Expectancy at Birth (LEB) increased by 14.1 years. Further, the mean years of schooling increased by 3.5 years and the expected years of schooling by 5.3 years. India has the least mean years of schooling as compared to the other BRICS nations. Also, India’s LEB is lower than Brazil, China, and Russia but higher than South Africa. Further, Bangladesh has a much lower per capita GNI but a higher LEB than India. The HDR also provides information on the Gender Development Index (GDI) along with the HDI for all 188 countries. In India, the HDI value for females was 0.525 in 2014.

Therefore, we see that currently we are in a very difficult economic situation and that has led to a huge chunk of today’s young population is left unemployed even with good and adequate qualifications. This has pushed the youth to explore different options and to create opportunities for themselves and now it looks like they have identified a way out in the form of different skill-based and creative work. Content creation is one of the most active career choices in the current times. Young people have taken up social media platforms to showcase their creative talents and convert them into their professions. Food blogging, travel blogging, small scale online businesses, digital marketing, content writing are some of the many upcoming career choices.

#india #jobs #unemployment #economy #youth

Views Expressed here are the personal views of the writer. KSHVID NEWS is an independent, unbiased news platform.

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