The problem of unemployment is staring the face of the country today. It is a challenge for Government. Growing industrialisation has not resulted in creation of substantial number of jobs. We are unwittingly following the western model.
During the first seven years of reforms i.e. 1991-98 as per the Economic Survey of the Government of India while Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose to 5.6 per cent, the number of workers in the organised sector was also added by 15 lakh. But the trend was reversed in the next seven years i.e., 1998 to 2005. GDP no doubt scored to 6.1 per cent, the number of workers in the organised sector came down by 12 lakh, 10 lakh of them belonged to Public Sector and the rest two lakh to Private Sector. Doesn'tit mean that growth in GDP leads to loss of jobs? The survey further elaborates that the rural areas suffered more unemployment i.e., from 5.6 to 9.0 per cent while in urban areas it was 8.1 per cent from 6.7 per cent. A mismatch in demand and supply.
According to another survey 1 per cent increase in GDP gives jobs to just 0.15 per cent where as number of jobless rises at 2.5 per cent. In this way the number of unemployed will be 21 crore by 2020. And in case GDP rises to 8 per cent by then 30 per cent of the population will have no job to do. It will create social imbalance. Our universities turn out around 30 lakh graduates annually without having any system to put them on jobs. There are already 6 crore educated unemployed in the country. Our scientists, engineers, professionals and technocrats make India one of the three top countries of the world but we have failed to use their expertise in national development.
Sensex rising beyond 12,000 or GDP growing above 8.5 per cent cannot be the real criteria of economic prosperity of the country. Some economists claim that Indian economy is going strong and poverty is declining in the country. They foresee that poverty ratio will go down to 19.34 per cent from the present 27 per cent by 2006-2007. It means the poor will figure 22 crore (17 crore in rural and 5 crore in urban areas) in another six months period. But the actual experience is totally different. In 1993-94 the number of unemployed was 2.1 crore. It rose to 2.66 crore in 1999-2000. Dr. S.P. Gupta'scommittee on job creation in May 2002 hoped that 10 crore jobs will be created during 10 years period but it did not happen. Similar recommendations of other committees like Montek Singh Ahluwalia (July 2001) Committee, Geeta Krishanan Committee, Rakesh Mohan Committee etc. did not put brakes to the growing unemployment.
The Finance Minister P. Chidambram targeted 5 crore jobs in the 10th Five Year Plan. The figures of first three years were disappointing. Instead of job gains, it was loss of job. About 3.5 crore jobless were added to the number of unemployed during this period. Organised sector provided job to 2.78 crore worker in 2001, it came down to 2.7 crore by 2003. Worse is the case in small scale industries. There were on an average 6.3 workers in an SSI, which scaled down to 4.6 workers in 2003. In this way the number of unemployed in the Tenth Five Year Plan was doubled, from 3.5 crore to 7 crore.
It shows that we can never solve the problem of unemployment if we continue to follow the guidelines issued by the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In USA alone the American multinational companies have rendered 7,50,000 of their workers jobless during 1982-1993. Global 500, the world'sbiggest company reduced its staff by 2,62,000 employees in 1994. Only American airlines intends to retrench around 7,000 workers this year. So to think that MNCs would help give employment is to live in a fool'sparadise. WB/IMF cannot escape the blame of increasing unemployment in countries like Brazil, Mexico and Iran. Thus adopting the western model of industrialisation in our country is fraught with danger. The Government has introduced National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme that provides 100 days job to one member of a Below Poverty Line (BPL) house hold annually. What will he do during the rest of the 265 days of the year? Where from the other adult members of the household get fed? Almost all state governments have privatised/commercialised education. The teachers are appointed on contract. The low paid Punchayat employees are made to draft village plans, Anganwadi workers and helpers, paid less than minimum wage are made responsible for arranging nutritious food for the children in villages and cities. Even youth with Ph.D, M.Tech and MBBS degree are being exploited.
Where are we leading the youth to? What is their future? Are not we pushing them to unsocial life? Is it the way to make India a developed nation? Will our dream of making India a developed nation by 2020 be fulfilled?
The leaders of the country should give a deep thought to all these things. All our plans of any kind must be employment centric. The country cannot afford jobless growth. We will have to kill the demon of unemployment. We must shun looking at the western model and follow the Sawadeshi path. We must encourage small scale industry. It is only then that every hand will get job and every job a hand.
That seems to be the only solution to overcome the problem of unemployment.
(The writer is President of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh.)