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INDIA’s BIG CONCERN: Jobless Youth

Wide Angle View
In 2011, 74.8 million youth aged 15–24 were unemployed, an increase of more than 4 million since 2007. The global youth unemployment rate, at 12.7 per cent, remains a full percentage point higher than the pre-crisis level.
Globally, young people are nearly three times as likely as adults to be unemployed. In addition, an estimated 6.4 million young people have given up hope of finding a job and have dropped out of the labor market altogether. Even those young people who are employed are increasingly likely to find themselves in part-time employment and often on temporary contracts.
In developing countries, youth are disproportionately among the working poor. As the number and share of unemployed youth is projected to remain essentially unchanged in 2012, and as the share of young people withdrawing from the labor market altogether continues to rise, on the present course there is little hope for a substantial improvement in near-term employment prospects for young people.

Young India Jobless
In India, the total employment grew by only 0.1 per cent over the period of five years (457.9 million in 2004-05 to 458.4 million in 2009-10).
Ministry of Labor and Employment presented its first Annual Report on Employment in July 2010. Analysis of unemployment data published therein reveals that unemployment rates are very high in urban areas, particularly, in the age group of 15-24 years. Further, female unemployment rate in the age group of 20-24 years is the highest at approximately 27%. Among males, the highest unemployment rate is reported in the 15-19 years age group both in rural as well as urban areas.
Overall, in rural areas unemployment among youth (age 15-24 years) is approximately 12 to 15%. This highlights the need for the policy to focus on youth in the labor force.

Core of the problem
Presently, skills base of the Indian economy is quite low as compared to other developed economies of the world.  It is estimated based on NSSO data for 2004-05  that only 2% persons in the age group of 15-29 years have received formal vocational training and around 8% are reported to  have received non-formal vocational training, indicating thereby  that  higher proportion of youth population actually enter the world of work without formal vocational training.  Many of the developed economies have 60 to 80% of skilled workers.  Korea has as high as 96% skilled work force.  It is, therefore, necessary to enhance the skill development infrastructure in a manner that all those who enter the labor force acquire relevant skills beforehand.
The present vocational training capacity is estimated to be around 3.1 million while 12.8 million persons, as per 61st round of National Sample Survey Organization, enter the labor force every year.
There are 8039 Industrial Training Institutes/Centers with seating capacity of 11.16 lakh in the country.  There is an urgent need of many more vocational colleges so that all those who enter the labor force get an opportunity to be skilled in the disciplines of their choice.

Ray of Hope
Union Labor & Employment Minister Mallikarjun Kharge recently revealed that the Centre has entered into an MoU with the United States for providing vocational training to Indian youth.
The training program aims at providing vocational training to more than 50 million youths in next 11 years.
Kharge says that the MoU aims at strengthening co-ordination in skill development, generating employment for the youths, providing occupational safety of the laborers and protecting their health.
In addition to this, the Union government has inked an MoU with Germany to make youth industry-ready. This is for the first time that the Labor Department had crossed domestic boundaries and is seeking co-ordination from the USA and European countries to empower youth, he added.
Minister further stated that the IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) International Workshop on South-South Cooperation is aimed at building capacity and share knowledge between countries. It will ensure better cohesion for overall inclusive growth with equity, linking employment and social protection to Decent Work.

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