The world’s fastest-expanding economy has a jobs problem and it is probably getting worse. According to a study released by PwC, India will need to add 10 crore people into the working age population by 2027, which is about five times the population of Australia (2.4 crore).
The PwC’s report adds that India will need about 100 million jobs in the next 7 years, of these, around 80 per cent or 78 million jobs would be needed to be generated in just 10 states — Uttar Pradesh (UP), Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar and Assam.
Amid debate on jobless growth, the study points to the challenges in the jobs sector in the country where a young and growing population will only continue to increase the workforce even as India grapples with a low labour participation and marginal employment.
India has a median age of 27.6. More than 50% of its population is below the age of 25 and more than 65% is under 35.
With more than 90 percent of India’s labor force employed in the nation’s informal economy, the government has struggled to produce reliable jobs data to even get an accurate read on the level of joblessness in India. Former Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog, Arvind Panagariya, had explained this helplness in a recent interview. “To measure job creation, you need household surveys. We don’t have one. If you do an enterprise survey, you address only a part of the economy. The other part of the economy is not being measured. So, if one is looking at aggregate job growth, there is no survey to measure it. You have to have a full household survey, the last credible one was done in 2011. So, if I say I am happy with job creation, I will be lying. And if I say I am unhappy, there is no basis to it either,” he said.
March this year gave a glimpse into just how dire the job market is when the government announced 90,000 vacancies at the Indian Railways. A staggering 28 million people applied, claimed a Bloomberg report. Ejaz Ghani, a World Bank senior economist and India expert, told Bloomberg that there’s concern that India’s job challenge will remain long into its future. One worry is that India will join the global trend toward more protectionism, limiting its manufacturing and technological progress. Another challenge is that the growing use of digital technologies would create more skilled and productive jobs while displacing less-skillful and labor intensive positions. “Growth, education, home ownership, better economic security, and a desire for more durable goods are the cause and consequence of young demographics. But demographic dividend can also transform into a curse,” he wrote earlier this year.