Political observers are of the opinion that this being the election year for electing Lok Sabha members to form the next government at the Centre, it is but natural for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to woo millions of young voters by pushing through the approval of National Youth Policy, 2014 by the Union Cabinet. As a natural outcome, this NYP will replace the existing policy of 2003. As per the 2011 census, the youth population between the age group 15-29 stands at 330 million and this sizable chunk constitute more than 27.5 % of country’s population.
The vision of NYP-2014 is to empower the youth to achieve their full potential and identifies five objectives and 11 priority areas. It suggests policy interventions in each priority area – the priority areas being education, skill development and employment, entrepreneurship, health and healthy lifestyle, sports, promotion of social values, community engagement, participation in politics and governance, youth engagement, inclusion and social justice.
It needs no emphasis that the future of the country can only be brighter if we can provide better education including skill development to our ever growing young population with a view to make these huge lot of future citizens strong enough in all positive aspects and for this to materialise there must have adequate opportunities of securing gainful employment throughout the year. But the big question remains. Is it actually happening? And what has been the past performance in this regard?
It is discouraging to note that in a recent report ILO (International Labour Organization) has indicated sluggishness in the country's job market. It says that the unemployment scenario in India over the last two years has been showing a rising trend. The ILO report is not surprising as the trend has been crystal clear if we look back and analyze this crucial issue discreetly.
It is an irony that Indian economy grew at about 9% per annum during the period 2004-09, the first term of UPA Govt. at the Centre, but it could generate only one million jobs, whereas during the preceding five years, the rate of GDP growth was although relatively lower, yet it generated 58 million jobs. The report card of UPA–II Govt. so far in regard to job creation is not perceptibly better either. That’s one of the major reasons why social scientists call these nine and half years of UPA rule at the Centre a period of jobless growth.
It is interesting to note that in the intervening period, the Engineering and Management colleges have mushroomed unimaginably - MBA seats in India alone grew almost four-fold from 95,000 in 2006-07 to 3.6 lakh in 2011-12. As a result, the number of MBA and B.Tech degree holders has gone up many folds in the meantime.
Unfortunately, however, job opportunities for these job seekers have grown grossly inadequately in the same period. Similar or may be worse is the case with non –technical degree holders. The story doesn’t end here. A large pool of youth in the age group of 18-25 years are facing unemployment problem despite being skilled and having necessary certificates on hand, as because there are not enough opportunities for them in the job market.
To put it precisely, all the surveys and studies conducted during last few months about the status of Degree Delivery vis-a-vis Job Delivery to huge number of unemployed youth population of this largest democracy of the world point out clearly that there is a definite and serious flaw in the whole system which needs to be addressed on highest priority as it's a common knowledge that unemployment, both full time and part time creates multidimensional social problems that has the potential to erupt into a serious national problem.
Milan K. Sinha is a freelance writer. He has worked in Banking and Insurance sector for three decades following three years of active writing in various newspapers and magazines. Presently he is engaged in stress management, wellness and awareness activities besides freelance writing.