Economy

India’s ‘Jobless Growth’: Employment Exchanges Struggle to Place Job-Seekers

Unemployed girls tussle for registration at an employment exchange office in Allahabad, India. Credit: PTI

Unemployed girls tussle for registration at an employment exchange office in Allahabad, India. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Nearly two months after labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya conceded that employment generation remains low across the country, the Ministry of Labour and Employment has released unemployment data that shows that the national average of placements by employment exchanges in 2015 stood at a mere 0.57%.

To put this in perspective, only three out of every 500 registered job-seekers secured employment in 2015.

Some states have fared better than others in finding jobs for their candidates; for instance, Gujarat’s success rate stands at an impressive 30%. However, in the first nine months of 2015, Gujarat had only 6.88 lakh registered job seekers as compared to Tamil Nadu, which clocked the highest number of registrations at over 80 lakh, according to the Indian Express. Goa is the only state than Gujarat to have registered success rate of over 1%.

In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Dattatreya said that out of a total of 4,48,52,500 registered job seekers, a mere 2,53,900 secured employment in 2015, PTI reported.

In 2014, there were 4,82,61,100 people nationwide registered with employment exchanges, but only 3,38,500 found jobs, a success rate of just 0.7%.

The number of registered job seekers has increased steadily, from 4.47 crore in 2012 to 4.48 crore in the first nine months of 2015. If the 2015 figures were to be annualised, the number of job seekers in 2015 would rise to 5.98 crore, the Indian Express estimated.

More recently, in May 2017, Dattatreya claimed that the current national unemployment rate stands at 1%, with “around four crore” people registered with employment exchanges, according to the Economic Times. The National Career Service website lists 3.89 crore job seekers as of June 30, 2017.

To improve the success rates of employment exchanges, Dattatreya announced in May that the Modi government plans to open 100 career counselling centres at employment exchanges across the country, the Economic Times reported. Bihar is to receive two such centres in the roll-out of this new initiative, he said.

In his written statement to the Lok Sabha, the minister also said that 540 job fairs were held in 2016-17 to help job applicants meet employers.

The 2016 India Exclusion Report states that only 1.35 lakh new jobs have been created under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, compared to the 12 million people who have entered the workforce since he came to power.