Tata-Dhan Academy: PDM

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Programme in Development Management

The Question of Unemployment

Unemployment is one of the biggest problem for families, states, and countries. The measure of unemployment includes the idle population from the productive age group (15 to 65 yrs). There are also many different dimensions of unemployment, for example underemployment and seasonal unemployment. Unemployment is not a problem only in underdeveloped or developing countries; the developed world also suffer from this situation, and events like the recent global recession increase unemployment levels. Additionally, this problem is not restricted to the illiterate population; many skilled and well-educated people find it hard to secure employment in today’s economy.

Besides contributing to poverty, unemployment can also lead to domestic conflict, starvation, slow economic growth, increasing inequality, Naxalism, and terrorism. As such, the word “unemployment” is insufficient to show the intensity of the situation resulting from a lack of work.

Unemployment is a very big hurdle in India’s growth, and because of India’s huge population, the problem is difficult to address. The country is unable to provide employment to the entire productive age group, about 60% of whom are involved in agricultural work. Agricultural employment has its own problems including under employment and seasonal employment.

The problem of unemployment cannot be solved within a short period of time; it it like a parasite that needs to be eradicated. Which leads us to the question of unemployment: What can be done? Some may argue that globalization might also offer some respite for unemployment; countries which lack the human workforce required for their growth can absorb some of the unemployed workforce from other countries. However, equally valid are the counter-arguments that such migration can lead to deeper problems (including racial tension or bonded labour), or that it might lead to cultural loss. Some people question whether eradicating unemployment is even possible or desirable; others try to create self-employment opportunities.

What do you think should be done?

Pashupati Pandey, PDM 11

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Filed under: PDM 11, Spectrum

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