The Saturday Book Review: Reviving Jobs, An Agenda for Growth

Rethinking India Series
Edited by: Santosh Mehrotra
Publisher: PENGUIN/VINTAGE(2020)
ISBN: 978-0-670-09296-3
TNA RATING: ****

The Country’s economy and its institutions already in a downswing, the COVID19 pandemic has spiralled of situations which are reaching gasping proportions.

The health sector in disarray trying to keep pace with the unforeseen challenges, the MSME sector tottering, the supply chain and logistics sector craning its neck to be noticed, education sector insecure of its future trajectory, the economy and its institutions creaking and the subsequent multiplier of all the above the Unemployment bursting at its seem.

In the backdrop, Santosh Mehrotra, a Professor of Economics at the Centre of Labour, JNU and an advisor to the NITI Ayog, the Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Skill development, as an editor has collated essays by top academics, technocrats, activists, intellectuals to churn out innovative ideas.

It is not just an academic exercise but also highlights structural problems and provide disruptive solutions as well. To create navigable road maps to overcome the many specific challenges. Reviving Jobs is a title in Rethinking India Series on behalf of the Samruddha Bharat Foundation.

The Editor has categorized the problem areas and their respective solutions into Macro Strategy, Micro level strategy and focus on neglected groups and sectors. Strategy for job creation, facilitating job creation, labour policy and labour codes with a view to tackling jobless growth, self-employment and SMEs, mass entrepreneurship as a solution to the jobs problem, rural industrialization, boosting women’s work participation, strengthening towns through sustainable employment amongst others have all been discussed at length with disruptive solutions.

Santosh Mehrotra delves on the dangers looming in the unemployment sector and the issues of demographic dividend which have a direct bearing on the future trajectory of the country. More and more young people are joining the labour force looking for work. As per data available from the Years 2012-2018 the open unemployment rate rose from 2.2% to 6.1%.

During the same 6 years, the open unemployment rate for the youth (From fifteen years to twenty-nine years of age) it rose from 6.1% to a whopping 17.8%. “Every country in the world experiences the benefits of its demographic dividend, a period that comes but once in the life of a nation-when the share of the working-age population is larger than the non-working age share. It has the potential to make the country progress towards higher incomes and development. But it can also become a nightmare if there aren’t enough jobs.”

“India entered this period in 1980, and by the time it ends in 2040, ours will be an ageing society. As more and more youths reach working age, an increasing number of workers are moving from agriculture towards industry and services, sectors which have higher productivity and incomes.”

Since 2012, the number of youth entrants into the labour force has increased at an accelerating pace, while the number of jobs created has decreased. This situation might become graver between 2020 and 2030 as the labour force swells further.

The book offers suggestions on how India can make the best use of the remaining period of its demographic dividend and cautions that any failure to do so will cause millions to suffer in poverty for decades to come.

The Book a first of its kind in the current ecosystem is a wake-up call for all in the process of Governance and across the Political Spectrum to synergise themselves towards this huge challenge we are not only submerged in but has the potential to drag us down even further. The book hopes to initiate a national dialogue and to help build a consensus on the challenges.

Michal Rutkowski, Global Director Social Protection and Jobs, World Bank has this to say:” Too often, policymakers and economists look for a magic bullet to solve the quandary of low employment. Some see it in skills, others in economic growth or business climate and entrepreneurship. ‘Reviving Jobs’ takes us on a different path, starting with an analysis of the mutually reinforcing feedback loops between economic growth, human capital and poverty reduction that are required, the authors lead us to a comprehensive examination of factors that may ensure a more employment-intensive pattern of growth…”

— Gaurav Prakash/Lucknow
(The author of this book review is a Lucknow-based businessman and Co-Chairman PHD Chambers of Commerce and the Founder Chair of Confederation of Indian Industry-Young Indians. He can be contacted at gauravprakash05@gmail.com.)

This Book Is Available @ Universal Booksellers
www.universalbooksellers.com
universallko@gmail.com

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