COVID-19 Triggers Rise In Unemployment in India: 50 Million Jobs Lost In Just 2 Weeks

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The state of unemployment in India was never so bad as now. The country is now staring at the face of large scale unemployment as the COVID-19 outbreak has single-handedly managed to disrupt the entire economy of the world.

It has been recently discovered that urban unemployment in India has soared up to a whopping 30.9% while unemployment as a whole has risen to 23.4%. These figures, which have been going steadily for two straight weeks have been provided by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy’s weekly tracker survey.

On Monday evening, the latest data for the week ended 5 April was released wherein according to Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy’s (CMIE) estimates the unemployment rate in India shot up to 23% from only 8.4% in mid-March.

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Pronob Sen who is a former Chief Statistician of India reported that this is a highly troublesome indication as it shows that in just two weeks time frame of the lockdown, approximately 50 million people might have lost their jobs.

He also added that the actual volume of unemployment may be even higher as in some cases people might have just been let go of and therefore it will reflect later on in the data.

It is important to note here that the CMIE’s job-related data has often been the centre of political dogfights in the past and has been questioned upon when it comes to reliability. However, Pronob Sen remarked that it doesn’t matter as of right now as what they are looking forward to and are interested in is ‘capturing change’.

Mahesh Vyas who is the Managing Director and Chief Executive of CMIE said that the recent job survey by CMIE was based upon observations derived by a sample size of 9,000 participants who were followed over time at a regular frequency and since the same level of unemployment was observed in two such weekly surveys, it can be confirmed that the data is reliable. He also added that they didn’t expect such a huge spike in numbers.

Himanshu Chawla who is an associate professor of economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi remarked that the reported figures when it comes to unemployment were expected amid this crisis.

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Rising Unemployment In India: In Need Of Urgent Measures

The COVID-19 has not only crippled the employment rate in India but all over the world as well. For Instance, between March 8 and 14, over 281,000 people across the country filed for unemployment benefits, according to numbers released by the US Labour Department. A report released by the UN agency International Labour Organization also warned everyone regarding the same by reporting that over 25 million jobs are at risk globally.

In India, various measures are being undertaken by both government bodies and as well as private organisations in order to curb the after-effects of this outbreak. The Central Government has reported that they are going to give unemployment benefits to a section of organised workers via the Atal Beema Vyakti Kalyan Yojana (ABVKY) whereas, on the other hand, several top India Inc leaders have promised that they wouldn’t be letting go of their employees.  Now it remains to be seen what the how effectively can these measures help slow down the unemployment rate amid this situation and post the end of the lockdown.

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