India Is Yet To Wean Off The After Effects Of The Pandemic On Unemployment!

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A year after the pandemic-induced lockdowns, India is still yet to wean off the decline in employment!

According to the latest data from CMIE aka Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, as of February 2021, the unemployment rate in India stands at 6.9%, which is only a slight improvement from the same month last year wherein the rate stood at 7.8%.

CMIE’s data revealed that the country’s unemployment rate peaked to a whopping 23.5% in April last year and went down to 21.7% in May. In June, it further went down to 10.2 and improved to 7.4% in July. However, it again rose to 8.3% for the month of August before showing improvement in September, wherein it was at 6.7% last year.

But then, come October, unemployment was once again on the rise at 7% before it eased down to 6.5% in November 2020. In December, CMIE data showed that the unemployment rate rose to 9.1 per cent before it went finally down in January to 6.5%.

The entire previous year shows that the country’s employment scenario didn’t observe any consistency in improvement, something which industry experts believe will come only after an increase in the manufacturing and services sectors’ buoyancy.

Industry experts also believe that the GOI has taken several steps to boost hiring in India in light of this situation. However, to make them work, they require repeated interventions and monitoring of the existing schemes and initiatives at the ground level.

According to the labour ministry data, close to 16.5 lakh individuals have benefitted from the ABRY aka Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana, which was launched in October 2020 to encourage employment in the country amid the pandemic till March 9, 2021.

This scheme, which is being implemented via the EPFO aka Employees Provident Fund Organisation, aims to deliver a two-pronged attack at unemployment. On the one hand, it reduces the financial burden of employers in various sectors and on the other, that in turn encourages them to hire more workers in India.

The GOI, under the ARBY scheme, for a period of two years, is crediting both employees (12% of wages) and employers (12% of wages) share of contribution payable.

The industry experts say that the Indian government intends to create 50-60 lakh jobs through ARBY within the time period of two years, but as mentioned earlier, it would require strict vigilance to make sure it is executed properly.

Take note here that the GOI, under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY), has also contributed a combined of 24% of the wage for both employers’ share and employees’ share under the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) from March to August 2020 for organisations having up to 100 employees with 90% of them earning below Rs 15,000.

It now remains to be seen when India’s employment landscape will finally start showing an upwards trajectory in terms of health. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.


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