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How to fix India’s jobless growth

Anu Anand May 13, 2019
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More than half of India's population are under the age of 25.
DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images

India has one of the largest and youngest populations in the world. More than half — 600 million — are under the age of 25. However, the lack of jobs for them is a huge problem.

Why isn’t a country that’s currently enjoying around 6.5% growth creating enough opportunities?

Sabina Dewan, president of the JustJobs network and senior visiting fellow at the Center for Policy Research in Delhi, explains.

Sabina Dewan: The common assumption is that, if you have economic growth, the jobs will come. But we’ve seen that not to be the case in India. We’ve had our growth come from capital intensive sectors. For example, the petroleum sector, where you don’t need as many people, but the sector yields high percentages of growth.

The key issue when it comes to country’s employment crisis is productivity and wages. We have jobs. People are working. But they’re working in informal employment.

Anu Anand: What does India need to do to create the quality jobs that people here are so hungry for?

Sabina Dewan: We need to improve productivity in agriculture by investing in infrastructure. We need to also look at upgrading the education and skills for workers in the service sector, for example.

So even to be an Amazon delivery person, you have to be able to read the address. You have to be able to navigate an app. All of that requires a requisite level of education and skill which India is still pretty far behind on.

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