As a nation we have thrived through a lot of barriers to be recognized as a major power in the world today. Endeavors and sacrifices of generations of people over seven decades since independence has helped to excel in all the major sectors. Much of this has been achieved by optimally employing the most important of all resources – the human resource. However, the higher rate of unemployment in the present times is a great threat to India’s future as an economic power. In 2019, unemployment rate was 5.36% which was a 0.03% increase from 2018 in which youth unemployment was 23.34%.
At a time when the unemployment rate was already on a steep rise, the COVID 19 pandemic acted as a fuel to fire. Lockdown became a cause of major issues. People lost their jobs more frequently than ever. This was the time when experience, knowledge, skills and talents were belittled in front of destiny, time and pandemic. According to CMIE, India’s unemployment rose sharply to 9.1% in December 2020, which was the highest since the beginning of India’s recovery from the lockdown. This was a result of many losing their jobs as companies were looking to downsize in the uncertain financial times and new talents added to the labour force. With increasing competition in the post-lockdown times, even the strongest foundations shook. They too faced the problems of bankruptcy, lower profits and were forced to take desperate measures in the desperate times.
The key to India’s struggle against increasing unemployment lies in its most recent past. During the lockdown phase, when pandemic, poverty, unemployment and hunger became a major crisis borne majorly by small scale businesses, small vendors, daily wage workers and casual laborers. While several people became jobless and desperate to move back to their villages on foot, there was a section of people who stood up for these people in their difficult times and continued paying their salaries, landlords not asking for rent and distributing food and cloth to the people in need.
A nation can never realize its true potential if such a large section of its population suffer through the perils of unemployment. The central government has laid the foundation of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” in this direction. The idea of “Atmanirbhar” is not merely a government strategy, but something which we as a society have to apply in practice. At a time like this, we have to work in the direction of creating more opportunities for people to get employment. There is a need to tap into the unreserved stock of potential that the unemployment people in our country possess. There is no shortage to people’s talents, knowledge and skill, and no limit to India’s growth if as a society we commit to respect, appreciate and employ the potential our people possess.