Demographic distress
Editorial

Demographic distress

The country’s ongoing annual addition to the already accumulated number of both unemployed and underemployed population doesn’t seem to have weighed down the top brass in the incumbent Union Government as well as the heavy-weights in the Opposition who happened to indulge in the just-concluded poll campaigns in Karnataka generously assuring creation of jobs in numbers that can only be described as bewildering. The more one takes a comprehensive account of all available facts relating to employment for educated, skilled, unlettered, unskilled, youthful, aged, healthy, physically as well as mentally challenged, idling and whatever sections in the target part of the country’s population, the less one feels confident of succeeding in addressing the unemployment problem adequately. As a wiseacre has appropriately remarked, neglecting the facts don’t alter the facts. Also, no administration can afford or have the option of sleeping over the matter.

In the present backdrop of (a) Job openings in the Information Communication Technology tending to reach a plateau, (b) Youth in rural areas not favouring a life of labouring in the fields, (c) The index of industrial production remaining static and so on, the land’s youth finding it expedient to not only take to jobs unrelated to their education and also accept wages not even adequate to meet essential expenses of daily life. This scenario sees the successive governments in the country in poor light.

The steadily rising number of youth in the country’s population and their families remaining clueless about landing some job, however demeaning, may despair individually, but the administration has no option except to pull up its socks and think out of the box to address the task before the situation goes out of hand, of which there are already signs. The various educational institutions (Colleges, Universities, Polytechnics, Industrial Training Institutes, IITs, IIMs and others) are routinely producing products popularly described as human resources. Without demeaning the efforts, time and finances that are spent in this humongous activity all over the country, one is prompted to ask the question: Are all these products of a quality deserving to be seen as a resource?

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There is one more threat to the already grim employment seeking mass and its connect with job opportunities namely, the emerging age of automation. The cognoscenti have rightly remarked that labour-intensive industries will become the first targets of automation, with demographic distress as its obvious fallout.

May 15, 2018

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