The International Labour Organisation’s latest jobs report, titled World Employment and Social Outlook for 2017, makes for pretty grim reading. It states that the number of unemployed people in India is expected to rise from 17.7 million in 2016 to 18 million by 2018. The increase in the number of jobless people in India is part of a larger global dynamic. Globally, the ILO reckons that the number of unemployed people will increase by 3.4 million in 2017, with the pace of labour force growth outstripping job creation.
“Economic growth continues to disappoint and underperform – both in terms of levels and the degree of inclusion. This paints a worrisome picture for the global economy and its ability to generate enough jobs, let alone quality jobs,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. The NDA government’s economic policies have done little to mitigate the problem of jobless growth. Demonetisation, however, has made matters worse, leaving millions of migrant labourers without a livelihood and small businesses devastated.
Latest data from the Ministry of Rural Development indicate that the average daily demand for work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme has recorded a massive jump in the last two months. It is evident that this sudden spike in demand for jobs under employment guarantee scheme comes at a time when migrant labourers have lost their jobs owing to the unavailability of cash following demonetisation and returned to their homes in search of work.
Despite the government’s claims of supplying notes to rural areas, the situation is grave, and the cash-based trade in the countryside has collapsed. Since the entire rural economy supply chain has been disrupted, it will take time for the situation to normalise. This latest disruption in economic activity, especially in the rural areas, has adversely impacted the growth process. Experts contend the impact of the demonetisation on the rural sector will be felt for an extended period beyond the start of the next financial year.