THE PROBLEM OF UNEMPLOYMENT
Unemployment is on the increase and it is the greatest problem that our youth are facing. After they come out of the schools and colleges, what should they do? There are no jobs for millions of youth that are pouring out of educational institutions every year.
Unemployment is the greatest challenge before our ministers, leaders, educationists and industrialists. It is not possible to employ all educated men and women in the government services which is the most sought after by the youth of the country. Most of the youth have to be employed in offices, farms and factories. In fact, jobs in offices, that of clerks, typist and accountants, go to the women. Men are expected to work in farms and factories.
Office jobs are known as “white collar” jobs because as clerk and office assistant, you can keep clothes neat and clean.
Factory jobs are “brown collar” jobs because nobody can afford to wear white clothes while working with the machines. In Europe and America, the white collar jobs are reserved for women and brown collar jobs for men. The same kind of phenomenon is also happening in India. Now more men are shunted into farms and factories, leaving the coast clear for the women to work as typists, stenographers, receptionists and do other chores.
Government is doing its best to employ as many youth as possible, but it is up against heavy odds. One machine does the work of a hundred men, so ninety-nine are thrown out of employment. The bigger a factory, the fewer-the hands it needs to carry out its processes. Now with the introduction of automatic machinery, more and more men are being thrown on the dunghill of unemployment. There are millions of registered unemployed on the roles of the Employment Exchanges for which the nation has no work to give.
To solve the problem partially, the Government is introducing small scale industries, cottage industries and tiny industries which can employ more men than the big factories for the production to meet the national requirements and for the purpose of export. Mahatma Gandhi had suggested rural industries, like handloom, handmade cloth, pottery, wooden work and other employment in the villages. The Government of India is veering round the same view.
Another programme of the Government of India to generate more employment is—self-employment. Banks have been directed to give loans to educated youth to start their own small enterprises, cottage industries, etc. Many petrol pumps are now owned by the graduates under the self-employment projects. Many mini buses in Delhi are also run by the graduates under the same scheme with loans from the nationalized banks. Many taxis and three-wheeler rickshaws bear the legend, “hypothecated to…” (such and such bank), which means that the taxi or scooter has been bought with loan from such and such bank and hence it is not saleable without clearing the loan.
The State Governments in India have also launched Food-for-Work programmes in the villages where the people having no work are employed in road-building and other national enterprises. They are not paid in cash but are given wheat and rice to support themselves and their families.
In some States unemployment pension has also been introduced. Those whose names are on the registers of the Employment Exchanges for more than three years are being given a small pension to maintain themselves. This small maintenance allowance is limited only to the graduates.
Thus the Government of India is doing its best to solve the acute problem of unemployment but with the growing population every year, the problem is practically insoluble. Only self-employment in gainful activities could provide food to millions of our population.