Other face of growth & development: ‘Labour is not safe’ – Dr. Razeena Kuzhimandapathil & Praveen Pillassery

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When all hail international labour solidarity as a public holiday, the rate of unemployment in India increases steadily revealing its employment creation rate drop down to 0.4% since 2013-14. NaMo brigade has changed the landscapes of Indian economy to a horror story. Protecting the interests of capitalist, they have devastated the lives of common man. They are neither different nor separable from their predecessors in their allegiance towards their political ‘masters’.

Of course wealth is created by workers, but it is amassed in the wealthy hands. The wealth distribution is getting more and more skewed. The reports reveal that 80.7% of the total wealth accumulates in the hands of 10% in which 58.4% of wealth is in the hands of top 1%. The disturbing truth is that 50% of destitute in India possesses merely 4.1% of the total wealth. More alarming is the fact that in the last three quarters of 2017, creation of new job opportunities in the country recorded a negative value. For 20 years before 2012-13, job creation in the whole country was around one percent.

52 lakhs of people in the agricultural sector; and 50 lakhs in the mining and quarrying and 21 lakhs of people in the construction sector have lost their jobs. While the unemployment rate during 2011-12 was 38, in 2015-16 it rose to 50 among those in the age group between 15 – 59. Do you know how many people join India’s employment sector every year with a minimum diploma or degree? It is around 1.3 crore of graduates/diploma holders. It is more than the total population of several Asian and African countries and more than the combined population of several developed countries. It simply means that at least 1.3 crore job opportunities must be newly created every year.

A recent research in the sector reveals that in India most of the educated adults are not employed in their field of expertise. 58% of graduate degree holders and 62% of post-graduate degree holders are not employed according to their eligibility. Among them 22% of graduate degree holders and 21% of post-graduate degree holders are working for very low wages. Are you shocked? If not, see this too. In 2014, the unemployment ratio among illiterate is recorded as 3.7% and among the educated in the age group between15-29 as 37%. It is too perplexing to understand that the jobs created were not of a permanent nature. Out of the total employed, 60% in telecom, 56% in automobile, 54% in education, 52% in construction and 51% in financial sector are on contract basis. And also, 95% of such workers have no binding contracts with their employers.

Do you recall the promise during the election campaign by NaMo that they would create two crore new jobs every year?  On close reviewing we may find that the permanent jobs in the public sector are gradually decreasing over the years. The data reveals that it was 16.14 lakhs in 2006-07, 13.98 lakhs in 2011-12 and 11.31 lakhs in 2016-17. The vacant posts are filled in contract or daily wage basis. In the private sector, people are employed denouncing the welfare schemes, provident fund, gratuity, pension etc. Although we have strong legislature in this sector, it is so shameful to know that they are not being ‘enforced’ in the cases of capitalists. The people in the sector have to work for meager amounts even after spending lakhs for getting their professional degrees. It is to be seriously noted that this is the present situation in the labour sector of India when and where around 39 lakh employments are predicted to be eliminated by 2020 due to automation in IT&BPO alone.  

Of course there are experts arguing that technological upgradation like automation will create more employment opportunities in the economy. But it is not completely true; and a big blunder at present. Latest reports undoubtedly pointed out the fact that latest technological advances will replace the most qualified or skilled workers at first. Here machines backed by softwares are going to be replaced by intelligence (not employment). All the money and time they spend for becoming ‘experts’ will get wasted then.

Now more and more sectors are opened for international competition which is going to introduce more capital; as a result more traditional labour will get replaced. More capital means more technology and more automation which will reduce the number of labour hours. Even if we accept the fact that new technology will create ‘new jobs’, it would only be possible with the upskilling of the existing labour force. In a country where vocational plus higher education is provided mostly by the market players, the ordinary people neither receives equal accessibility to ‘new job’ market nor get trained with ‘emerging skills’. Hence their employability is becoming less and less. Their bargaining power is also getting reduced. Labour is becoming more and more ‘unsafe’.   

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