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Social and political Values and Systems in India.

Need of ‘Training’ for increasing ‘employability’



India has everything, a nation needs for development – tremendous amount of skilled and unskilled manpower, all kinds of raw materials, a good legal system, a huge market and potential to export virtually everything. However, there lives a vast illiterate and unskilled population, which is either unemployed or underemployed. 90% of youth, who go to job market, are without any formal or informal skill training.

Another worrying feature is increase in the number of educated unemployed. They are employable mainly in organised sector. The problems have been further aggravated due to retrenchment in the organised sector, an outflow from agriculture and occupational shifts from artisan to unskilled employment in agriculture. The number of marginal workers has been growing for the last two decades.

Until and unless the submerged population is ignored and all persons are not gainfully employed, sustainable development of India will remain a distant dream.


Unemployment-underemployment is one of the burning problems before the nation. It is a big challenge for the nation to assess correctly the enormity of the problem and analyze rationally the reasons of unemployment. It has to decide how to provide ‘employment to all’ and put people back to work in the present scenario of economic distress? How their energies should be utilized for constructive purposes?

For solving these problems and making optimal utilization on human resource for constructive purposes, the nation needs to assess/understand the structure of employment, and efforts required to be done for increasing employability. The basic requirement is to make enough arrangements to provide income-generating skills to unemployed youth and to upgrade their skills update with current developments continuously through refresher courses in the present constantly fast-changing  atmosphere and to make people aware of new technological developments.

             Policies of the government for employment

‘Liberalization’ along with ‘Industrialization’, ‘Modernization’, and ‘Globalization’ brought many drastic changes in the market of employment. After Second World War up-till to 199o, many countries were influenced deeply by the principles of social justice. Concept of ‘Welfare State’ and ‘social justice’ led them to pursue many protective policies for the development of submerged sections of society.

For solving the problem of unemployment, many nations made employment a basic right under the law, without building efficiency, surplus and expansion. There were some adverse effects of these paternal policies on the work-culture. It led to pervasive corruption and slow growth. It ended up with half employment or quarter employed disgruntled men and women workers. It has not succeeded in concealing their inefficiency.

Therefore, from 199o onwards, many nations, after experiencing it, gave up the protective policies and leaned towards liberalization. They opted for market oriented course in order to achieve efficiency.

India too chose the course of liberalization, but still, its employment policies are loaded with protective measures without much regard or incentive to achieve higher results per worker. It adversely effected the development of skills of workers for employability, self entrepreneurship and self employment.

Liberalization demands youth to acquire some measure of specialization through education, training or experience for getting employed. Without it, there are very few tasks, which can be performed well. The nature and the degree of specialization require to be geared according to the needs of the specific job, which have to be met.

Skill deficit – It is reported that 70% educated youth is unemployable, as they could not fit well for job requirements. The skill deficit becomes more acute in professional courses where 90% are unemployable. The government is more concerned about increasing the figures of literacy officially rather than preparing youth for employment by developing the required skills. It will not help the nation to provide gainful employment for all.

                 Magnitude of the problem of unemployment in India

After independence – Over the years, the number of unemployed has increased. In 1951, the total number of unemployed was 3.3 million, in 1990, it was 13.09 millions. About nine million people were unemployed in Nov 2005. It was about 10.7% in 2010.

After liberalization – During 1981-91, India had 2.1 growth rate in the population and 2.5% per annum growth rate in labor force. During 2000-2005 jobs grew 2.8% annually, population by 2.35%. Therefore, the growth rate of labor force was higher than the population growth and growth rate of employment. Total labor force is about half a million workers, (about 5.46 million in urban areas and about 7. 63 million in rural areas).

Main work-force in informal sector – Over 93% of India’s labor force is employed in informal sector, where wages low and work conditions onerous. Unemployment is up from 7.4 to 8.7%, as more people sought work. More women and aged worked. Proportion of women working was up from 26% to 29%. Number of 60+working was up by 4 million. In 1996, the number of job seekers according to the live register was 5872.4 thousand. Casual workers fell from 33% to 28%, self employment was up from 53%to 57%. Real wages grew less (1.3% vs. 2.8% in agriculture, 0.8% vs. 4.2% in rest) from 99 to ’04-05 than earlier. (TOI, N.Delhi, 11.8.07, p. 1)

Limited expansion in organized sector – Employment has expanded in the organized sector by only 0.95% per year between 1994 and 2008. Woman workers with independent incomes constitute only 15% of the labor force, a pointer to the immense waste of productive capacities.  (TOI 26.3.11, P1)

Report of the Ministry of Labour (1993-94) – According to annual report of the Ministry of Labour for 1993-94, the labour force is projected to increase by 35 million during 1992-97 and by another 36 million during 1992-2002. The total number of persons requiring employment was expected to be 58 million during 1992-97 and 94 millions during 1992-2002.

Growth rate Of employment – The average growth rate (2.2 per annum) of employment remained static for over two decades; whereas the government statistics show that an annual growth rate of 2.6% to 2.8% is needed to wipe out completely, the projected unemployment by 2002. Presently about 25% of total workforce is unemployed, excluding sizable invisible unemployment and underemployment.

Survey on educated unemployment – According to a survey, the educated unemployment in India is increasing by 7.5 per annum. 9 million people were unemployed in Nov 2005 and 10.7% in 2010. Employment in organized sector had stagnated at 10% to 12% level for the last 40 years. Only 3% of the people in the working age group have any kind of technical training. Many of them are unable to utilize technologies for setting up enterprises. (TOI 26.3.11, P1)

National Sample Survey Organization’s Report – National Sample Survey Organization’s 61st round survey on employment and unemployment was carried out during 2004-2005, covering a sample of over 6 lakh people spread over rural and urban areas. According to it, for the first time since Independence, employment has grown at a faster rate than population during the first five year period between 2000 and 2005. The position of employment and unemployment is as under –

Employment Unemployment
Year Male Female Male Female
Urban 1999-2000 49 11.1 7.3 9.4
2000-2005 51.9 13.3 7.5 11.6
Rural 1999-2000 47.8 20.4 7.2 7
2000-2005 48.8 21.6 8 8.7

(Figures in % of total population)

Pressure of globalization on job market – Earlier the workforce was facing tremendous pressures due to globalization and liberalization of world economy and consequent structural adjustment. Demand for more motivated and knowledgeable persons – Across all sectors there is demand for more motivated and knowledgeable persons. There is constant need to acquire newer skills and prepare themselves to meet new challenges. There is pressure for more work and tighter deadlines. For persons who do not perform well, there is fear of loosing their jobs.

After Great Economic Depression – Since 2007, the whole world is passing through a great economic depression once again after the great economic depression of 1929. With global economy slowdown, youth in all the nations are feeling ripples.

Retrenchment in the organized sector – Since 2008 continuous increased retrenchment in the organized sector due to recent economic depression rendered a number of educated unemployed. The closure of sick industrial units has led to unemployment in substantial number among urban poor, comprising of uneducated and unskilled workers.

Constant pressure on employees – There is a constant pressure on employees for more work and tighter deadlines. For persons who do not perform well, there is fear of loosing their jobs. The recent economic slowdown led the private sector to adopt retrenchment of labor-force. The exit policy means retrenchment of labor in public and private sector industries as a measure of making its working and production more efficient and cost-effective.

Shift towards contractual employment – The shift is more towards irregular, casual, temporary or contractual employment affecting adversely the quality and condition of employment. There are challenges of talent crisis due to rising of multi-generational workforce and increase in the global worker mobility. There have been organizational changes and cultural issues emerging from the fast pace of business changes of the past decade.

Largest pool of young workforce – It is assessed that by 2020, India will be the youngest country, having the largest pool of young workforce, whose average age is supposed to be 30 years. Those below 35 years are estimated to be 60-70%; those below 25 years are 40-50%. It means 400-5000 million Indians need reasonable level of employment to give them decent nourishment, healthcare and education so that they can add value to society. Time demands that youth must turn from job-seekers to job-creators. They should be inspired to give shape to their skills and courage to meet challenges in order to move forward.

                                 Structure of employment

Division of labor  

All activities needed for the maintenance and growth of a society are divided into different kinds of functions. Also the persons supposed to perform these activities differ from each other in physical strength, mental capacity, and moral aspirations, like and dislikes, inclination and expectations. Employment into various areas of activity depends on knowledge, skills, intelligence, aptitudes, attitudes, and available opportunities. Different occupations and employment in them may be –

  • Traditional , or
  • Modern.

Traditional occupations – Traditional occupations have certain advantages like –

  • Core values are maintained effectively.
  • Risk taking ability is greater than in non-family business.
  • There is regular interaction and experiences are shared between different generations.
  • Motivation and commitment levels remain on all-time high.
  • There are always other family members to take off some work load.

Disadvantages – There are some disadvantages as well –

  •  Horizon of thinking and understanding is not as broad as it is found in non-family business.
  •  It is difficult to have unbiased/neutral attitude.
  •  Some members may lack understanding, responsibilities vise-a-vis accountability.
  •  It may lead to family-feuds. On family front, equality, fairness, emotions and preservation play important role, whereas in business, meritocracy, rationality, ROI etc. These differences in fundamental values can create challenges, disputes within a family.

Modern Occupations

Modernization and industrialization has Brought many changes in occupational structure. It has affected to a great extent terms in income, standard of living and the way of life, status, economic activities, purchasing power and thinking of people. Some of the advantages of modern occupations are –

  • It has widened the horizon of jobs. There is a great diversity in matter of occupations. Many new careers emerged in employment market, in addition to the traditional ones.
  • Multiple choices – At present, a person has multiple choices in matter of career. A person can choose any innovative and creative career for oneself or change the job. Careers in IT sector, gemstone designing, mass-media, fashion-designing are becoming very popular.
  • It has led to specialization and super-specialization. Specialization in each area has created many more new opportunities.

Modern occupations can be divided into –

  1. Organized sector and
  2. Un-organized sector.

Organized sector – Organized sector is the backbone of modern economy. It provides to people, engaged in it, adequate means of livelihood and a specified position in social, economic and political world. The reasons for its importance are –

  • The State authority itself and
  • Its role in development.

Having full knowledge about the system, the persons in organized sector are able to protect themselves against malfunctioning of state authority, because-

  • They are organized to challenge any misuse of authority.
  • Whenever the system fails, they can make special arrangements.
  • Their future is secured under various schemes.

Persons employed in following sector form organized sector –

  • In Government,
  • In Public sector, and
  • In private sector

Unorganized sector – In contrast, people in unorganized sector find themselves helpless and vulnerable, as their awareness and knowledge about the system is very limited. Very often, they are the people living below poverty line, deprived and exploited. Some of them are even unable to manage two square meals a day. Their agony is multiplied due to growing underhandedness, insufficient and ineffective monitoring of projects undertaken for their welfare, corruption, undue pressures of influential groups and unholy alliances. They do not get due wages for their labor or skill. For example, an agricultural worker, whose work is quite skilled, arduous and working conditions difficult, has been recognized by the government authorities as an unskilled worker and gets lowest wages.

 Unemployment or under employment

 Unemployment does not mean anybody who is not working, but only those who are seeking work but not getting it. Any body, who is not gainfully employed in any productive activity, may be called unemployed. Magnitude of unemployment is alarming in India. Majority of unskilled workers live in rural areas. Unemployment or under employment is one of the major causes of deprivation and disparities. Any body, who is not gainfully employed in any productive activity, may be called unemployed. Unemployment can be of two kinds: –

  • Voluntary unemployment – out of job of one’s own desire either because of higher wages or does not want to work at all.
  • Involuntary unemployment – when persons are able and willing to work, but can not find jobs.

Unemployment may be further divided into following groups:

Unemployment in Rural areas

  • Disguised Unemployment – People apparently seem to be employed, though enough work is not available for all. It is perennial in nature.
  • Seasonal Unemployment – A large number of people engaged in agriculture remain idle for about six months in a year.

Unemployment in Urban areas

  • Open Unemployment- People willing to work have no work. It mainly includes uneducated and unskilled people migrating from rural areas to city and illiterate urban people.
  • Underemployment- it is similar in nature to disguised unemployment. It results, when a person contributes to production less than what he is capable of.
  • Educated Unemployment

There is a large number is that of marginal workers, who do not get work for the major part of a year. The Census operations indicate that the numbers of marginal laborer has been growing for the last two decades. Their number is higher in the rural areas than in the urban areas. About 85% marginal workers are female.

Liberalization of economy – Liberalization of economy since 1991 has led to different kind of problems. Talents of the nation are usually flourished outside the government. In addition, workforce is facing tremendous pressures due to globalization of world economy and consequent structural adjustment. The shift is more towards irregular, casual, temporary or contractual employment affecting adversely the quality and condition of employment.

  • Necessity to change jobs frequently for better career prospects,
  • Difficulty for an employer to retain an employee on one job for a long period,
  • Major working force below 30,
  • Customized services, now the focus should be is on customers’ satisfaction,
  • Globalization vs. local values.

Need for a sound system of education and training – For getting gainfully employed and for success in career, attainment of necessary qualifications for that specific job and continuous up-dating the knowledge becomes necessary. Otherwise it would be difficult to survive in present atmosphere of cut-throat competition.

A sound system of education and training helps the employees to acquire required professional skills and develops a proper infra-structure for job-market. Continuing education ensures the maintenance of standards by updating the qualifications of workers. It keeps employees abreast with the latest developments and trends in their respective areas of work.

                 Employment and occupational pattern in India

Ancient India – In ancient India, distinct functions were assigned to different groups to perform. It community based and not individual based. Maintaining differentiation between various occupations was the main feature of traditional system. Various activities of similar nature and same objectives were grouped under one section and were entrusted to a distinct group, which possessed required qualifications, skills and aptitude. In ancient western societies also, such groups existed and were known as guilds.

Principles of ‘Varna, karma and Dharma’ – Division of occupations in India has been based on certain principles, basic needs of the society and ground realities of day to day life. Principles of ‘Varna, karma and Dharma’ long ago divided various functions needed for the maintenance and growth of the society and were divided into different occupations. These were assigned to different groups according to their attitude and aptitude.

Indian philosophy believes that the whole world of activities is a result of complex intermixing of three basic qualities of human nature – goodness (Satwa), Passion (Rajas) and dullness (Tamas). `Goodness is associated with purity, peace and knowledge; `Passion with comfort and action; and `Tamas with ignorance, sloth, sleep and carelessness. These qualities determine the tendencies, potentialities, limitations, traits and character of individuals and gave them direction for action. `Adharma (immoral behavior), Alasya (laziness) and Agyan (ignorance) were held responsible for evils, exploitation, and miseries of the people.

On the basis of their natural inclinations, predominantly psychological characteristics, having `Sat and `austerity, Brahmins were assigned the work of pursuing knowledge. Similarly, Kashtriyas having `Rajas quality, were befitting for actions of courage, bravery, power and protection of the weak.

Hereditary occupations – Initially, according to Smritis it was not birth, but the qualities and deeds, which fitted one into a particular group. But, later on, upbringing, atmosphere and convenience tended to make these groups hereditary. People found it more economical and convenient to pursue their traditional occupations and occupations became hereditary. There was not much choice to individuals in the matter of employment in the traditional system.

The system inheritance of different occupations facilitated constant contact with the family occupation made youth to learn informally tricks of the trade, hidden intricacies and solutions of the occupational problems within their families from their elders, while growing up.

Wise-distribution of functions – At its best, traditional system of occupations had wisely directed all the activities – social, political, intellectual or economic – into proper life functions. It controlled malfunctioning or dis-functioning. It had led the Indian society to have more production, economic efficiency and specialization in various areas. The system had created an atmosphere of high quality of occupational skills in different areas like spinning, weaving, pottery making, bead making, seal making, terracotta, handicrafts, brick-laying, metal work etc.

Even in modern world, when there is full freedom to an individual to choose a job of his liking, many people prefer to follow their family occupations. It has been seen that a Marwari, traditionally belonging to business community, invests his money in share market with more ease and confidence than persons possessing degrees/ academic qualification in business management.

Special features of traditional system of employment

Some of the special features of traditional way of employment are –

  • Natural endowments, the basis of occupation – The traditional system of occupations had assigned different activities to different groups according to its natural endowment, qualities and aptitude.
  • Natural training without investment- The system transmitted intelligence, skills, experience, tricks of a traits, abilities, and values from one generation to another in a natural way.
  • Seniors’ guidance – Seniors’ guidance, protection and unbiased feed-back about the strengths and weaknesses provided a familiar and comfortable atmosphere to the people to learn maximum about their traditional occupations. It gave them confidence and saved them from confusion or unhealthy competition.
  • No dearth of employment opportunities – There was employment for all. Every body had one’s own traditional occupation. If some persons did not want to join their traditional occupation, there was no dearth of employment opportunities for such persons. They could easily become soldiers or farmers. Principle of ‘Dharma’ inspired people to do their jobs well, as all worldly honour and spiritual happiness were vested there.
  • No confusion – There was no unemployment, no confusion and no frustration on matter of work. Traditional social mechanisms kept a check on people and saved people from confusion or unhealthy competition. The system saved their time, energy and efforts of its work-force.
  • No rivalry or bitterness for pelf, power or position – It avoided rivalry or bitterness for pelf, power or position amongst different sections of society. No ‘enemy’ was identified to be defeated. ‘Adharma” (immoral behaviour), “Alasya” (laziness) and Agyan (ignorance) were held responsible for evils, exploitation, and miseries of the people.
  • Employment, dignity and honor for all – Each and every group served the community. The feeling that it, too, was contributing something to the society made its people to live with dignity and honor.
  • ‘Work is worship’ – Doctrines of ‘Dharma’ and ‘Karma’ inspired people to do their jobs sincerely. It assured the people that all kinds of jobs and their proper performance, whether high or humble, whether of a priest, warrior, Shudra or yogi were equally important and relevant for the society and therefore, right, respectable and worth pursuing. Proper performance of one’s work, whether high or humble, brought worldly honor and spiritual happiness for people.
  • Division of Labor The system follows the principles of “division of labor” and de-centralization of control systems.
  • Clear-cut definition of rights and duties – Clear-cut definition of rights and duties for each group developed clear vision of its responsibilities. The principles of division of labour combined with clearly defined rights and duties and principle of inter-dependence developed its own systems of checks and balances over arbitrary use of one’s authority. There was an automatic decentralization of authority.
  • Local character – All the activities of urban or rural areas were confined within a small area, having very little links with the outside world because of the slower means of transport. Only merchants visited different distant places. The local societies were self-sufficient, mutually `supporting and caring” for each other. Local character, inter-dependence and semi-autonomous nature of different working groups made close interaction and cooperation a reality.
  • Inter-dependence – Inter-dependence in social life and self-reliance in personal life were the intrinsic features of the system. It made each local area self-sufficient and capable to fulfill all the needs of its people. Within a group engaged in common occupation, there was closeness and cooperation. Different groups within a local area were bound together by economic and social ties. They had a strong bond of mutual dependence underlying their activities and minds. Inter and intra bondage made management within each unit effective and organized human and social behaviour in tune with the objectives of the society. It also led to accomplish a quality of life, success and happiness and decentralized authority and resources.
  • Natural leaders – A Research paper from the center on the developing child at Harvard University suggests that quality early education and training is essential for children. Brain connections for higher cognitive thinking and other skills depend on the experiences children have before age five. Their brain development, many skills required in employees/workforce, learning for life are well formed before a child reaches kindergarten. It was because of traditional way of imparting skills within the family, while children were growing up, that the system had been able to provide a reservoir of natural leaders in different areas like Brahman naturally trained in literary skills and Kashitryas in art of leadership etc. etc.

High level of specialization – Advantages of very long experience and deep thinking of generations led the system as a whole to excellence. It served as a spawning bed for social and technical skills. By its very nature, it encouraged the development and preservation of local skills. There was a tendency to bring in the most diversified skills to high level of excellence.

The system to the transfer of knowledge and expertise, from one generation to another, through inheritance evolved an atmosphere led to a high level of excellence/Specialization in different spheres. The manner, in which these hereditary occupational skills were transferred, was through practice and experience; not through formal classroom lectures, which often kills originality and verve of people.

Many travelers visiting India, from alien lands at different points of time, confirm that India possessed huge wealth, knowledge, and quality of life. It was a cheerful land. Each person found a niche in the social system. When the world was passing through the Dark Age, India was full of light. The first few centuries are recognized as the golden period of Indian history. During this period, arts, commerce, crafts, philosophy and knowledge flourished magnificently.

Change in Scenario of employment

 Modernization and industrialization process under British rule has changed the employment pattern tremendously. Instead of skills, formal education and a simple graduate-degree became the master-key for getting a nice and respectable career, giving status, authority and final reprieve from manual work.

Traditional jobs became obsolete – With the start of Industrial revolution, slowly but steadily many traditional occupations were discredited as they were considered less paying, more hazardous or time consuming. Some of them became obsolete. It destructed Indian handicrafts and cottage industry, which scattered the efforts, sense of direction and manufacturing skills of millions of artisans, craftsman, weavers etc.

There had been casualty of workers first, afterwards their work style, commitment, motivation and culture. They lost their creativity, sense of achievement and pride. Work culture has changed tremendously since then. Efforts, sense of direction and manufacturing skills of millions of artisans, craftsmen and weavers were scattered.

White collared jobs- Introduction of modern education in 1835 gave importance and popularity to ‘White collared jobs’ in organized sector. Declaration of English as Official language pushed the masses away from new employment opportunities. More a person withdraws from physical labor, more honored; civilized and qualified he/she is considered by modern society. The trend of easy and quick money started.

Unemployment increased – Very few of them could join modern occupations. Majority of people could neither enter into modern sector, nor could stick to their traditional occupations considering the menial work derogatory. In the near absence of industrial, commercial or social service activity, most of them had no option, but either to join band of agricultural labors, industrial workers and marginal labor for their survival or increase number of unemployed or under employed.

Rising aspirations of people unmatched with skills and qualification and absence of traditional social control mechanism has led many to become unemployed. There is a large mismatch between the skills required for a modern economy and the education and training imparted to most of these students.

Modernity benefitted “Haves” only- Industrialization, astute materialism and lure for luxurious life style has made poor poorer. Influential persons with money and muscle power exploited them, belittled them, and misbehaved with them. Some young entrepreneurs, having education, money and awareness, did market survey and hijacked many discarded traditional occupations. They modernized such disdained and contemptuous jobs like mechanization of fishing or leather industry and made them profit oriented. Even less capital-intensive occupations like that of barber or washer-men have been hijacked by educated middle class. They re-christened them as saloon, laundry etc and employed those poor traditional workers, who were earlier practicing such occupations independently.

Occupation-wise distribution of work-force

At present Occupation-wise distribution of work-force at present is as following –

  • · Agriculture 57%
  • ·Service-sector 34%
  • ·Industrial- sector 4%

Still agriculture is the dominant employer (57%) followed by construction (7.2%), manufacturing (6.7%) and community services (6.3%). The alarming number of unemployed indicates the urgency of labour force to be moved from agriculture and allied activities to manufacturing and service sectors.

             Reasons for increasing trend of unemployment

New kinds of jobs are being continuously added to the traditional jobs of pre-industrial-society of earlier days. Many traditional occupations have become obsolete. With it, different kinds of problems are cropping up every day, which have adversely affected employment prospects for masses. Problems and their reasons are different at different places. Some of the main reasons common in most of the places for such a large unemployment are –

Illiteracy – There is a close connection between illiteracy and unemployment. The illiterates have a very high probability of being vulnerable and becoming predominantly unorganized workers.

Lack of skills – This is an age of specialization. It is reported that 70% educated youth is unemployable because of lack of skills. They could not fit well for job requirements. The skill deficit becomes more acute in professional courses where 90% are unemployable. It is not going to help the nation in moving forward.

Too much dependence on agriculture – RP Dutta, in his widely quoted book ‘India Today’, has pointed it out as early as in 1940, “The millions of ruined artisans and craftsman, spinners, weavers, potters, tanners, smelters, smiths alike, from the town and from the villages, had no alternative, save to crowd into agriculture. In this way, India was transformed from being a country of combined agriculture and manufacturers into an agricultural colony of British manufacturing capitalism.” The position is still more or less the same. Occupational shifts from artisan to unskilled employment in agriculture and outflow from agriculture to urban areas have further aggravated the problem. The number of unskilled workers/marginal workers both in rural as well as urban areas has been growing for the last few decades.

Aversion towards traditional occupation – Aversion of modern youth from their traditional occupation has today rendered millions unemployed or underemployed, and resulted in total waste of their time, energy. Most of them remain constantly busy in efforts in pursuit of those jobs, for which they neither have aptitude nor attitude or which are beyond their reach for some other reason. This they could have utilized otherwise for constructive purposes.

Material success super-most – Pursuit of material success is super-most objective in the minds of modern people. Modern youth are running blindly behind money. Too much importance is being given to good earning –easy and quick. People care more for pay-packages. Low wages especially in unorganized sector distracts them from taking up any job. They are in a constant search of jobs paying more.

Protective policies of government have made many people lazy, to live like parasite – be always on crutches and depend on help, which may come from any quarter. For them, it is better to beg, borrow or steal rather than to work hard and earn honest money.

The present atmosphere of materialism and consumerism is making majority of youth selfish and intolerant to others. They are drifting almost rudderless without sense of direction. There is virtually no stress on quality of life, humanity, compassion and self discipline.

Other factors – There are other factors too like – slow economic growth, specially in the primary sector, low level of equilibrium, social milieu, rapid population growth, inappropriate technology, inappropriate education system, which mostly prepares persons for white collared jobs, inadequate employment opportunities, ignorance/ unawareness about employment opportunities, mismatch between skill and requirement and use of capital intensive mode of production.

Illiteracy and unemployment

     India has largest number of illiterate adults in the world – about 257 million people above 15 years, who are beyond school going age, can not read or write. Even those with education up-to primary level, 83% are the poor and vulnerable group. According to provisional data of Census 2011, released on 31st April 2011, Literacy has gone only up to 74% from 65%. For males it has risen to 82% from 75%, for females to 65% from 54%.

Workforce according to Census 2001 -According to the census 2001, there are 313 million main workers, 89.2 million marginal workers and 626.4 million non workers in India. Only 39.1% of the country’s population is engaged in some form of economically productive activity.

Among regular wage workers, 66.7% belong to poor and vulnerable groups, while 33% were from higher income group. Among self employment, 74.7% were from the poor and vulnerable and 25.3 % came from higher income group, amongst casual workers, 90% were from the poor and only 10% from the higher income group.

Unemployment due to illiteracy –There were 45.2 million unemployed in 2001, of which 8.5 million were illiterates. The Report highlighted that 79% of unorganized casual non- agricultural women workers in the villages are illiterate. Barely 3.5 % Indians have access to education and the opportunity to realize their potential. As of now only 2% of Indian youth receive formal education. Another 8% get on-the-job training. 17.2% of India’s graduates are jobless, grew by more than three times in ten years – from 13.8 million in 1991 to 44.5 million in 2001, according to census figures. (TOI, N. Delhi, June22. 2005. p.1).

Continuous fall in the standard of education – There has been a continuous fall in the standard of higher education as well. Nearly 40% of graduates are not productively employed. Even among technical graduates, as many are “non workers,” only lower than the 39% figure of non- technical graduates. About 52% of all males are productively employed. A majority of female graduates- 74% among the non- technical ones and 49% among those technically qualified- are not working. Among males, 22.6% of all graduates are not part of the workforce. That includes more than 25% of male technical graduates. The census has also found over 4,200 graduates had been reduced to begging or vagrancy, including 419 technical graduates.

Quantity not quality – Quantity not quality in education is the main concerned of the government. Stress on quantitative increase has subverted all the attempts to improve the quality of teaching and learning or preparing youth for employment by developing the required skills. There is a constant need to prepare more and more skilled, knowledgeable and motivated persons for the job-market. They need to acquire newer skills to enable themselves to meet new challenges of the 21st century.

According to Labour Bureau’s Employment Survey (2009-10) – According to Labour Bureau’s Employment Survey done recently, the estimated unemployment rate at present is 9.4% (barring the five north eastern states and islands of Lakshdweep and Andaman & Nicobar, where survey was not done)

 At the lowest rung of labour-force are about 600 million population, which earns around 1$ to 3$ per day. Then comes the population of around 500 million Indians, who lacks the means to earn living. They can neither depend on Government jobs, which are few, nor on charitable aid or on government’s aid.

The Eighth Plan (1992-97) – The Eighth Plan paper laid emphasis on full employment strategy. The Government tried to attack the problem on three points: –

  • Providing necessary training, through vocational education to help people acquire skills in trade and professions, which could make them employable in private sector, where employment opportunities are increasing with liberalization.
  • By creating more opportunities for self-employment, in service and distribution activities, by using the help of financial institutions to provide requisite monitory support.
  • Through reformulating economic policies in such a manner, as to create more employment in private sector.

For years the atmosphere/environment at workplace has remained almost stable. In order to cater the needs of new generation, the total environment of work landscape needs to be changed. There is need to seek newer ways to cut costs, create pleasant work atmosphere and create more productive employees.

Need of education and training

That all is not well in education, which people receive before entering into workforce, has been frequently noted by distinguished academicians, policy-makers, political leaders, other eminent persons, commissions and committees. They pointed out its failures in one area or another from time to time. Modern education has become increasingly unrelated to national needs and aspirations, insufficient, wasteful and dysfunctional.

Situation has become more complex in this era of super specialization. As specialization increased, knowledge advanced and new type of occupations emerged into the scene. Knowledge has grown faster than human ability to handle it. Many new opportunities have emerged in job-market making it difficult to make a choice. Because of recent global economy slowdown (2008), job-market in all the nations is feeling ripples. These recent changes have increased the need to focus more on skill based education.

Gone are the days to depend on Jacksonian theory that any man with common sense and some intelligence can perform any kind of work efficiently. There are very few tasks, which could be performed well without some measure of knowledge, nature and degree of specialization. Inculcation of professional norms for different kinds of jobs requires specific training programs in order to gear people up for their future roles.

Unfortunately, meaning of literacy and education is misunderstood. Literacy does not merely mean the knowledge of three ‘R’s, and education not only academic or theoretical studies leading to award of degrees. Gaining mere knowledge is not the purpose of learning. While education deals mostly with knowledge and understanding and enables people to get better adjusted to their working environment, training deals with understanding and skill. In modern times, one of the primary objectives of education is also to help youth to choose and decide their activity/career.

Bookish-knowledge and award of degrees through formal education without effective training-systems would not make people employable gainfully. The scope of both is much broader. In its wider sense, literacy and education embraces reading, observation and thought. It connotes the process of increasing knowledge, understanding and attitudes of the candidates. It is a continuous process. It means complete up-bringing of the individual from the childhood. Within its jurisdiction, it embraces the formation of habits, manners and character and mental- physical attitude and aptitude.

Deteriorating standard of general education has failed to produce much-needed dynamism in employees. It has been proved irrelevant in equipping youth with required knowledge, skills for getting gainfully employed and for performing their jobs with a sense. A simple graduation degree has lost its value for enabling people to get gainfully employed. Diversification for different vocations should be done at an early age and train them through tailor-made courses, say before graduation, when their minds are still young and in a formative stage. Then it would be easier to mould them according to job-requirements.

Training has always been considered necessary for an action. One can depend on force for action, but such an action would be short-lived. It is only training, which can lead to sustained, self-generating action. Training, not force, promises what is essential to modern technologies and economic systems. It inculcates flexibility in action through understanding and confidence. It encourages inventiveness, initiative and ability to make decisions. It teaches to respect the contributions of others and to collaborate with others.

Training helps individuals to acquire and apply knowledge and skills, which they do not possess, but are needed by the organizations of which they are a part. Training helps individuals to improve their performance in their particular area of work. It is primarily prepares an individual for certain lines of action, which are delineated by technology and by the organization in which he works. It is a process, by which the attitudes, skills and abilities of trainees to perform specific jobs are increased. For reducing heavy demand on capital and scarce resources, skills and its application need to be inculcated in youth by proper arrangement of training.

Training is one of the primary means of building up competence and effectiveness of people in general all over the world. People in developing or under developed nations face difficulties due to rapidly changing and turbulent environment. Training prepares to deal with the complexities of real life – the pressures, the limited resources, the choices and uncertainties, the conflicting motives etc.

Initial training is necessary for new-entrants to understand the basics of their specific jobs before joining the work force. It takes some time and effort to get adjusted in new environment. It fills in them confidence, enables them to do their jobs well and to reach to their full potential. Not only initial education and training, but also there is a need for continuing education and training for reducing adolescence among work-force and organizations in the face of relentless technological innovations.


It is said India will be the world’s youngest country. It is estimated that by 2020, it will have the largest and youngest labour force in the world. An average age will be less than 30 years.

According to Gandhiji, “The main reason of our economic and spiritual degeneration is that we have not correctly followed the “Varna System”. This is the main reason of poverty and unemployment. ….”. He suggested that for the growth of a self-contained and self-regulated society, it was necessary to encourage education amongst the masses, all the occupations be given equal importance, people no be forced to adopt their hereditary occupations and difference of income derived from various occupations be narrowed down to the minimum.

India has been a land of entrepreneurship with largest number of self employed. About 52% of Indians are self-employed, about 55% in rural communities and 41% in urban areas, though many of these (about 20%, according to the international labour organization) are at the bottom of pyramid. The main reason behind it is illiteracy and unskilled work-force.

A combination of education and training required – India vision 2020 aims at ‘education for all’. No doubt, there is a need for ‘education for all’ and to develop an understanding of social and economic problems and of society and public affairs in general. Focus on training alone would not serve the purpose as it confines itself to study of job – skills and knowledge related to a trainee’s immediate functions. It improves performance of new entrants and enables them to contribute to organizational growth. But it does not cover modification of behaviour, attitudes and beliefs, which form part of education.

Neither education nor training alone can serve the purpose and lead to sustainable development. For providing employment to all, education needs to be supplemented by such training programs, which have a direct bearing on a person’s job. A good combination of education and training is required to enhance wisdom, confidence and will power of employees. It would give them courage to deal with the competitive and complex situations of the day and to face the challenges.

Application of knowledge in real life-situations – Khalil Gibran has said, ‘a little knowledge that acts is worth more than much knowledge that is inactive.’ Success in life and career lies in education, learning and knowledge. Knowledge need not be confined to books only and is required to be used when the need for them arises. Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge – all the three are equally important for positive thinking and for taking a wise action.

Initiative should come from within – The problem can not be solved a handful of people in the realm of authority. Total dependence on government for education and employment is neither desirable nor the solution. Government is not a provider, but a facilitator. People must not keep on waiting for the government to do everything. Government’s job is to create and provide enough resources for education and training as well as employment.

However, Initiative should come from within. Youth should strive hard for improving their qualifications to improve their employment prospects. They should take advantages of the opportunities provided by the government and move forward without crutches. People themselves must try to empower themselves. Each individual has to create one’s own identity. A rigorous training from ground level is necessary for understanding various aspects of one’s profession. Respecting dignity of labour and accountability is a must for success. Qualities like efficiency at work, punctuality, effective communication both vertical and horizontal are required.

Also, Mindset of industrial era needs to be changed from exercising control over workers to treat them as great assets on an institution. They should be given respect and empower them with knowledge, skills and creativity.

During recent global financial and economic turmoil, India has already shown that it has talent for creativity in the face of adversity. It has the capacity to emerge without much difficulty from the crisis. India has everything a nation needs for development. Total labour-force is about half a million. There is no dearth of talent, intelligence, quality or knowledge in any given area. There is tremendous amount of skilled and unskilled manpower, all kinds of raw materials, a good legal system, a huge market and potential to export virtually everything, provided the cost of its inputs are kept at international levels. India is the 11th largest economy in the world and is 4th largest purchasing power parity.

Winding up

Training has always been a large-scale activity in India. However, the present system of training has failed to produce much needed skilled workforce for various jobs/disciplines and instill in them relevant knowledge, skills and sense of responsibility. What the nation requires the most is matching/coping with the changing demands of the modern times by upgrading skills of urban and rural workforce through a sound system of education and training.

Also for solving its problem of unemployment or under-employment in the present times of neck to neck competition, the best way is to continuously upgrade knowledge andcreate a larger base of skilled and trained manpower.  As a nation, India also needs to tap its abundance of talents and its wealth of entrepreneurial talent, which thrives outside the country in alien countries. There is a need to bring together India’s creativity in entrepreneurship and youthful dynamism.

May 25, 2011 - Posted by | General |

1 Comment »

  1. correctly put. what an effort ! i am trying to start a graduate finishing school to partially help address in a local area and pray for ur valuable guidance

    Comment by varadraj prabhu | August 5, 2011 | Reply

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