At a time when leading international companies are going in for major job cuts, there is good news for India’s unemployed rural youth.
The Rural Development Ministry has identified several rapidly growing sectors where about 50 lakh youth living below the poverty line could be absorbed in the 11th Plan, during which the economy is expected to achieve the targeted growth of 9 per cent.
There are 30 crore people living below the poverty line in India. Of them, 22 crore are from rural areas. The proportion of those living under the poverty line in India is comparable to the entire population of the United States.
According to conservative estimates prepared by the Planning Commission, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Confederation of Indian Industry, 34.60 lakh rural youth are expected to be absorbed in 14 different sub-sectors — including modern agriculture, textile, leather and IT-enabled services. The total manpower requirement in these sectors is 3.27 crore.
Out of these sub-sectors, construction has the potential of providing employment to about 3.8 lakh rural youth. The services sector — including tourism, the hotel industry, transport and communication — and the health sector are expected to generate employment for about 9.5 lakh wage earners from families.
“There is a massive shortage of manpower in leather industry. We urgently require two lakh skilled workers and the requirement will go up to one million in the next one year,” Mukhtarul Amin, chairman, Council for Leather Exports, told HT.
Tamil Nadu-based Tirupur Exporters president A. Saktivel said the garment sector in the country is facing a shortage of five lakh workers, which is expected to touch 8 lakh in one year. “There is a huge opportunity for youth living below the poverty line in the apparel sector. We immediately require 50,000 people,” he said.
Rural Development Secretary Rita Sharma told HT the ministry has launched a skill development and placement projects to address unemployment in rural areas by appropriating opportunities in labour intensive sectors, which are on high growth trajectory.
The ministry has roped in IL&FS, an infrastructure development and financial institution, and Dr Reddy's Foundation, a corporate social responsibility arm of Dr Reddy's Labs, to implement these projects. “We have already tested pilots programmes with these agencies. About 40,000 youth living below the poverty line have been trained and absorbed in different sectors. The ministry bears the cost for training, boarding and lodging,” added Sharma.
The RD Ministry has made it mandatory for these agencies to train these youth in such a way that 75 per cent of them get absorbed in the industry. RC Reddy of IL&FS said his organization would train and provide jobs to about five lakh youth living below the poverty line in the next five years.