India faces the serious challenge of finding jobs for a growing population over the next 35 years; its economy could absorb less than half the new entrants into the labour market between 1991 and 2013, the latest Asia-Pacific Human Development Report said.
The report, released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Wednesday, said that between 1991 and 2013, the size of the “working age” population increased by 300 million.
Of this, the Indian economy could employ only 140 million, suggesting a limited capacity to generate jobs. The report estimated that by 2050, at least 280 million more people will enter the job market in India. According to labour ministry data, around 1 million people enter the workforce in India every month.
Many others simply choose to study more. At any given point, around 30 million students are pursuing higher education in India.
UNDP said countries such as India, with large low-income populations, big agriculture sectors and high rural-to-urban migration, could focus on specific industries, particularly in manufacturing, to create jobs. “This switch has been key to high job growth in China, leading to a significant decline in poverty. In India, in contrast, the manufacturing base is still small, contributing to only 15% of GDP and 11% of employment,” the report said.