41 lakh youth may lose jobs in 3 months; India’s economic woes don’t seem to be ending soon
As India struggles through the coronavirus pandemic-led economic downturn, the road ahead may have more bumps as lakhs of jobs may get washed away in the next three months. In India, 41 lakh youth may lose jobs due to the ongoing disruptions in business activities, according to ILO-ADB report. As containment measures have continued to be in force after three months in many countries, despite some relaxation, the short containment results are best viewed as a lower bound of job losses, the report added. In the 6-month scenario, job losses for youth may equal 61 lakh in India, it further said. The highest impact is expected to be seen in the construction and farm sectors.
The findings of the report showed that youth (15–24 years) will be hit harder than adults (25 and older) in the immediate crisis. It said that in India, two-thirds of firm-level apprenticeships and three-quarters of internships were completely interrupted during the pandemic. The ILO and ADB have suggested that government to adopt urgent, large-scale and targeted measures to generate jobs for the youth, keep education and training on track, and to minimise future scarring of young people.
“The pre-crisis challenges for youth are now amplified since COVID-19 hit. Without sufficient attention, our fear is that this risk is creating a ‘lockdown generation’ that could feel the weight of this crisis for many years to come,” said Sara Elder, lead author of the report and head of the ILO Regional Economic and Social Analysis unit.
The report cited three ways in which young people are affected in the current crisis. These are job disruptions in the form of reduced working hours and earnings, and job losses for both paid workers and the self-employed; disruptions in their education and training; and difficulties in transitioning from school to work, and moving between jobs in a recession.
In a further recommendation to the government, the report suggested balancing the inclusion of the youth in wider labour market and economic recovery measures, with youth-targeted interventions to maximise effective allocation of resources.
“Prioritizing youth employment in the COVID-19 recovery process will improve Asia and the Pacific’s future prospects for inclusive and sustainable growth, demographic transition and social stability,” said Chris Morris, head of the ADB NGO and civil society center and leading ADB’s Youth for Asia initiative. Meanwhile, after agriculture and construction, textiles, inland transportation, hotels & restaurants and retail trade are expected to see most number of job losses.