Youth Unemployment: A Serious Concern of Orissa

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Not only our future economic soundness but the very soundness of our democratic institutions depends on the determination of our government to give employment to idle men.- Franklin D. Roosevelt

Whenever we are talking about economic development, we cannot ignore young generation. Youth have been recognized as “the most vital section of the community”. Among the other problems, the youths of Orissa has been facing the unemployment problem. Life for a unemployed youth is very miserable in all aspects. They are in tremendous pressure from all sides. The question ‘what are you doing?’ without understanding the ground reality of employment opportunity questions the usefulness of his life. The problem lies with the high expectation of the family member and the society, who always nag him without knowing the mental tensions of the youth concerned and the situation around him. So the educated youth rushes after tuition for his livelihood forgetting almost all-important aspects of his life and getting less chance to think for the society and for himself too. Quite appropriately, the problem of youth unemployment has been recognized as an aspect of national unemployment prob!

lem. Educated youths have no stable and durable employment. An unemployed youth takes a long time to find work and secures it at an inadequate remuneration since job seekers far outnumber the available opportunities.

An Issue of Concern

Before we confine our self in Orissa, let us put some light on global figures. According to the report on Global Employment Trends for Youth 2004 by the International Labour Organisation, (ILO) Geneva, there are 184 million unemployed people around the world, and among them, 47 per cent are young persons. Around 88 million young people between the ages of 18-24 are unemployed worldwide. India accounts for a major chunk of Asia’s unemployed. By 2001, there were 212 million young people in India, but only 23.6 percent could be absorbed in the labour force. Simultaneously there’s been a marked decrease in the number of jobs on offer from the organized sector (less than 10 percent). As a result, the emphasis of job creation has shifted to the informal sector. As far as Orissa is concerned, growing educated unemployed youth is one of the burning issues of Orissa. According to 2001 census, 38.79% of total population, which accounts 142.76 lakh are total workers in Orissa. Out of !

the total number of workers, main workers account for 67.2%. The main workers comprise of agricultural labourers (21.9%), cultivators (35.8%), household industries workers (4.2%) and other workers (38.1%). When we calculate the unemployment figure in term of male and female population, 52.5% of the male population and 24.7 percent of female population are workers.

The total unemployment at the beginning of 2004-2005 was 9.97 lakhs. During the year, the additional labour force was 1.87 lakh and the employment generation of 1.94 lakh. So the unemployment expected by the end of the 2004-2005 will be of the order of 9.90 lakh. But the government has decided to set a target of providing employment opportunity to 3.19 lakh youths in the current fiscal. As per the Live Register maintained by employment exchanges in the State, there are 6.16 lakh applications from individuals categorised as ‘educated’. Only 2,239 were placed in jobs in 2002-03. This is only the tip of the iceberg because not all job-seekers register with these exchanges. It is only in the case of the educated unemployed who make the effort to get themselves registered at employment exchanges that a reliable figure of unemployment can be reached. What about school or college dropouts who have never heard of employment exchanges or who are not eligible for any government job?

In order to tackle the problem of unemployment, the Orissa Government attempted to address this problem in its Tenth Plan (2002-07) through self-employment schemes for around 1 crore people living below the poverty line. However, in 2002-03, only 1.33 lakh were employed on daily wages. In 2003-04, this number rose slightly to 1.68 lakh and expected employment generation during 2004-05 is about 1.94 lakh person.

The Reality

We have a conception that education is supposed to reduce the chances of unemployment. The fact is that the youth with higher degrees tends to be more choosy about available jobs unlike their illiterate counterpart who are staying in the shadow poverty, ready to do whatever work available. The educated unemployed obviously come from comparatively better-off families, which can afford to support them until they find a job matching their status and living standard. Statistics do not, and cannot, tell the whole truth about unemployment. In case of village youth, the family supports after university pass-out is in terms of materials and not in form of money. After their study, they are generally becoming full time tuition masters, which make them sufficient for short term but in long run it rarely helps them to build a sound career. He has to spend almost six to seven hours a day in tuition. As a result he got very less time to think up his own matter and own career. Out of fort!

y respondents, almost all educated rural youths depend upon tuition and only very few fellows are getting money from his house and that is based on the condition of only another six months only.

Reduction Strategy

Though, Orissa has so much of natural resources and a large pool of labor, still we are unable to invite potential entrepreneurs. At the same time, the state ranks poorly on all socio-economic indicators, with nearly half its population living below the poverty line. Education, healthcare, infrastructure development, agriculture and industrial growth are all in poor shape, while infant and maternal mortality rates are high. The government needs to do a whole lot of brainstorm on tools of reduction of unemployment (through job and self-employment) and creation of job (through entrepreneurship). The government started a scheme ‘Swarnajayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY)’, which is sponsored by Government of India and the State with 75:25 funding to establish micro-enterprises and this scheme emphasises in Self Help Groups (SHG) i.e. on a combined approach.

In 2001, the government has implemented Sampoorna Gramin Rozgar Yojana (SGRY) on 75:25 funding between Government of India and the State, which focuses on additional wage employment generating schemes in rural areas and food security. State Government has set up Employment Mission to work on a missionary zeal for creating employment opportunities in Orissa. The mission is networking now with private colleges and placement agencies to locate more and more job opportunities. Orissa government had also decided to promote technical education at all levels. To meet the target, Government started training programme for rural youth in BPL families. And through Prime Minister Rojgar Yojana (PMRY), urban youth is getting job opportunities which is likely to reduce poverty in long term.

Keeping in view the growing unemployment problem, recently the government has decided to prepare a five-year perspective plan to provide sector-wise opportunities to the unemployed youths. The decision to this effect was taken at the steering committee meeting of the Employment Mission presided over by development commissioner Ajit Kumar Tripathy at the State Secretariat in Bhubaneswar on November 16, 2005.

Besides that the steering committee meeting was decided to accord top priority in providing employment opportunity to the tribal youths in KBK districts and entrust the information technology and agriculture departments to a key role in creating opportunities for the youths. It was decided that IT kiosks would be set up on vacant government land in urban areas while the farm equipment would be made available at a subsidised rate to help rural youths. The committee is also decided to cultivate jatropha that can be used as bio-fuel, in these areas for which the Orissa Renewable Energy Development Agency (OREDA) would formulate a specific programme. The committee decided to request the banks to dispose of all pending applications with them under the Prime Minister’s Rojgar Yojana (PMRY).


Educated youth face a situation of isolation and pressure from the family, government, and from the locality, where they stay. Not only the government, but also every individual should concentrate on this burning issue. Unlike the Gujratis and Punjabis, Oriyas are always reluctant to start self-employment professions. Now time has come to use our talent, start something not for our self but for our community by which we can give opportunity to our youths. At the same time the government should take some initiative to help the young generation to come forward from the sphere of untouchables and create a sphere, which appreciate by the mankind. The State Government should also vigorously pursue industrialization and big companies and set up industries, which will have a sustainable impact on the development of the State from a backward image to a modern image. The say that youth is the future of the society is no more a slogan of the day as an unemployed youth is behaved like !

untouchables in all sphere of life

Devi Prasad Mahapatra,

Email:[email protected]




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