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India budget expected to address high youth unemployment

Solutions to address the issue of unemployment in India are expected to be shared at the Narendra Modi-led government's first budget on July 10. According to government data, almost a quarter of the young are jobless.

NEW DELHI: Almost a quarter of India's young are jobless, according to figures released by the Indian government, based on tabulated data from 2011.

Solutions to address the issue of unemployment are expected to be shared at the Narendra Modi-led government's first budget on July 10.

Despite a healthy economic growth of about 8 per cent per annum in the past decade, about 47 million young Indians, or 20 per cent of the country's 15 to 24 year olds, were without jobs in 2011.

Many blamed the collapse of the manufacturing sector for this staggering number.

Despite being skilled, millions of young adults could not secure paid work due to a shrinking job market.

Although the majority are educated, unemployed young males, almost 20 million are young women. Many are educated, but choose not to work because of family pressure to stay home.

George Mathew, chairman of Institute of Social Sciences, said: "The main reason is private sector, public sector and also opportunities for entrepreneurship from the younger people were lagging behind."

Public expectations will be high when Modi's government presents its first budget next week.

Inflation control and job creation are said to be top on the wish lists of industry experts.

Economists said that if the Indian government hopes to create jobs for the millions of unemployed young, it will have to modernise sluggish or small-scale industries, and further open the economy to foreign direct investments.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, general secretary of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, said: "The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government has pledged to provide employment to youth and we are working in this direction.

“But this malaise is the legacy of the Congress-led government. We will ensure that there is employment in every nook and corner of the country."

Unemployment across India has brewed discontent and destructive politics, in some cases, leading to rioting and violent behaviour.

Educated and jobless, the young are finding their degrees worthless.

They said they are unemployable now because of a decade of misgovernance and a lack of job creation by the former Congress-led government.

Modi had promised to build 100 new cities, a high-speed train network, and skill development for the young. His hope is to show that with scale, speed and skills, India can compete with China.

According to the International Monetary Fund, India's young adults can contribute as much as two percentage points each year to its per capita growth for the next 20 years.  

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