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India Exclusion Report 2016 paints a bleak picture of jobs, equality, agriculture

Even as the Indian economy grew, the inequality between the rich and the poor too has widened with drastic fall in jobs and increase in number of landless farmers, the India Exclusion Report 2016 says.

May 12, 2017 / 08:07 PM IST
India Economy

India Economy


Even as the Indian economy grew, the inequality between the rich and the poor, too, has widened with a drastic fall in jobs and increase in number of landless farmers, says the India Exclusion Report 2016.

Here are some of the highlights from the report:

Jobs in India

Job creation – which was one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election promises – fell to 1.35 lakh new jobs in 2015. “Yet more than half-way through his (Modi’s) tenure, there are almost no jobs available. Job creation has fallen to levels even below those that the preceding UPA governments plunged to,” the report says.

Coen Kompier in the India Exclusion Report 2013-14 highlighted that ‘very few jobs have been added, mostly of low quality, whereas employment opportunities in public enterprises, the formal private sector, and agriculture actually declined’.

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The report further states that from 1999-2000 to 2009-2010, employment growth was hardly 1.5 percent. This is when India’s economy grew 7.52 percent per annum.

“Only 2.7 million jobs were added in the period during 2004–10, compared to over 60 million during the previous five-year period,” it added.

Crisis in Agriculture

For a sector that employees 55 percent of the population, the government investment is hardly 4 percent. "As a result of which India’s food producers constitute its largest ranks of the hungry and malnourished," says the report.

Between 2001 and 2011, nine million farmers were pushed out of agriculture due to a rise in urban migration from 16.5 percent in 1971 to 21.1 percent in 2011.

In the past 20 years till 2014, more than 3 lakh farmers have committed suicide in the country, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.

Many who are expelled from agriculture end up doing labour-level jobs,

which pushed them further into chronic poverty.

Rich & Poor

Since liberalization, while the country grew three-fold in the first four decades since Independence, rate of poverty fell only marginally to 0.65 percent between 1990 and 2005 from 0.94 percent between 1981-1990.

The economic growth also led to a 12-fold increase in wealth for the richest 10 percent since 2000. However, for the poorest 10 percent, income increased just three-fold leading to low levels of job creation.

Weaker Class

Disadvantaged groups in India – Dalits, tribals, elderly, disabled – continue to be excluded from four key basic public goods like pensions, digital access, land, labour & resources and legal justice.

With the Modi government making public entitlements digital and pushing for digital payments after demonetisation, the report finds that the poor and illiterate, especially in rural areas, are the ones facing the roughest time.

On pensions, the report says only a little over one-third of older persons get some form of pension. Less than 15 percent of labour force has some social security.

Of the weaker classes, Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims are the worst-hit.

Digital Push

Even with the Modi government’s digital push, many people – especially in rural areas – are facing hard times.

“The most formidable hurdle in digital inclusion is the inability of Indians to afford data plans. The State of Connectivity Report, 2015, by internet.org stated that four of five Indians could afford internet if data costs fell by 66 percent, but Indian telecom operators already claim to run data services at an 11 percent loss, making cost-cutting difficult. The statistics show that a data plan, currently priced at Rs 100 should not cost more than Rs 34, if India has to make internet affordable for 80 percent of its population,” says the report.

The report further says: “almost 1.063 billion Indians were offline even though India ranks among the top five nations in terms of the total number of Internet users”. It ranks poverty and geographical location as the two

Even the Digital India – which aimed to cover 1,00,200 panchayats under Phase 1 by March 2014 – added only 48,199 panchayats by April 2016.
first published: May 12, 2017 08:07 pm

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