The Coronavirus is the most common word you have been listening these days. This is the virus originated in the China and due to its contagious nature, the whole world is getting badly affected. The India is not exception to this. The first case of Covid patient reported in the month of January and after that the Government became alert in the month of march and put the initial lockdown of 21 days which eventually increased and continued till date. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) then issued several guidelines identifying measures to be taken by various authorities/ departments under the Central as well as the State Governments. These guidelines included the restriction on public gathering, social events, Business of Non-essential commodities and Every Business, projects, events which involved public gathering. Due to this, many businesses, employers, employees, workers, labours and eventually the youth has to suffer badly.
The unemployment rate of India is getting high every day. The Coronavirus has not only affected the people who were settled before Covid-19 but also the students who have recently graduated from the universities and not getting jobs due to covid-19.
In the meanwhile, the Haryana Government has announced to put a moratorium on new recruitments to The Government jobs for a year[i] which means that unemployment rates are only bound to increase in the coming days. This has become the matter of concern for the Government. The Government need to do something to resolve this problem, they need to generate the employment opportunity for the people at large. Short-term policy requirements were support to MSMEs, expansion of MGNREGA, job creation, cash transfers and social security while the long-term measures included need for building a stronger public health system, universalisation of social security and policies for welfare and rights of migrants.[ii]
IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON THE EMPLOYMENT
Job Loss is the most immediate severe impact of the Covid-19 crisis. The unemployment rate was increased to 23.5 % in the month of April-May from 7.2% in the month of January, due to lockdown.[iii] Though the Government has supported WFH (Work From Home) and advised the employers not to cut salary or terminate employees but it is not effective for every businesses. Some has to cut the salary and some has to terminate their employees on temporarily or permanent basis to be in existence.
The unemployment in India is not a new problem which was sprouted due to Covid-19 only. It is a serious problem, affecting India for decades. 8% of the more than 1.3 lakh suicides reported in India last year were due to unemployment, poverty and bankruptcy/indebtedness collectively. India reported one suicide every hour due to joblessness, poverty or bankruptcy in 2019[iv]. 42,480 farmers and daily wagers committed suicide in 2019. [v] These were reported in the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) reports for 2019 and it seems like this is going to reach new height this year.
A report by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy states that nearly five million salaried Indians have lost their jobs just in the month of July. A total of 18.9 million salaried jobs were lost during this lockdown phase. Out of the 18.9 million jobs, 17.7 million were lost in April and an additional 0.1 million in May.[vi] This is a huge number and a serious issue which must be put in light at the present time. Not only this but due to joblessness people can lead to stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges. They may start feeling loss of identity or sense of purpose, unappreciated, angry, scared and worried of how they’ll take care of themselves and their family. This become the reason of depression and anxiety, which eventually lead them to commit suicide.
An estimated 12.2 crore people have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic. [vii]Equally worrying, the Central Government had neither acknowledged the employment crisis nor did anything to address it in three subsequent budgets.[viii]
HOW TO OVERCOME THIS PROBLEM?
More than 65% of the total population in India is under 35 years of age and the problem of unemployment is directly related to the youth. So, this problem of unemployment is clearly hitting the huge number of the country’s population. This fact must be enough for the Government to look into this matter and do something to overcome this serious problem. These are some ways to deal with this issue-
- Provide Proper Market Condition– The Government should issue some guidelines to open a safe market for both the producers and consumers. The Philippines are working with local partners and communities to set up mobile markets so traders can safely keep their jobs. We can learn and adapt this for Indian market as well.
- Support Farmers– Growing food is the job of many people in India. The Government can support small scale farmers to get more efficient production out of their firms so that the market continues to run smoothly.
- Help Entrepreneurs– Entrepreneur is a person who organizes and operates a business(es) and take the financial risks to do so, this eventually create employment opportunity for the people at large. The Government can provide them proper equipments and financial help to grow their businesses.
- Take Care of Worker’s Right(s)– The Government should take care of the rights of workers and make sure that they get paid for their work and can access safe work and unemployment when they lose their jobs.
- Support People Who Lose Their Jobs– Massive job loss is the most severe impact of covid-19. The Government should financially sympathize these people for their loss due to the pandemic. The Government should create jobs for these people and provide food to people who need it.
Alakh N Sharma, Director, IHD during the conference on “Implications of the COVID-19 Crisis for Labour and Employment in India: Impact, Strategies, and Perspectives” organized by Institute for Human Development (IHD), International Labour Organization (ILO) and ISLE [ix]said –“The lessons from other countries suggest that active labour market policies including cash transfers and wage subsidy to small enterprises can be effective in mitigating the adverse impact of COVID 19 on livelihoods and employment of those worse affected in India”
These are some ways by which the Government can reduce the adverse impact of Coronavirus on employment to a greater extent.
Unemployment is the problem, which not only affecting an individual with talent and competent to do work but also hindering the growth of India. This lockdown has proved to be destructive from the economic point of view for the country. The Indian economy was expected to lose over ₹32,000 crore (US$4.5 billion) every day during the first 21-days of complete lockdown, which was declared following the coronavirus outbreak.[x] India had no choice but to shut the businesses following coronavirus outbreak. This non-function of businesses eventually leads to firing of employees, shutting down of factories, joblessness of the laboures and workers etc.
Now the government must take this matter seriously in order to keep India financially secure and for the benefit of its people. The Government should support farmers, entrepreneurs and give support to the people who adversely affected in this hard time. Now, we all have to be mentally prepared that the coming days are not going to be easy for the country as well as its people. We need to work hard to bring India’s economy back on track and for this, the Government has to create job opportunities for the people or to provide some training programs so that people themselves will be able to provide employment.
[x]“Covid-19 lockdown estimated to cost India $4.5 billion a day: Acuité Ratings”. Business Line. Image Credit
This Blog is authored by Mr. Ayush Mogre