New Delhi: India’s labour ministry plans to revive and modernize nearly 1,000 state-run employment exchanges on the lines of job websites and could partner with private firms to do so.
“We plan to upgrade the exchanges along the lines of Naukri.com and Monster Inc., so that candidates can access information about job vacancies through the new web portal,” said a labour ministry official, who did not want to be identified.
The government, the official said, is also not averse to the idea of a public-private partnership in marketing job opportunities. At least one such website has approached the ministry for a possible tie-up, the official said, without naming the firm.
New York-based Monster Worldwide Inc. operates the world’s most used jobs website and has a subsidiary in India. Jobs site Naukri.com is owned by New Delhi-based Info Edge (India) Ltd. The upgrade plan, which awaits cabinet approval, will involve establishing a website that would link all 968 government-operated employment exchanges through a computer server. The ministry is likely to spend about Rs1 crore this year to computerize the exchange network.
“What we want to do is track emerging occupations on a day-to-day basis for timely use of the data,” said the official. There are currently 2,945 classified occupations in India’s labour market, excluding the defence forces.
Though millions of job seekers rely on employment exchanges for information on vacancies, the number of job announcements has sharply declined over the years, as various government departments have increasingly been contracting out the work to private agencies.
Ministry data show that there are 46 million job seekers registered in its employment exchanges as of October, looking for positions ranging from a vehicle driver to a teacher. But in the first 10 months of last year, the number of candidates who found jobs stood at just 270,000.
“The employment exchanges have lost much of their utility, but we are now trying to revive them,” said the official. “We stand a chance because even some of the bigger websites don’t have more than 900,000 candidates. We can announce job vacancies to a much larger audience.”
While the number of registered job seekers is down from 72 million in 2006 and 54 million in 2007, the number of vacancies notified by government departments have risen by 90,000 jobs during this period, from 170,000 to 260,000. The 2008 figure for vacancies is not available.
Unemployment in India has grown from 7.47 million in 1993-94 to 10.84 million in 2004-2005, according to the National Sample Survey Organization, whereas the number of employed persons have risen from 374 million to 459 million in the same period.