Joblessness takes centre stage amid Parliament security breach: What data says about India’s unemployment

Parliament security breach: Reports reveal that the accused were at Parliament to protest against issues such as unemployment. As the issue of joblessness emerges as one of the suspected motives in the matter, here's a look at India's unemployment numbers and the magnitude of the menace.

Akriti Anand
Updated14 Dec 2023
Amol Shinde, one of the two people arrested for protesting outside the Parliament House during the Winter session, after being produced at the Patiala House Court, in New Delhi, on Thursday.
Amol Shinde, one of the two people arrested for protesting outside the Parliament House during the Winter session, after being produced at the Patiala House Court, in New Delhi, on Thursday.(PTI)

As the security breach at Parliament gathered attention this week, the incident also turned the spotlight on the issue of unemployment in India. According to reports, six people accused of the security breach were at Parliament to protest against several issues, including unemployment. 

Five of the six accused told police they were upset with issues like unemployment, farmers' troubles and Manipur violence, NDTV quoted sources as saying. As more information and developments in the case come to light, media reports suggested that at least four of the six accused were unemployed at the time of the incident.

The mother of one of the accused, Neelam, said her daughter was upset over not getting a job. "She used to tell me that she is so highly qualified but has no job," Neelam's mother said. Meanwhile, her brother said Neelam had "qualified BA, MA, B.Ed, M.Ed, CTET, M.Phil and NET".

Another accused Amol Shinde, who reportedly wanted to join the Army or the police, "seemed frustrated at being jobless," his father was quoted by the Times of India as saying. The report added that "engineer" Manoranjan, the third accused in the case, was "unemployed by choice".

Meanwhile, the fourth person, Sagar Sharma is said to be an e-rickshaw driver. He was driving a rented e-rickshaw for the past three months, the TOI report said. It added that Sharma completed his higher secondary education in Lucknow, "but financial constraints prevented further studies".

How do India's unemployment numbers look like?

In a written reply in the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session 2023 on December 11, Minister of State for Labour and Employment Rameswar Teli shared data to substantiate that "the unemployment rate in the country has a declining trend over the year."

The minister cited the "latest available" Annual Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) to inform that "the estimated Unemployment Rate (UR) on usual status for persons of age 15 years and above in the country during the period 2018-19 to 2022-23 are as follows:"

 

YearsUnemployment Rate (in %)
2018-195.8
2019-204.8
2020-214.2
2021-224.1
2022-233.2

(Source: PLFS, MoSPI)

Education-level-wise unemployment: The unemployment level among graduates was the highest in 2022-23 at 13.4 per cent during 2022-23, as per the data shared by the minister and sourced from PLFS and the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation (MoSP). 

Education level
Unemployment Rate (in %)
Not Literate0.2
Literate & upto Primary0.5
Middle1.7
Secondary2.2
Higher Secondary4.6
Diploma/Certificate course12.2
Graduate13.4
Post Graduate & above12.1
All3.2

(Source: PLFS, MoSPI)

Meanwhile, as per the PLFS (2022-23) report, 55.8 per cent of graduates (aged 15 and above) in India were employed during July 2022–June 2023.

Employment rate as per different level of education

 

Employment-To-Population Ratio or Worker Population Ratio (WPR): Worker-Population ratio is defined as the percentage of employed persons in the population.

According to the data, the WPR has been increasing over time, with the tally in 2022-2023 being recorded at 56 per cent, up from 52.9 per cent in 2021-22 and 52.6 per cent in 2020-21, among people aged 15 years and above.

 

YearsWPR (in %)
2018-1947.3
2019-2050.9
2020-2152.6
2021-2252.9
2022-2356

Employment among youth: While the year-on-year data shows an upward trend, only 40.1 per cent of the population in the age group 15-29 years (youth) in India were employed between July 2022 and June 2023, according to the PLFS data.

As per the PLFS report, the youth (age 15-29 years) unemployment rate declined from 17.8 per cent in 2017-18 to 10 per cent in 2022-23, while the youth’s labour force participation rate (LFPR) rose from 38.2 per cent to 44.5 per cent over this period.

Gender-wise unemployment: In another reply in the Rajya Sabha on December 14, Teli informed that the estimated unemployment rate for women of age 15 years and above declined over three years. It was 3.5 per cent during 2020-21, 3.3 per cent in 2021-22 and 2.9 per cent during 2022-23, the minister stated.

Perodic Labour Force Survey report

The unemployment rate among urban women (aged 15 and above) as compared to men was high at 7.5 per cent. However, combining the data for urban and rural women vs men, the unemployment rate among women (2.9 per cent) was low as compared to men (3.3 per cent).

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