Joblessness woes fade away in rural India; unemployment falls to below pre-pandemic levels

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September 21, 2020 5:46 PM

The latest figure shows that the joblessness in the rural areas is now lower than the pre-pandemic levels.

unemployment rate, joblessness, jobs, rural India, urban IndiaDuring the nationwide lockdown, 1.04 crore migrant workers returned to their home states.

The unemployment rate in rural India significantly fell to 5.21 per cent in the last week, according to CMIE’s weekly employment data. The latest figure shows that the joblessness in the rural areas is now lower than the pre-pandemic levels. Though the rising number of jobs plays a major role in reducing unemployment, the exit of workers from the labour market also contributes in cutting the unemployment numbers, as workers who do not want jobs are not treated as unemployed. However, amid the large scale movement of migrant workers towards villages, the government has rolled out various schemes to help them earn livelihoods in the hinterland.

During the nationwide lockdown, 1.04 crore migrant workers returned to their home states, Santosh Kumar Gangwar, MoS, Ministry of Labour and Employment, said in a reply to a question in Lok Sabha. Further, the modifications in MGNREGA and the launch of PM Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan helped in generating jobs in the rural areas.

“To boost employment and livelihood opportunities for migrant workers returning to villages, the government has launched Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan on 20 June 2020. Abhiyaan focuses on developing rural infrastructure and providing modern facilities like the internet in the villages,” Santosh Kumar Gangwar added. The total employment generated under the Abhiyaan is 26,34,23,281 mandays with an expenditure of Rs 22,761 crore, as on 8 September 2020. The bumper farm production, on the other hand, has also helped to absorb the workforce in farm activity.

Meanwhile, as the unemployment woes in rural areas fade away, the urban areas are still struggling with the rising joblessness. The unemployment rate in urban India stood at a 3-week high of 8.83 per cent in the week ending 20 September 2020. Loss in salaried jobs, especially the white-collared jobs, mostly hurt urban jobs. However, the sharp drop in unemployment figures in rural India significantly lowered the overall unemployment rate of the country to 6.35 per cent in the week.

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