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Indians, Especially Women, Are Quitting the Workforce

Indians, Especially Women, Are Quitting the Workforce

The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), a private research firm, has released data about the workforce trends in India. According to the report, millions of Indians have quit the workforce altogether. The top reasons being very few employment opportunities and flexibility. 

The data, recorded between 2017 and 2022, shows that the overall participation rate has dropped from 46 to 40%. Of the 900 million eligible Indians aged between 15 and 64, more than half are not even looking for jobs. Among women, it gets worse. About 21 million women have quit the workforce within this period, with only 9% employed or actively looking for jobs. Most women are coerced into marrying and starting a family soon as they become of legal age. Now that the government has increased the minimum age for marriage to 21, this might change the scenario in urban India at least. However, other obvious reasons like unreasonable work timings and maternal leaves can also affect their participation. Companies are less accommodating when they can simply hire a male employee confronted with none of these problems.

While the pandemic had a significant impact on the employment trends and an outdated education system, a pre-pandemic survey — The Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) 2020 stated that only 18.6% of workinqg-age women in India participated in the labour force, three times lower than men.

The CMIE report also stated that many women are leaving the workforce because of safety or time-consuming responsibilities at home. 

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken about prioritizing jobs, saying India will enter its “Amrit Kaal,” or a golden era of growth in the next 25 years. However, the data says otherwise. To keep up its pace in the global economy, India needs to create at least 90 million non-agricultural jobs by 2030, according to a 2020 report by McKinsey Global Institute. This means an annual GDP growth of 8% to 8.5%.

 

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