Tuesday, 25 October 2016

The Malady of Unemployment - Daoharu Basumatary, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics





Why is there extensive unemployment, absence of socio-economic development, pitiful living standards and over all lack of opportunities in our society? These are some of the questions we may have as concerned citizens. We may even be aware of the many contributing factors to these problems, such as corruption, overloaded government sectors, heavy reliance on government, etc. Yet, apart from these social and political factors we also need to understand the economic factors contributing to the existing socio-political problems that hamper economic growth and development in our society: absence of production, inefficient use of resources, unused resources, among many others.

                                             The Malady of Unemployment


The term ‘employment’ is understood in different ways by different people. However, for a layman, it is understood synonymously with having paid jobs; whether in private or public sector. Employment is the ultimate goal of education. In today’s world of cut-throat competition, getting employed in a job which meets expectations is a Herculean task. One of the burning issues in today’s world is the problem of unemployment. Every country has this problem, even powerful ones like the United States of America is not an exception. Employment is required and sought after because it brings income and financial security to the people. A person who is unemployed is very likely to have a hard time fulfilling obligations to his family. Development ceases. Unemployment is like an unwanted guest; every country to do away with it. The modern age brought in advances in medicine and science, but at what cost? Now the rising population stands as an obstacle to fighting unemployment.

It is generally observed that populous countries of the world are the ones which have high unemployment levels, however, there are exceptions to it. Japan, which has a high density of population, does not have a serious unemployment problem. Countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, etc. have high growth rates of population and correspondingly high unemployment rates. Unemployment is always the cause of many social and economic problems.

The term employment if understood from the point of view of economics will mean using available resources or putting the available resource in use. As such, the concept of employment envelopes within it, and terms like self-employment, employer-employee, employment of resource, and the likes fall under these dynamics. Employment levels as such determine the level of income and income disparity among and within nations.  The way the developed nations of the world employ available resources is one of the important reasons as to why their income levels are high, and why job opportunities are also higher when compared to under-developed countries. They have the resources, and most importantly, the technology to utilize it in a productive way. For them, the different sectors of the economy are so connected that they are able to generate employment and income.

To take an example, the farmers and cultivators of developed nations use machineries and equipment which have been manufactured in factories within their own country. This way both the agricultural and industrial sectors move on and progress together, one supporting the other. In under-developed countries, there is very little or no connection between the various sectors of the economy. It has been observed that unemployment levels are relatively higher and income levels are comparatively lower in these countries.

India is one of the fastest growing economies of the world but this statement skips many of the facts. Some states are way ahead of the others when it comes to employment and income equality. In this regard, the North-Eastern part of the country is lacking far behind. States like Punjab, Haryana, West Bengal, and Maharashtra have made considerable stride in various sectors owing to strategic planning and maximizing the utilization of available capital. Hence, it is no surprise that their employment levels and income levels are much better compared to those of the North-Eastern parts of India.

Diamonds in our backyard, yet a trip across seven seas in search of fortune; that’s what comes to mind when one considers the plight of the North-Eastern states. Our resources, in the form of agricultural output, land, crude oil, tourism, textiles, food processing, etc. are lying idle. Yes, there are many roadblocks to fully utilizing these but we need to understand that this is one of the reasons as to why the unemployment problem is so acute over here. Since production involves utilization of resources and of course, since most of us here are satisfied with dead-end government jobs, we have a long way to go. We are left dependent on other states where production does take place. Is then meticulously planned entrepreneurship an answer to unemployment?

What strikes me is had the available resources been utilized efficiently, the problem of unemployment could have been under control. The irony is such that our region is endowed with many natural resources but we are yet to actually start using it to our advantage. Perhaps someday in the future this would be a possibility. To some extent, the cloud of political instability which looms over this region is also to blame.

Resources by themselves are like caged up birds who could have soared the azure skies otherwise. The system and situation that is prevailing in this part of the country is more or less like that of caged birds. A land which could be extremely prosperous and soar, is not, and dealing with the ever rising rates of unemployment. Is our government doing enough? And most importantly, are we aware of the various provisions made by the government?

It is an established fact that idle resources don’t generate any employment or income by itself. They have to be employed in an efficient manner. On the other hand, we cannot argue of simply exploiting the available resources and employing them. Rather, we should think of optimal utilization of our resources. We do have many entrepreneurs coming up in our state, which is a welcome change. Employment opportunities are thus being created with the initiative of these few radicals. We need more of these radicals. In these small steps lie the prediction of the coming of better days. Nagaland does have a bright future; the only question is how long is it going to take for that ‘future’ to become a ‘present’?  We have to look beyond our petty issues and understand ‘the diamonds’ are in our backyard.

Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognized Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr. Hewasa Lorin, Anjan Behera, Dr. Salikyu Sangtam, Nivibo Yiki, and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.

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