Rural unemployment along with urban unemployment is termed as one among the serious problems in India, since it creates a ripple effect across the economy. Apart from the personal loss to individual and their family, it results in lower purchasing power (economically), consumption of goods and services will go down. These will lead to lower consumption of goods production. Lower production leads to lower contribution to revenue to country and it finally affect the economy of India.
Unemployment wasn’t widespread in rural areas, since most people were engaged in agriculture which helped them earn a living. Despite droughts, people continue to pursue agriculture. But with the advancement of technology through industrial civilization, textile mills and others sort of factories began to grow in India during British era. Though it led to mass migration of people to rural areas, drought like conditions and lack of income from agriculture created huge unemployment among rural youth.
Here are some of the major causes which have been responsible for the wide spread unemployment.
With the advancement of medical technology, several serious diseases were eliminated and life span expansion as indirectly raised the rural population. India near about two lakh people are added yearly to our existing population Such increase has adversely affected the unemployment situation largely in many ways. Primarily, the growth of the population directly added another large group to already expanding labour force, leading to the mismatch. Finally, the rapid population growth reduced the resources for capital formation for a particular project. For example, the government had to spend more on education, health, electricity, food, water etc. Thus, growth of population has created many hurdles.
Agriculture is the primary source of employment as most of the rural people are engaged directly as well as indirectly employed in agricultural operations. But, due to monsoon and climate change, agriculture in slowly becoming a seasonal activity. How ? During the sowing and harvesting period, people are fully employed and the period between the post-harvest and before the next sowing there isn’t any work Besides, Indian farmers continue to employ unscientific methods of agriculture. As a result, the agricultural yields are poor and wastage of land and water resources. With the poor production, leading less labour, more and more people are unemployed.
Apart from agriculture, village or cottage industries were other sources of employment. But with rapid industrialization, these industries were destroyed leading to large scale unemployment among the youth.
The Indian education system is poor in terms value addition. Apart from basic tools, none of the syllabus are worthless. The day-to-day education is very flawed and is confirmed within the four corners of the class room. Since it aims to acquire a certificate, they aren’t skilled or job oriented. Not just schooling, even university level education is not job oriented and they are just degree oriented. It is defective on the ground that is simpler than vocational. Experts from the field of education point out many diploma and certification lack even the basic criteria for even self-employment.
India lacks transportation facilities in rural areas, owing to this reason, the villagers who aren’t engaged in agricultural related activities continue to remain unemployed. Besides, they cannot travel to places where employment is available, they are confined within the limited boundary of the village or the nearest villages.
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employee Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) has generated more rural employment than any other government scheme or private initiative in the history of independent India. But the MGNREGA, has several flaws which are leading the fall the scheme. It has created an imbalance among the landless poor and their employers (agricultural land owners, labour contractors, landlords), making it favourable towards the latter. Besides, it has raised rural incomes, it has decreased distress migration to the cities. But it indirectly reduced the numbers of the reserve army of labour, and also increased the cost of labour.
Offering solutions to rural unemployment in India must have three dimensional approach. Firstly, adequate changes must be brought in the form of quality of Indian education. Indian government should select a committee which includes value and skill based syllabus in schools and universities. Because almost all the syllabus taught is of no use to the industrial needs. Indian government should encourage and develop the agriculture based industries in rural areas by offering incentives, interest free loan for seasonal unemployment people. Besides, more assistance must be offered to self- employed people in the area of cottage and small scale industries etc. These persons should be helped financially, providing raw materials and technical training.