NEW DELHI: In 2016, just 2.3 lakh jobs were added in eight key non-farm sectors of the economy ranging, according to a recent government report.

These eight sectors are manufacturing, construction, trade, transport, accommodation & restaurants, IT/BPO, education and health. All together, they employ over 2 crore workers. So, the addition of new jobs amounts to a mere 1.1% of the total.

Remember Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, and all his associates in the government had promised the people of India that tackling unemployment by creating jobs will be the biggest priority of their government. The government had promised that ‘Make in India’, ‘Skill India’, ‘Startup India’ and others would resolve the joblessness that haunts India and set the country on the path of prosperity. PM Modi had in fact justified his kowtowing to foreign investors by saying that their investments will create jobs.

Reports from the rural job guarantee scheme (MGNREGS) indicate that unemployment continues unabated and in fact it seems to be worsening. In Modi’s first year as Prime Minister, 4.65 crore households demanded work in the scheme. In 2015-16, this number had increased 15% to reach 5.35 crore. In 2016-17, it further increased by 6% to reach a staggering 5.69 crore households in search of work.

Even as the demand for low paying work in MGNREGS increases, 10-11% of applicants are not given jobs. According to government data, last year nearly 58 lakh households that wanted work under the scheme were turned back.

In the current financial year 2017-18, only 35 days have passed but the number of households demanding work has already crossed 1.38 crore. This is despite the fact that last year’s monsoon was much better than the preceding years.

As per the latest report, increase in new jobs is not only very slow but also that it is highly imbalanced. For instance almost half of the 2.1 lakh new jobs added are in two sectors – education and health which together added 1.1 lakh new jobs.

Growth in manufacturing jobs is recorded as being just short of 1%, and that too because of a sudden increase in the last quarter of 2016. This in itself is highly suspect because it was in this period that the disastrous demonetization was imposed on the country, with consequent job losses. Manufacturing sector is the backbone of the non-farm economy and employs nearly half of the workers in the selected eight sectors. A mere one percent growth is virtually nothing for this massive sector.

Several recent reports by industry analysts indicate that IT, telecom and the banking and financial services sectors which have been the main job creators in recent years are now getting rid of their workforce. One report says that these three sectors will throw out at least 10 lakh employees in the coming 12-18 months because of a slowing economy, mergers among telecom giants and automation. Many of the startups are folding up or demanding more concessions to survive.

Over 30% of youth aged 15-29 in India are not in employment, education or training (NEETs), according to a recent report by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an organization of advanced capitalist countries. This is more than double the OECD average of 14.6% and almost three times that of China (11.2%).