Notwithstanding marginal growth in employment, there were as many as 28 million unemployed persons in the country in 2009-10, according to the Economic Survey 2012-13.

“Despite negligible employment growth, the unemployment rate as per the current daily status (CDS method) fell from 8.2 per cent in 2004-5 to 6.6 per cent in 2009-10,” the Survey tabled in the Lok Sabha today by Finance Minister P Chidambaram said.

The total number of unemployed mandays declined by 6.5 million persons, from around 34.5 million in 2004-05 to 28 million in 2009-10.

“The fall in unemployment despite marginal growth in employment in 2009-10 could be due to the demographic dividend, as an increasing proportion of the young population opts for education rather than participating in the labour market,” the survey said.

Accordingly, there has been a significant rise in growth in enrolment of students in higher education.

Giving details, the survey said, there has been a significant rise in enrolment of students in higher education from 49.25 lakh in 1990-91 to 169.75 lakh in 2010-11.

Similarly, gross enrolment ratio in Class I—VIII has risen from 93.54 in 2004-5 to 104.3 in 2010-11.

“Enactment of the Right to Education and programmes like the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan could also have contributed to this,” the survey said.

An inter-State comparison shows that the unemployment rate per 1,000 people was the lowest in Gujarat where just 18 persons were unemployed and the highest in Kerala and Bihar where as many as 73 were unemployed in urban areas.

However, in rural areas, unemployment rate was lowest in Rajasthan where just 4 persons were unemployed and again highest in Kerala where 75 people were unemployed.

“The low unemployment rate in rural areas in Rajasthan may partly be due to high absorption of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) funds in the State,” the survey said, adding that “Kerala, which has performed well in terms of most indicators, performed less well in terms of unemployment (both rural and urban).”

This may be due to the higher level of education in Kerala resulting in people not opting for manual jobs as observed by some studies.

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