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ILO’s India Employment Report 2024: India’s Employment Crisis

GS Paper 3


Syllabus: Indian Economy: Employment/Unemployment


Source: TH, ILO

 Context: ILO’s India Employment Report 2024 examines youth employment challenges and trends over two decades, drawing from various data sources

Key findings of the Report are:


Positive Findings:

  1. Women saw a rise in self-employment and unpaid family work.
  2. Labour productivity increased consistently alongside technological progress.
  3. Female labour market participation rates increased, especially in rural areas.
  4. There’s a gradual shift from agriculture to non-farm sectors in the workforce, however, the transition slowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Negative Findings:

  1. Youth unemployment increased nearly threefold, from 5.7% in 2000 to 17.5% in 2019
  2. Employment growth remained stagnant until 2019, then started to rise
  3. Employment is dominated by the informal sector (about 82%). Self-employment and casual employment are predominant
  4. Wages have remained low and stagnant or decreased. Modest wage rises for casual labourers were observed, while real wages for regular workers stagnated or declined.
  5. India is expected to have a migration rate of around 40% by 2030, with an urban population of about 607 million.
  6. Contractualization has risen, with only a small fraction of workers under long-term contracts. The proportion of regular employment increased post-2000 but declined after 2018.
  7. Livelihood insecurities are widespread, especially in the non-agricultural organized sector, with limited social protection coverage.
  8. Despite India’s youthful workforce being a demographic asset, many lack essential skills, with 75% unable to send emails with attachments, 60% unable to copy and paste files, and 90% unable to use spreadsheets for mathematical formulas.
  9. Education: While overall educational levels have risen, gaps remain across social groups, economic backgrounds, and regions. Only a small percentage of youths have formal vocational training, with less than 4% accessing it



Policy Measures
1: Make production and growth more employment-intensive Integrate the employment creation agenda with macroeconomic policies.
Prioritize labour-intensive manufacturing
Focus on micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises
Increase agricultural productivity and promote entrepreneurship
Invest in the green and blue economies
2: Improve the quality of jobs Invest in sectors like care and the digital economy
Develop inclusive urbanization and migration policies
Ensure strong labour policies and regulations.
3: Overcome labour market inequalities Boost women’s participation with quality work policies.
Bridge the digital divide
Enhance skills training for social and economic inclusion
Create a non-discriminatory labour market
Implement regional-level policies to reduce inequalities.
4: Enhance the effectiveness of skills training Strengthen the role of skills development
Facilitate youths’ connection with job opportunities.
Address unfilled vacancies in the public sector transparently
5: Bridge knowledge deficits on labour market patterns Develop reliable labour market statistics on emerging job forms
Utilize implementation and monitoring data effectively for policy.


For Types of Employment in India: Click Here

For Causes of the high unemployment rate: Click Here

For the Social Impact of Unemployment in India: Click Here

For Measures to address unemployment: Click Here


Government’s Initiatives Related to Employment:

  1. Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise (SMILE)
  2. PM-DAKSH (Pradhan Mantri Dakshta Aur Kushalta Sampann Hitgrahi)
  3. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)
  4. Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)
  5. Start-Up India Scheme
  6. Indira Gandhi Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme– Rajasthan.


About India Employment Report 2024

The India Employment Report 2024 is the third in the series of regular publications by the Institute for Human Development (together with the International Labour Organization) on labour and employment issues. The report is primarily based on analysis of data from the National Sample Surveys and the Periodic Labour Force Surveys between 2000 and 2022, with a postscript for 2023. Other sources of data include the Annual Survey of Industries, the National Account Statistics and the Reserve Bank of India-KLEMS database.


Mains Link:

 Most of the unemployment in India is structural in nature. Examine the methodology adopted to compute unemployment in the country and suggest improvements. (UPSC 2023)


Prelims Link:

Disguised unemployment generally means (UPSC 2013)

(a) a large number of people remain unemployed
(b) alternative employment is not available
(c) the marginal productivity of labour is zero
(d) productivity of workers is low



Ans: C