Increase in literacy rate gives rise to more job seekers

Increase in literacy rate gives  rise to more job seekers

The latest Census 2011 data released recently has revealed that there is at least one person in 18.5 lakh of the total 1.33 crore households looking for employment.

In terms of percentage, this translates to 13.9 per cent of the households in the State having at least one member looking for a salaried job.

In absolute terms, the number could be much more, as several households have more than one member looking for work. These statistics have led to an inference that increase in literacy rate has resulted in more number of educated persons looking for jobs outside their traditional occupations like agriculture. But, at the same time, the employment opportunities they are seeking are not available.

“It is not that job opportunities in the State have suddenly come down. The household-wide census data indicates that with the literacy levels going up more people are now prepared to shun their traditional occupations by looking for salaried jobs,” explains K S James, Professor and Head, Population Research Centre at the Institute for Social and Economic Change.

In 2001, only 11 per cent of the households in the State had job seekers. The State’s overall literacy rate as per the 2011 census stood at 75.6 per cent, increasing by nine percentage points compared with the 2001 census.

Prof James feels policy measures need to be taken to absorb the growing number of jobs seekers by increasing employment opportunities. “In many countries, policy measures have been taken to develop the agriculture sector itself as an industry. We too could replicate some best practices,” James said.

Bengaluru has the highest number of households with job seekers (2.89 lakh) followed by Belagavi (1.25 lakh) and Mysuru (97,163). The trend is also similar across the country with at least one member in 4.03 crore of the 24.88 crore households looking for a job.

Commissioner for Labour D S Vishwanath agreed with the interpretation that more people were coming out of their traditional occupations. The State government, for its part, was giving thrust to skill and technical development programmes, Vishwanath said. “Merely becoming literate may not make a person employable, though she or he becomes a job seeker. They need to be taught skills which cater to the needs of the industry or the employers. We are already working in this direction,” the officer said.

Several vocational training modular programmes have already been launched and more are in the offing, he said.

Sources in the industries department said the new industrial policy 2014-19 launched by the State government gave thrust to micro, small and medium enterprises by offering sops and concessions. The growth of the sector has the potential to create five lakh new jobs in the next five years, they said. 

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