J&K’s Jobless Rate Jumps To 20.2% In July, Second Highest In India

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Srinagar- While India’s overall unemployment rate fell to its lowest in six months in July, J&K’s jobless rate increased to 20.2 percent, second highest in India, as per monthly frequency data by the economic think tank Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy’s (CMIE).

The unemployment rate jumped to 20.2 percent in July, as compared to 17.2 percent in June, data released by the CMIE on Monday revealed. The July jobless rate is the second highest since January when it was 15.2 percent.

As per the data available, the unemployment rate (UR) in march had hit a new record with 25 percent unemployment in the first quarter of 2022. The UR had astronomically risen since last year and has touched its worst value in 2022, when compared to the past five years.

Pertinently, the unemployment rate seems to be going towards poverty in J&K despite Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman’s repeated assurances of a falling unemployment rate in J&K.

The CMIE, a private economic think-tank in India, in its latest monthly report for the month of March 2022 had estimated the unemployment rate for J&K at 25 percent, which as per CMIE data, was the highest since 2016 when the unemployment rate was recorded at its worst— 29.9 percent.

Amid the unrest of 2016, J&K’s unemployment rate stood at 25.3 percent in September, 26.3 percent in October and 29.9 percent in November.

As per CMIE, since the start of this year, there has been an increase of 11.8 percent in the unemployment rate. In the month of January, the data notes, J&K’s UR stood at 15 percent. Though in the month of February it dipped down to 13.2 percent but in March the rate took an ugly turn and jumped to a grueling 25 percent.

Pertinently, a superficial look at March’s data where J&K was standing at an unemployment rate of 25% had brought into forth that roughly over 1.1 million people were jobless in J&K.

In April, the jobless rate had come down to 15.6 percent and then rose to 18.3 percent in May. In July, as per CMIE, the Unemployment rate stood at 17.2 percent.

However, the latest data had come at a time when the passionate J&K administration had gone ahead to say that the employment in the erstwhile state will gradually increase. “Private investments in J&K would increase to Rs 70,000 crore to give fillip to employment and a peaceful environment in the region.” J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha had said.

The central government last week said that available Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) data indicates that the unemployment rate is on a declining trend in the country. In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, Minister of State for Labour and Employment Rameswar Teli said all-India unemployment on usual status for persons of age 15 years and above in 2020-21 was 4.2 percent against 4.8 percent in 2019-20 and 5.8 percent in 2018.

According to the CMIE’s “30 day moving average” survey, among states, Haryana has the highest unemployment rate of 26.9 percent, followed by Jammu and Kashmir (20.2 percent), Rajasthan (19.1 percent) and Bihar (18.8 percent). The lowest jobless rates in July were recorded in Chhattisgarh (0.8 percent), Odisha (0.9 percent) and Meghalaya (1.5 percent), showed CMIE data.

Another credible labor survey report which substantiates the chronic unemployment scenario in the region was published by the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation for April-June 2021 quarter. As per that survey, J&K registered a staggering unemployment ratio of 46.3 percent.

Meanwhile, as per CMIE, India’s national average was recorded at 6.9 percent where urban rate stood at 8.3 percent and rural rate was recorded at 6.3 percent.

Although, J&K government has started the recruitment process for more than 40 thousand posts in 2020-21, most of them are still in the process.

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Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir

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