By Aman Kayal, Academic Content Writer of Economics


Some look for a job through friends and relatives. In many cities, you might find people standing in some select areas looking for people to employ them for that day’s work. Some go to factories and offices and give their bio-data ask for a job but stay home when there is no work. Some go to employment exchanges and register themselves for vacancies notified through employment exchanges. The National statistical office (Previously it was known as National Sample Survey Organisation) defines unemployment as a situation in which all those who, owing to lack of work, are not working but either seek work through employment exchanges, intermediaries, friends or relatives or by making applications to prospective employers or express their willingness or availability for work under the prevailing condition of work and remunerations. There are a variety of ways by which an unemployed person is identified. Economists define unemployed person as one who is not able to get employment of even one hour in half a day. There are three sources of data on unemployment : Reports of Census of India, National Statistical Office’s Reports of Employment and Unemployment Situation, Annual Reports of Periodic Labour Force Survey, and Directorate General of Employment and Training data of Registration with Employment Exchanges. Though they provide different estimates of unemployment, they do provide us with the attributes of the unemployed and the variety of unemployment prevailing in our country. Do we have different types of unemployment in our economy? The situation described in the first paragraph of this section is called open unemployment. Economists call unemployment prevailing in Indian farms as disguised unemployment. What is disguised unemployment? Suppose a farmer has four acres of land and he actually needs only two workers and himself to carry out various operations on his farm in a year, but if he employs five workers and his family members such as his wife and children, this situation is known as disguised unemployment. One study conducted in the late 1950s showed about onethird of agriculture workers in India as disguisedly unemployed. You may have noticed that many people migrate to an urban area, pick up a job and stay there for some time, but come back to their home villages as soon as the rainy season begins. Why do they do so? This is because work in agriculture is seasonal; there are no employment opportunities in the village for all months in the year. When there is no work to do on farms, people go to urban areas and look for jobs. This kind of unemployment is known as seasonal unemployment. This is also a common form of unemployment prevailing in India. Though we have witnessed slow growth of employment, have you seen people being unemployed over a very long time? Scholars say that in India, people cannot remain completely unemployed for very long because their desperate economic condition would not allow them to be so. You will rather find them being forced to accept jobs that nobody else would do, unpleasant or even dangerous jobs in unclean, or unhealthy surroundings. The Central and State governments take initiatives and generate employment to facilitate a decent living for low income families through various measures. These will be discussed in the following section.

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