Latest data from CMIE shows Sikkim unemployment in the state is greater than the national unemployment rate

Latest data from CMIE shows Sikkim unemployment in the state is greater than the national unemployment rate
Picture Courtesy: newsmove.in

Gangtok, March 13:

According to data that has been sourced from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) Unemployment website, unemployment in Sikkim is greater than the national unemployment rate of 23.5%. With Sikkim's unemployment rate increasing by 22.2 percentage points, rising to 24.5% in May 2020, according to a survey which was conducted by the CMIE   Unemployment in Sikkim in 2020 was greater than than the national rate of 23.5% where nationwide, unemployment was highest in Jharkhand, Bihar, and Delhi at 59.2%, 46.2%, and 44.9% respectively. It was lowest in Uttarakhand, Assam, and Odisha at 8.0%, 9.6%, and 9.6% respectively.

Sikkim, a tiny north-eastern Himalayan state with a population of approximate 7 lakh citizens, yet the problem of unemployment remains one of the key concerns in everyone’s life. Due to there being a lack in the presence of the private sectors and government employment opportunities almost already saturated.

While the State government also actively tries to combat unemployment with several schemes like the One Family One Job scheme, which as the name suggests entitles one government job for every family in the state, with envisions to employ a member of every family which does not have a government job in the state. Under this scheme, all loan debts in the farming and agriculture sector would be revoked. Although the scheme was launched under the previous Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) government, the current Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) government decided to continue it, allowing all the candidates selected to join jobs under the 'One Family, One Job' (OFOJ)

With the rampant spread of COVID-19 in India and the lockdown that followed, many youths from Sikkim had to quit their job in other metropolitan cities and come back home, with tourism also being brought to a screeching halt and putting about 150,000 people (out of the 300,000 directly or indirectly involved with tourism) out of work.

Despite the flexibility in restrictions by the State government the problem of unemployment is yet to be solved. However, to beat the frustration some section of the unemployed youths have taken an initiative to contribute to society such as the unemployed youths of Gyalshing have taken an initiative to clean and beautify their hometown at this period of time as their pet project.

The initiative taken by some 11 unemployed youth of Gyalshing in West Sikkim to clean and repaint the railings of Gyalshing Bazaar are being done voluntarily and the project has been underway for the past two days.

One of the youths taking part in this initiative says, “We the unemployed youths of in and around Gyalshing have carried out this social activity such as beautification work which involved colouring of railings to popularize the place and make it a tourist destination because such activities have instilled a sense of satisfaction and joy from within all of us while also giving us a sense of purpose. In future too, we would like to execute such activities. And through this, we would also like to encourage our other unemployed brothers and sisters to instil such social development feelings and execute it.”

According to research by Marchang Reimeingam, in Sikkim, the most common type of unemployment is the educated unemployment where ‘a person who has acquired secondary and above education, then the rate of growth of employment particularly in the organised sector, in which the matriculates and college graduates seek to be absorbed.’ In recent years this educated unemployment problem in Sikkim has escalated and is more problematic than the general unemployment which has empirically proved that the educated unemployment rate is usually higher than the general unemployment rate. It is simply because the educated person makes a general impression that investment in education should yield a return in terms of the salaried job; seeks or prefers organised, formal, salaried or white-collar jobs, specific kind of employment; capability of affording unemployment; and their aspiration are increasing resulting in a serious mismatch
between the supply of educated job seekers and the demand for them in the labour market causing to raise unemployment. The educated unemployed are persons seeking or available for work and have obtained an educational level of secondary and above.

In Sikkim, the trend differs from rural to urban areas. In urban Sikkim in the 1990s, the rate has significantly increased experiencing a severe educated unemployment problem. However, in the following years, the rate sharply fell and continued to fall to a negligible level of 0.1 % in urban Sikkim. This sharp decline is due to the expansion of institutions for higher education, increase in self-employment as employability increases with the large base of people with the background of vocational programmes and out-migration. Sikkim is the only state in India that recorded an educated unemployment rate below 1 % in urban areas in 2009/10.

While educational development takes places in Sikkim both for the private benefit for earnings through a formal job and for social benefit, the educational system and institutions however need to focus more on restructuring towards job-oriented schemes. Coincidentally, the educated unemployment level has dropped to a negligible level only in Sikkim among the Indian states in urban areas. The major challenge is to ensure the employability of these unemployed by providing proper education, appropriate training and marketable skills to participate adequately for productive work with flexibility in choosing a job with their innovative ideas, skill and knowledge.