New Delhi: As many as 41 lakh youths in India have lost jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The construction and farm sector workers account for the majority of job losses. This is according to a joint report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
“For India, the report estimates job loss for 4.1 million youth. Construction and agriculture have witnessed the major job losses among seven key sectors,” said the ILO-ADB report. The report has been titled ‘Tackling the COVID-19 youth employment crisis in Asia and the Pacific’ It was released Tuesday. The young people’s employment prospects in Asia and the Pacific are severely challenged due to the pandemic, the report.
Youth (15–24 years) will be hit harder than adults (25 and older) in the immediate crisis and risk bearing higher longer-term economic and social costs. The report is based on regional assessment of the ‘Global Survey on Youth and COVID-19’.
The report said that in India, two-thirds of firm-level apprenticeships and three quarters of internships were completely interrupted. This has happened during the pandemic.
The report calls on governments in the region to adopt urgent, large-scale and targetted measures to generate jobs for the youth. It has urged governments to keep education and training on track. It also said that governments will have to minimise future scarring of more than 660 million young people in the region.
In 2019, the regional youth unemployment rate was 13.8 per cent, compared to three per cent for adults; and more than 160 million youth (24 per cent of the population) was not in employment, education or training.
Four in five young workers in the region were engaged in informal employment — a higher share than among adults. One in four young workers was living in conditions of extreme or moderate poverty.
“The pre-crisis challenges for youth are now amplified since COVID-19 hit. Without sufficient attention, our fear is that this risks creating a ‘lockdown generation’. It could feel the weight of this crisis for many years to come,” said Sara Elder. She is the lead author of the report and head of the ILO Regional Economic and Social Analysis unit.
The report cites three ways in which young people are affected in the current crisis. These are job disruptions in the form of reduced working hours and earnings. Also job losses for both paid workers and the self-employed. Then there are disruptions in their education and training and difficulties in transitioning from school to work.
Youth unemployment rates in the region increased sharply in the first quarter of 2020 from the last quarter of 2019, the report said.