A worrying figure

Out of 36,996, there were 25,842 successful candidates in the recent Nagaland Board of School Education results declared last week – 14335 in Class 10 and 11507 in Class 12.

 

A day after, the All Nagaland College Students’ Union asserted that around ‘one lakh’ students would abstain from voting in the forthcoming bye-election to Nagaland Lok Sabha on May 28.

 

Taking the two figures together, one can safely assume that in the next 4-5 years, nearly 1.25 lakh educated students will be joining the job market.

 

Additionally, the number of applicants on live register of employment exchanges of the Nagaland Government, as on December 31, 2016, was clocking an annual increase of over 4% per year, increasing from 54,045 in 2009 to 68,504. The figure is pretty conservative given the fact that most people do not bother to register at the exchange.

 

Against this backdrop, the Nagaland Department of Economics & Statistics’ ‘Govt. Employees Census’ informed that while employment in the sector state increased from 8311 in 1964 to 97576 in 2015. However, it had saturated in recent years.

 

For instance, it rose from 91308 in 2011 to 97576 in 2015 averaging around 1567 addition annually. In 2014-15, the latest figure avaialble on its website, there was an addition of 1667 employees.

 

The total intake in government sector at most is thus 2000 a year, calculated on the basis of the ‘retirement, deaths and resignations etc’ of about 2.5 per cent to 3 per cent of around 97576 total employees.

 

What will happen to the rest? Taking the conservative figure of the registration at employment exchange (68,504), at any given time, over 66,000 people would be actively looking for a job, even if the figure of fresh graduates are excluded.

 

An intimidating figure for any government, it will undoubtedly burgeon in the future.

 

The current as well as impending youth unemployment, thus, is a ‘ticking bomb’; a clear danger at present as well as in future, with potential to create extreme economic and social imbalance.

 

Advancing and facilitating opportunities to youth must be the first policy imperative and critical component of Nagaland government’s social and economic priorities. Any strategy must involve creating avenue not only for the educated, but bestowing equal opportunity to uneducated and disadvantaged young people.

 

The Vision 2030 released last year, albeit on the surface, had dealt with the impending specter of growing unemployment in Nagaland over the next decade. In 2016, youth comprised 30 percent of the population in Nagaland with 6.82 lakh people in the age group of 15-29, according to the document.

 

Channelizing this demographic dividend and energies into productive avenue will determine the progress of the State in the next decade. A revisit into the document may also show a way forward. As many stakeholders involved in the ‘vision document’ are also part of the current dispensation, it won’t be an insurmountable task.