For Odisha, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Index has come as a rude shock. The State has been ranked the lowest among all the major states in the country when it comes to decent job creation.
With only 9-years in hand, it seems challenging for the Odisha government to ensure decent jobs for its youth by 2030, especially when Covid-19 lockdowns have pushed nearly 7 lakh out of jobs in May this year.
Despite the annual growth rate of the per capita GSDP (also known as per capita income) at constant prices in Odisha clocking 5.8 per cent increase, higher than the national growth average of 5.1 per cent, the State could score a mere 48, only to languish in the Aspirant category. The ignominy for the State is the score of 48 is almost equal to the score of Nagaland.
Embarrassment For Odisha?
While Odisha's show has been poor nationally, the big embarrassment for the State is in the indicator of decent job creation, it has fallen from its neighbours like Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal by yards.
As per the SDG report 2021, when Andhra Pradesh have been categorised as the front runner with a score of 67, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and West Bengal with a score of 64, 50 and 57, respectively, have emerged as the performer in the SDG of creating decent job creation in their states.
What Is Decent Job Creation?
As per the SDG-8, in order to promote sustained economic growth, higher productivity and tech innovation, a state need to encourage entrepreneurship and job creation.
"Entrepreneurship and Job creation will eradicate forced slavery and human trafficking. This SDG calls for policies that support decent job creation." the report observed.
Odisha's Poor Show Vis-a-Vis Neighbours
- Odisha's annual per capita income growth has been 5.8 per cent, higher than the national average.
- But the annual per capita income growth rate in Bihar is 7.63 per cent when the target set in the SDG has been 7 per cent.
- Chhattisgarh's annual per capita income growth rate of 5.36 per cent is lower than Odisha, but in the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) feedback, it scored 28.71.
- Niti Aayog SDG report
- However, despite Odisha government going in full throttle to have mega-investment conclaves with an attractive tagline of 'Make in Odisha', the State could score a neat zero in feedback.
- Over 54 per cent of regular/salaried employees in the non-agriculture sector in Odisha have no social security benefit.
- But in Bihar only 23.7 per cent of salaried/regular employees are without social security benefit.
- While Chhattisgarh with 50 per cent fares poorer than Odisha, but the unemployment rate in the State in 2020 was a mere 2.6.
- In Odisha, the unemployment rate in 2020 stood at a high of 7.6 per cent. Among major states, the State figured in the top-10 states with high unemployment. The national average unemployment rate in 2020 was 6.2 per cent.
- In the parameters of the number of account holders under PM JanDhan Yojana, ATM per lakh population, bank branches per lakh population, Odisha is not a bad performer.
2019 Versus 2020
- In 2019, Odisha had scored 92.08 in Ease of Doing Business (EODB). The scorecard in 2020 was a neat 0.
- The irony for the State is only in 2019, it scored over 92 per cent for implementing the EODB. But a year later, when the feedback is collected, State could score only a big zero.
- This shows the reforms in Odisha remain only on paper, don't see its translation ground.
- The unemployment rate in 2019 was 7.1 per cent. The headline number increased to 7.6 per cent in 2020.
- Functioning bank branches per lakh population declined to 11.92 from 11.97 in 2019. This shows some bank branches have been closed down due to lack of sufficient business.
Bottom line: The SDG 2021 report has cut out the task for Odisha. In order to ensure a decent job for its youths, the State needs faster economic growth. And to see that this fructifies, the State has to bring in a vast improvement in EODB. This will then have a positive impact on providing social safety cover to its employees and bring down the high unemployment rate.