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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: Even as Odisha government is on the overdrive to bring investments into the State to give a boost to the employment generation, the state of joblessness seems to be on the rise in the State.

A cursory glance at the registration of the unemployed youths from the State in the Union Ministry of Labour's national career portal bares all the high sounding claims. The big trend to the fore is registration of unemployed in the State has posted a nearly five-fold rise in the year 2019-20.

Sample this. The number of unemployed registered in the Labour Ministry's portal were at mere 10,842 in the year 2018-19. The count clocked nearly 5-times to touch 49,431 in the year 2019-20. Aggravated by the pandemic, the total jobseekers registered in the portal for jobs during the last 8 months of the financial year 2020-21 has crossed the 2019-20 figure to touch a whopping 61,550. Graduate unemployed is high in Odisha vis-a-vis other educational qualifications.

While an analysis of the data reveals that the registration of jobseekers in the State had been unprecedented during the lockdown period of April -May, a look at the trend of jobseekers over the years (since 2015-16) shows that the joblessness stress is highest in Cuttack district. Other joblessness hotspots in the State are: Dhenkanal, Balasore, Bargarh, Khurda and Mayurbhanj.

Consider the scary situation. In year 2020-21, the job vacancies posted in the portal stood at mere 136; whereas the count of jobseekers stood at a massive 61,550, which boils down to note even 1 job for every 100 applicants.

This is not an isolated trend. Take the instance of 2019-20, which had not been a pandemic hit year. Total vacancies notified in the Labour Ministry's portal for Odisha stood at 1,713, but registered applicants count stood at 49,431, which means only 3 jobs for every 100 job aspirants.

Why Odisha In Such Dire Straits?

The industrial investment led job creation model seems simply not have clicked for the State government.

Sample this:

Year 2015-16: Odisha saw actual investment to the tune of Rs 1,165 crore. But the thousand crores failed to create a single job in the State. This is not a one off episode. The timeline below tells the real tale.

Year 2016-17: Actual investment dipped down to Rs 785crore. The actual job creation is again a big zero.

Year 2017-18: Actual investment dropped to a low of Rs 188 crore. And the number of new jobs created stood again at big cipher only.

Year 2018-19: Actual investment materialised rose to a high of Rs 6,893 crore. The new jobs created in the year counted at mere 775.

Year 2019-20: Odisha saw its highest ever actual implementation of investment proposals in the recent history. The investment figures zoomed 14,546 crore, but the new actual employment generated stood at 5,418.

An analysis of the actual job creation data shows that Odisha saw around 24 jobs per Rs 100 crore investment during the period of 2018-20.

Odisha Vs Madhya Pradesh

Year 2015-16: Actual investment in MP was Rs 935. Jobs created big zero.

Year 2016-17: Real Investments stood at Rs 2,933 crore. New jobs generated count at 3295.

Year 2017-18: The investment value stood at Rs 14,339 crore. New jobs created were 7,270.

Year 2018-19: Actual investments at Rs 5,035 crore. Jobs generated in the year were 9,470.

Year 2019-20: Real investments were Rs 12,959 crore. The actual employment it generated stood at 17,250.

The analysis shows that in Madhya Pradesh for every Rs 100 crore invested, the number of jobs created on an average stood at around 120. (Date taken from Union Industry Ministry)

While State industry minister Dibya Shankar Mishra could not be reached for his comments, UCCI President Ramakant Mahapatra said that main objective behind industrialisation is to create jobs. He added, "Poor implementation on ground and fewer labour intensive investment proposals are the prime reason behind poor job creation in Odisha."

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