Our economy is in shambles as growth without jobs goes up to 8.3 percent. Unemployment has been rated at 394.6 million, a fall in the employment availability by two million as the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) reports have revealed. In July, the unemployment rate was 6.8 percent while employment was 397 million, reported CMIE. Urban unemployment, which is usually higher, was at about 8 percent than the rural employment rate which is usually around 7 percent. In August Urban unemployment went up to 9.6 percent while rural unemployment was at 7.7 percent. Unemployment left entire families without food. At least two hundred million people have no food security. In the countries where this basic essential to keep alive is scarce, India has the honor to have the largest number of people going hungry for days or surviving in famine conditions. The ranking of the global hunger index, 2017, covers position 100 out of 119 ranked countries with 31.4 percent food security situations which had been grave. The problem has many serious dimensions.
Major among them is the high prevalence of underweight children under five, a result of low nutrition and poverty among families. Even though the National Statistical Office pointed out in its data released recently that our economy grew at 13.5 percent in the first quarter of the current financial year, the growth was studied by taking a comfortable baseline where there was a sharp fall in the economic growth due to pandemic in the first quarter of the last financial year. The Reserve Bank of India had also taken the same baseline and came out showing the growth at 16.2 percent, overestimating without taking the context of the baseline. This also shows that despite a double-digit growth, gross value added (which strips away indirect taxes and subsidies), has come out with a growth of a mere 4.7 percent from the first financial quarter of its pre-pandemic level, 2019-20. In the agrarian sector, the value added in disaggregated data was 4.5 percent in the first quarter of the financial year. The fall in GDP growth and falling numbers of employment opportunities have brought the common masses to the brink. Among them are those that are either daily wagers or the self-employed.
The latest report shows that not only did the share of daily wage earners among suicide victims go up during 2021, the number increased faster than the national average. In the suicide data, the categories taken by the NCRB are under nine profession-wise groups: students, professional/salaried persons, daily wage earners, retired persons, unemployed persons, self-employed persons, housewives, persons engaged in the farming sector, and other persons. Among these groups, the highest increase of 16.73 percent was recorded by ‘self-employed persons’. The ‘Housewife’ category accounted for 14.1 percent of the total suicides in 2021, their number too increased by 3.6 percent from 22,374 in 2020 to 23,179 in 2021. The report shows that the number of student suicides stood at 13,089 in 2021, up from 12,526 in 2020. In 2021, the number of suicides by ‘retired persons’ stood at 1,518 while 23,547 suicides were recorded in the ‘other persons’ category.