Budget 2021: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will announce the Budget 2021 in parliament on February 1. Among many things, all eyes will be on the Finance Minister's budget speech to see if she'll disclose measures to solve India's ever growing issue of unemployment. The year 2020 was particularly a bad year for India in terms of employment. The economy suffered the biggest shock after the first lockdown in March when around 11.3 crore people lost jobs as the entire economy went into shutdown mode, according to private think-tank CMIE.
The subsequent months also did not bring any respite, and the unemployment rate has been dismal since then. After a rude shock in April, May registered a job gain of about 3.1 crore. The economy has been adding jobs since then. However, it's yet to reach the pre-covid level; in February 2020, the country had 40.5 crore registered employees.
To beat the Covid-19 impact, the government had announced the Atma Nirbhar Bharat package worth Rs 20 lakh crore. The total stimulus of Rs 20,97,053 crore included the earlier measures announced by the Reserve Bank worth Rs 8,01,603 lakh crore and Rs 1,92,800 crore announced by the government under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package.
Sitharaman also announced Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana in November. Under the scheme, the government announced subsidy to companies for two years for new employees engaged on or after October 1, 2020. The programme was launched to incentivise creation of new jobs during COVID-19 recovery.
For companies employing up to 1,000 employees, the Centre would provide total 24 per cent of the wages -- employee's contributions (12 per cent of the wages) and employer's contributions (12 per cent of wages). For those employing over 1,000 employees, EPF contribution worth 12 per cent will be made by the Centre.
Despite these quick fixes announced by the Centre amid the pandemic, there's need to do much more to raise employment opportunities in the country, suggest experts. Many expect the government could announce measures to re-skill India's youth in areas such as education, healthcare and hospitality to address the unemployment problem.