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State of Economy: India Staring at One of The Worst Job Crisis Ever

Unemployment in the country was at a 45-year-high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18

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Women are much worse affected than men. Pixabay

The ruling NDA government won a landslide in 2014 on a promise that it will produce jobs. Five years down the line, India is staring at one of the worst job crisis ever.

A report citing National Sample Survey Office’s Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) data, the publication of which was withheld, revealed that unemployment in the country was at a 45-year-high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18.

Since the official data is yet to see the light of day, professionals turned to other credible sources. An analysis based on a data by a private body Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE) further revealed the nature of the crises.

The Azim Premji University report based on CMIE data found that nearly 50 lakh people in India lost their jobs between 2016-2018, youth being the worst hit. “In general, women are much worse affected than men. They have higher unemployment rates, as well as lower labour force participation rates,” it added.

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The ruling NDA government won a landslide in 2014 on a promise that it will produce jobs. Pixabay

Though the job loss has been witnessed across sectors, including governments own schemes, its been massive in the informal sector, which constitutes over 80 per cent of the total work force, according to the International Labour Organization.

Experts have said that the informal sector is still suffering from the shock of demonetization.

The only key argument that the government repeatedly had to offer was that how the country could not be producing jobs when the GDP growth rate is among the fastest in the world. This argument saw a massive rebuttal, from experts across the globe, who raised doubts over the GDP figures itself.

Former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan said in a TV interview: “I know one Minister has said how we can be growing at 7 per cent, yet not have jobs. Well, one possibility is that we are not growing at 7 per cent.”

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International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Chief Economist Gita Gopinath, too, expressed doubt over India’s growth rate, saying there are still some issues with the way India calculates it.

Several experts, social scientists and activists expressed doubt over the unemployment and growth rate figures and alleged that the government was suppressing uncomfortable data.

Explaining one such point of contention, R. Nagaraj of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research told IANS that as the employment rate has fallen, one would also expect output growth to have decreased, unless there is a huge rise in productivity per worker for which there is no evidence.

“So, the rising GDP and declining employment rate for the same year seems anomalous,” he said

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Five years down the line, India is staring at one of the worst job crisis ever. Pixabay

Nagraj, alongside several economists, in a statement released earlier, questioned the government’s intent behind the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) methodology revision and called for the restoration of independence of statistical bodies in light of the allegations that government was suppressing uncomfortable data.

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The big question for the whole of the political class and in particular the next government is: Can they come out with a definitive long-term strategy to keep unemployment in check? (IANS)

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Microsoft Ready to Help Indian Startups, Says President Anant Maheshwari

Microsoft is focused as much on selling third party solutions as their own, and this co-sell motion has helped generate $8 billion in revenue for partners within 18 months

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FILE - Microsoft Corp. signage is seen outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington, July 3, 2014. VOA

Armed with a cutting-edge technology platform, a well-established partner organisation and an expansion of M12 venture fund, Microsoft is ready to help Indian startups across the spectrum embrace the next phase of growth, Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India, said here on Monday.

India, which saw a tremendous growth in the startup space in the last couple of years, is now witnessing a growth in the business-to-business (B2B) tech startups coming up with innovative ideas to deal with local problems.

“With our intelligent tech expertise, deep focus on trust and unique global go to market partnering, we empower unicorns and startups to scale sustainably at a global level,” said Maheshwari.

“We remain excited about India’s entrepreneurial startup potential and will continue to accelerate it as a growth engine for the economy,” he added.

India witnessed a dramatic rise of eight unicorns in 2018 from among the start-ups across verticals as against a mere nine in six years from 2011 till 2017, according to IT industry apex body Nasscom.

The start-ups joining the select club for their valuation over $1 billion are Oyo Rooms (hospitality), Zomato and Swiggy (food delivery), Udaan (retailer marketplace), Byju’s, (edu-tech), Paytm Mall (e-tail), Freshworks (software programmer) and Policybazaar (digital insurance).

Maheshwari said Microsoft is uniquely positioned to support Indian startups to achieve scale and evolve from market ready to enterprise ready.

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A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, April 28, 2015. VOA

The introduction of M12, Microsoft’s venture fund, in India in February is creating new value for startups, VCs and the company itself to maintain the pace and direction of innovation.

“M12 is looking at investing in innovators who have aligned their focus on cutting-edge technologies that better enable digital transformation. The portfolio development team at M12 is specifically built to help support and scale companies by leveraging the expansive resources of Microsoft,” said the company.

According to reports, venture capital investments in Indian tech business-to-business (B2B) start-ups have been trending upwards, with over $3.09 billion raised in equity funding across 415 deals in 2018 — 28 per cent more than $2.41 billion in 2017.

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Under the “Microsoft for Startups” initiative, startups can co-sell with Microsoft sales teams, get access to top tech VCs in the global arena and mentorship from industry veterans.

In less than 18 months, Microsoft for Startups has closed more than 120 co-sell deals with more than $126 million in active pipeline for startups.

Microsoft is focused as much on selling third party solutions as their own, and this co-sell motion has helped generate $8 billion in revenue for partners within 18 months. (IANS)