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By 2017, UP to have 1cr unemployed youth: NSSO
The 66th round of the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) report projects the number of unemployed youth in Uttar Pradesh in the age group of 15-35 at whopping 1 crore by the end of the ongoing 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17).

Uttar Pradesh has second largest economy in the country, and in the eleventh year plan, it achieved a growth rate more than what was targeted. UP registered growth rate of 7.28% against the target of 6.10%. But still there is dearth of employment opportunities in India’s most populous state. This is precisely due to multi-level failures of policy making and implementation.

Let us take a tour of Uttar Pradesh.

1. UP is the most populous state with 19.98 crores as per 2011 census but it is also the fastest growing state in terms of population which is a worrying factor.

2. UP has fertile Indo-Gangetic plains and is major contributor to national food grain stock.

3. UP is home to 78% national livestock population.

4. UP is a hub of IT industries but that is limited to areas of Noida, Ghaziabad and Greater Noida only.

5. UP is also a good tourism destination and is visited by large number of national and international tourists.

5. UP accounts for about 60% of India’s total handicrafts exports.

6. It also has carpet industries, chikan embroidery, woven handloom and leather. However, that is also restricted to certain pockets of the state.

7. UP does not have major corporate houses and only 3% of the S&P CNX 500 conglomerates have corporate offices in the state.

8. It has longest river network, longest rail length and ranks second in road length.

9. Ranks second in total number of sugar mills.

It is clear that agriculture is mainstay of people in UP followed by small scale industries. However, agriculture grew far below than was targeted in 11th plan. The contribution of agriculture to GDP has also reduced to only 25.1%. There was a net decline of 49 lakh agriculture workers in the last five years in Uttar Pradesh.

The NSSO report shows that the number of total agriculture workers went down from 403 lakh in 2004-05 to 369 lakh in 2009-10 and 354 lakh in 2011-12. This is really alarming. Agriculture is getting expensive with growing cost of seeds, fertilizers, etc but enough money is not being invested in this sector. Moreover, farmers also don’t get good money for their crops. There is not much technical assistance to farmers and thus they are still dependent on traditional methods which undoubtedly make them very less competitive in market.

There is scope for diversifying agriculture in the state but only time will tell if government really feels so. The condition of small and medium scale industries is also not very encouraging. The government gives various subsidies but what is required is the pathway for easy business and development of the same. It is on this aspect that the policy makers should focus.

UP gets maximum number of tourists in the country but still there is a need to focus on boosting the tourism sector. Uttar Pradesh can boast of having good connectivity but still there is huge scope of infrastructure development. The manufacturing sector, considered the corner stone of the economy, has grown at snail's pace of 1.64%. The number of workers employed in this sector has risen from 84 lakh in 2004-05 to just 86 lakh in 2011-12, according to the NSSO report.

There are hardly any industries in UP. This is mainly because it is not seen as good investment option. It is marred by corruption and extremely poor law and order situation. It has generated no faith and confidence of investors to invest in the state. The ease of doing business is also unattractive as compared to other states. This is coupled with power shortage because there has been negligible addition to the installed capacity of electricity in the last decade. Uttar Pradesh can make policies but its implementation is very tedious task considering failing law and order situation. All these factors ensure that unemployment keeps going up and even those who are employed get meager wages in majority of cases.

Politics in Uttar Pradesh is also equally responsible for state’s dwindling performance. In UP, politics is entirely caste based and not development based. Thus, political parties and the government engage in petty matters to woo its traditional vote banks. Thus, people of UP should also be held responsible because they have chosen government on the basis of freebies and some cheap “unemployment allowance”. Going by NSSO report, this unemployed youth may lead to social unrest and further deteriorating the law and order situation. It needs to be curbed right now.

The issue of unemployment remains a matter of misplaced priority. The growth pattern adopted is also not employment-oriented. The focus should be on the strength of the state which is agriculture and small scale industries. Out of box thinking, planning and action needs to be taken by the state government. If required they should seek help from other states and develop a model which will bring employments to youth of the state. These youth can be transformed into biggest asset for the state if thought from the broader level and vision else the state may be heading towards bigger problems.

Akhilesh Yadav was voted by youths as he promised change and “good time” for them. But till now, he has not been able to deliver at all. He should focus on crux of the problem rather than holidaying in the UK.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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