NEW DELHI — More than 70 per cent of Indians surveyed during May-July 2018 — the beginning of the last year of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government — said the lack of employment opportunities and rising prices are India’s most pressing challenges, as per a new Pew Research Centre survey released on March 26.
The US-based Pew Research Center survey report said that 76 per cent of adults have said that unemployment is a “very big problem and little has changed over the past year”.
“In 2018, despite an estimated 3.5 per cent formal unemployment rate, 18.6 million Indians were jobless and another 393.7 million work in poor-quality jobs vulnerable to displacement, according to estimates by the International Labour Office,” said the report.
Nearly two-thirds of the people surveyed (65%) said the financial situation of the average Indian was better today than it was 20 years ago, with 15% saying things were worse.
Pew’s findings were backed by a report, Politics and Society between Elections, released on Tuesday by Azim Premji University in collaboration with Lokniti, which says that jobs was the main issue that concerned citizens between elections.
At least 20% of the people surveyed said unemployment was the biggest issue facing the country, with 15% saying it should be the government’s top priority.
The survey report further added that inflation is another key concern for the Indians.
“Other aspects of the economy are also at the top of the public’s concerns. More than 7-out of-10 (73 per cent) believe rising prices are a very big problem.”
People leaving for jobs in other countries posed a problem for India, the survey report said, adding that more than 6-out of-10 (64 per cent) said this type of emigration was a problem, including nearly half (49 per cent) saying it is a “very big” problem.
However, it was noted that out-migration itself may not be viewed favourably.
In 2016, Indian migrants abroad collectively sent nearly $63 billion worth of remittances back to family and friends living in India, or roughly three per cent of total gross domestic product (GDP).
“At the same time, Indians show little enthusiasm for expanding immigration into their country. Roughly 3-out of-10 Indians (29 per cent) say their government should allow fewer immigrants, with an additional 16 per cent volunteering that there should be no immigration at all.”
Just 13 per cent think more immigration into India should be encouraged and 11 per cent think immigration levels should stay about the same as they are now.
When the Pew survey asked whether various challenges facing India had become better or worse in the past five years, a time frame coinciding with the term of current Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 21% said job opportunities were better, while 67% said things had become worse (including 47% who said much worse).
The Pew survey sought the opinions of 2,521 respondents in India from 23 May to 23 July 2018.
The survey report also noted that the elections follow a year in which most Indian adults showed dissatisfaction with the nation’s progress on issues, including unemployment, inflation and the efficacy of elections.