Five million lost jobs in India between 2016 and 2018

According to the Center for Monitoring the Indian Economy, employment actually contracted in the year following demonetization by 3.5 million jobs. The think tank said unemployment reached 7.4 percent in December 2018, its highest rate in more than two years. (AP)
Updated 17 April 2019
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Five million lost jobs in India between 2016 and 2018

  • The report by the Azim Premji University comes as Indians are voting in a staggered general election, which is due to end on May 19
  • The unemployed were mostly higher educated and young people, in the 20-24 age range

NEW DELHI: At least five million Indians lost their jobs between 2016 and 2018, and young urban men are being hit hardest, a Bengaluru-based private university said in a report on Tuesday.
The report by the Azim Premji University comes as Indians are voting in a staggered general election, which is due to end on May 19, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government keen to defend its economic record, including on jobs.
“In addition to rising open unemployment among the higher educated, the less educated (and likely informal) workers have also seen job losses and reduced work opportunities since 2016,” said Amit Basole, an economist and lead author of the report.
The report did not say how many jobs were created during the period.
Modi’s abrupt withdrawal of high value currency notes from circulation in November 2016, with the aim of curbing tax evasion and promoting digital transactions, disrupted small businesses and sparked layoffs.
The introduction of a national sales tax the following year compounded difficulties for some businesses.
The unemployed were mostly higher educated and young people, in the 20-24 age range, according to the study titled “State of Working India 2019.”
“Among urban men, for example, this age group accounts for 13.5 percent of the working age population but 60 percent of the unemployed,” it said.
Modi has faced criticism for not doing enough to create jobs for millions of unemployed young people despite official annual economic growth of about 7 percent for the past five years.
An official survey that the government withheld showed unemployment rose to its highest level in at least 45 years in 2017/18, the Business Standard newspaper reported in February.
The unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent in February 2019, its highest since September 2016, and up from 5.9 percent in February 2018, according to data compiled by the private research house, Center for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).
The report suggested the next government should consider an urban employment guarantee scheme to create jobs, build infrastructure and provide services.
India has a rural jobs guarantee program, launched in 2006, which offers work to about 70 million rural people at the minimum wage for 100 days a year.
“India is at a crucial juncture in its economic development where timely public investment and public policy can reap huge rewards,” Basole said.


SoftBank to launch Vision Fund 2 mega-venture

Updated 8 min 45 sec ago
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SoftBank to launch Vision Fund 2 mega-venture

  • Vision Fund 2 will aim to pull in existing investors such as the Public Investment Fund in Saudi Arabia and Mubadala in the UAE
  • Vision Fund 2 is expected to at least equal the original fund’s $97 billion fund, and could reach $150 billion

LONDON: The global mega-investor SoftBank Vision Fund is preparing to launch another giant investment venture.
Vision Fund 2 will aim to pull in existing investors such as the Public Investment Fund in Saudi Arabia and Mubadala in the UAE, the biggest investors in the original fund along with SoftBank, the Japanese group run by Masayoshi Son.
Sources told Arab News that Vision Fund 2 is expected to at least equal the original fund’s $97 billion fund, and could reach $150 billion — which would make it the largest private investment fund in history.
A team from SoftBank Investment Advisers led by its chief executive Rajeev Misra and Masayoshi Son have been in preliminary discussions with potential investors for several months.
They have been talking to sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and elsewhere, as well as big global corporates, some of which were also investors in the first fund.

*** Read our full interview with CEO Rajeev Misra here: SoftBank Vision Fund stands shoulder to shoulder with Saudi Arabia — CEO Rajeev Misra ***
Investment is also expected from global banks, insurance companies and pension funds, and SoftBank is expected to put up about $40 billion.
The first phase of the launch is due to end “in the next few months,” with a final close around 12 months later.
The original fund plans to return profits to existing investors over the next few months, including big partners such as PIF, Mubadala and SoftBank. If they see healthy returns they may be more likely to invest heavily in the new fund.
The interests of Saudi Arabia and the Vision Fund align as the Kingdom diversifies away from reliance on oil, Misra told Arab News. “Our commitment is to support the creation of tens of thousands of jobs in Saudi Arabia, high-tech jobs not blue collar, over the next few years,” he said.