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

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.


Sharjah sells $1bn sukuk

Updated 46 min 36 sec ago

Sharjah sells $1bn sukuk

  • Gulf states seek to bolster finances hit by pandemic and historic slide in oil prices

DUBAI: Sharjah, the third-largest emirate of the UAE, sold $1 billion in seven-year sukuk, or Islamic bonds, on Tuesday, according to a document from one of the banks arranging the deal.

The debt sale comes as several governments in the Gulf seek to bolster their finances to face the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and a historic slide in oil prices.

Sharjah set the final spread at 245 basis points (bps) over midswaps for the sukuk, which are Islamic sharia-compliant bonds, according to the document seen by Reuters.

It tightened the spread by 30 bps from where it began marketing the notes earlier on Tuesday.

Sharjah, rated Baa2 by Moody’s ratings agency and BBB by S&P, is a relatively frequent issuer of US dollar Islamic bonds.

HSBC was hired as global coordinator for the transaction. Other banks on the deal were Bank ABC, Dubai Islamic Bank, Gulf International Bank, Mashreqbank and Sharjah Islamic Bank.

In May, the emirate raised 2 billion dirhams ($545 million) in privately placed one-year sukuk to support its economy during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a statement by Bank of Sharjah, which arranged that deal.

“Issued as 12 month dirham-denominated paper in several tranches, the Sharjah Liquidity Support Mechanism (SLSM) sukuk represents the first rated short term local currency tradeable instrument in the UAE, which can be used for liquidity management by banks,” the Sharjah Finance Department said in a statement on Tuesday, confirming that deal. It said that it was a first tranche and that further tranches with one or more other banks were expected to expand the SLSM to 4 billion dirhams.

S&P Global Ratings in April revised its outlook on the emirate to negative from stable due to lower oil prices and the impact of the new coronavirus.

“Although we expect GDP growth to recover in 2021, lower-for-longer oil prices and a protracted lockdown period could pressure the emirate’s fiscal position,” the agency said.