Economic Survey 2021: Punjab among top 5 states with worst unemployment, but among five best in access to basic necessities

As far as education is concerned, Punjab has done well in early childhood education and the state has recorded a high attendance rate of 61.6% of the children in the age groups of 3-5 years.

The latest economic survey detailing the state of country’s economic health on Friday showed Punjab among the top five states with rampant unemployment. The state, on the flip side, also figured among top five states where people had access to bare necessities like water, housing, sanitation, electricity, clean cooking fuel etc. in both rural and urban areas. Punjab, according to the survey, also fared well in early childhood education.

According to survey report, Punjab has a higher unemployment ratio in the year 2018-19 for 15 years or above age group and it is higher than the national average of unemployment.

In terms of unemployment rate, Punjab ranked fifth among the top five states after Bihar (9.8%), Haryana (9.3%), Kerala (9 %), and Uttrakhand (8.9%). Punjab recorded 7.4% unemployment rate (urban and rural) while the all India ratio was 5.8% for the year 2018-19.

Interestingly, Punjab government in the run up to the 2017 Assembly elections had promised one job to each household under ‘Ghar Ghar Naukri’ scheme of the state and lakhs of the youth had registered under the scheme to get job. In March this year, the Amarinder Singh government will complete 4 years in office after being elected on that promise among others.

This was a much touted poll promise of the government along with the ‘debt waiver to the farmers’.

As far as education is concerned, Punjab has done well in early childhood education and the state has recorded a high attendance rate of 61.6% of the children in the age groups of 3-5 years.

In Punjab, pre-primary classes were launched in 2017 and Education Secretary Krishan Kumar himself had visited door-to-door to educate parents about sending their wards to the pre-primary classes in government schools. Since then, teachers have been visiting door to door for such admissions.

Earlier, children of this age group used to go to Anganwaris, but in schools children are getting proper training from qualified teachers.
Meanwhile on other parameters of education too, Punjab fared well against National average. In primary dropout rate, Punjab has recorded a rate of 2.83% for the year 2016-17 against the national Average 6.35%. The state’s upper primary dropout rate was 2.89% against the national average of 5.67% for the same year. Secondary school dropout rate of the state was 8.60% against all India rate of 19.89%.

As for as transition rate is concerned, Punjab recorded 95.7% primary to upper primary transition against 88.6% across India. In elementary to secondary school transition rate, Punjab netted 94.3% against all India average of 90.3%. Secondary to higher secondary transition rate was 85.7% against all India figure of 66.4% for the same period 2016-17.

In the field of “the bare necessities”, Punjab has improved between 2012 and 2018.

The survey revealed that though access to “the bare necessities” has improved across India from 2012 to 2018 and the states like Kerala, Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat are at the top while Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Tripura are among those at the bottom. The survey revealed that in 2012 Punjab’s 50% to 70% population had access to the bare necessitates, while it was above 70% in 2018.

Survey mentioned that “it has improved disproportionately more for the poorest households when compared to the richest households across rural and urban areas. The improvement in equity is particularly because while the rich can seek private alternatives, lobby for better services, or if need be, move to areas where public goods are better provided for, the poor rarely have such choices”.

Survey further pointed out that “the highest access to bare necessities in rural areas across the country in 2018, is recorded in Punjab, Kerala, Sikkim, Goa and Delhi”.

The ESI cautioned Punjab about the impact of Covid-19 on Gross Value Added (GVA), labour markets and fiscal position, while adding that Punjab, though sheltered by the relatively resilient agricultural sector, is expected to experience informal labour shocks in the services sector.

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