Employment Strategy for India's 8th Five Year Plan

Jan. 12, 1992


Generating employment opportunities for the entire population is an essential foundation and stimulus for national development. Jobs generate incomes, incomes support consumption, consumption raises demand for goods and services, thus generating more jobs.

The Eighth Plan envisions the creation of enough new jobs in the 1990s to meet the employment needs of all those who are presently unemployed or underemployed as well as those who will enter the work force during the decade. By best estimates approximately 100 million additional jobs will be needed in order to achieve full employment by the year 2000.

Given the limited financial resources available for investment, the full employment strategy places emphasis on low cost, high value added jobs in fields with the greatest immediate commercial potential. The high value added criterion will ensure that the jobs can support reasonable wage levels without welfare subsidies.

As far as possible the strategy seeks to create the jobs in sectors and areas where unemployment is now the greatest--which means large numbers of rural jobs related to agriculture. Only such a strategy can stem the tide of urban migration. Although the long term strategy must aim to reduce the percentage of the work force engaged in agriculture to levels comparable with the more developed nations, in the short and medium agriculture can and must provide remunerative employment for large numbers of persons seeking jobs, especially landless, unskilled, rural labour.

It has been observed and documented that wherever agriculture has been modernized, industry flourishes and labour becomes scarce. By a shift in perspective and strategy, agriculture can become a primary engine for the growth of the entire economy. Drawing upon India's competitive advantage in many cash crops, the plan supports a shift from extensive to commercial agriculture linked with downstream agro-industries and agro-exports. Emphasis is placed on creating jobs in sectors that can stimulate growth of industry (e.g. cotton and silk textiles), provide for nutritional and food self-sufficiency (e.g. horticulture, oilseeds, dairy, aquaculture, poultry), and protect the environment (e.g. wasteland development for farm forestry).

The primary role of the government will be as a catalyst and facilitator rather than direct employer. Investment will be directed to build up the necessary physical and social infrastructure to support more jobs in the private sector. Government will provide essential support for unleashing a social movement of development by the population, which will have multiplier effects throughout the economy. It will also concentrate on creating public awareness of commercial and employment potentials and support for education and training programmes that impart new occupational skills to the people in fields where they are needed.