Unemployment is a common global economic malady, the level of which distintly varies between developed and under developed nations with Keynesian involuntary and frictional type in respect of developed nation and structural type as regard to under developed country like India which contributes to maximum growth of population and insignificant economic growth. Under employment or disguised employment has intensified its dimensions mainly in the rural sector where despite having capacity and willingness, persons fail to avail any gainful activities and as such job seekers out-number the job availability creating a major wastage of manpower. Unemployment in our country is partly due to overwhelming growth of population which has occurred in view of immigration from earstwhile East Pakistan and partially due to non-availability of land, less productivity, lack of industrial infrastructure, haphazard growth of educational institutions and expansion of education which is responsible for cropping up of new entrants in an already over crowded labour market. Agriculture being a seasonal activity fails to provide employment to rural masses throughout the year while perennial activity is not available in reality owing to excessive pressure of population. Exodus from rural areas coupled with slow pace of industrialisation has proved to be a constrain in providing employment opportunity to the growing urban population. Rapid expansion of general education mingted with slow growth of technical and vocational facilities has resulted in a peculiar educated unemployment problem. Accurate estimation of unemployment has become a tough task in view of ever increasing unemployment and under employment and failures of employment exchanges in recording correct figures. While unemployment in this State as a percentage of labour force has become double as compared to the country within 1985-2000 as per NSSO report, it is estimated to be 10.9% of total labour force with a total of 13 lakh (71%) registered educated job seekers, HSLC passed (51%) out-numbered HSSLC passed (30%) and graduates (16%) while technical and post graduate job seekers constitute a very minimal (3%) percentage. Placement of job seekers increased to 16% in between 2004 and 2005 constituting minimal (0.5%) increase in public sector and 9.3% increase in private sector with nearly 31% women employment in organised sector. Rural and women unemployment has become three times to all-India rate having acute unemployment among educated. Most of the self employed or partially employed youth bother a little to inform the employment exchange about their absorption which is also responsible for non-capturing of accurate employment situation. According to the NSSO report, the number of unemployed in this State is 18 and 24 per 1000 respectively in rural and urban area as against only 9 and 19 respectively in national level indicating a greater dimension of the problem in this State. According to the task force, the rate of unemployment in this State increased from 7.96 in 1993-94 to 8 per cent in 1999-2000 which is quite high compared to all India (nearly 7%), 2.93% of Himachal Pradesh and 3.06% of Rajasthan. Youths in this State are mostly interested in Government jobs in lieu of self employment or employment in private venture, which has enhanced the demand for jobs leading to major corruption in the recruitment policy. Ban on creation of posts and restriction on filling up vacancies has created mounting unemployment problem resulting in a grave political, economic and social disorder. Despite shooting up of GDP, employment growth in the State declined significantly within 15 years in agriculture. The call of the hour is to generate job opportunities through filling up vacancies considering intellectual achievement. It is necessary to locate certain sectors where unemployed youths can be accommodated suitably leaving aside Govt assignment. According to a study, the employment elasticity of various sectors varied significantly with primary sector of elasticity 0.74, manufacturing sector 0.19, trade and commerce 0.37 with overall average of 0.45. ILO having its goal of promoting opportunities for both the sex and ensuring security, freedom and dignity depicted persistent unemployment and dismal scenario of the world's employment situation in its

The UPA government is yet to set up an expert group to undertake a survey to identify people below the poverty line (BPL), even as the 11th Plan is already underway. The survey is normally conducted by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) in the first year of every Plan period. However with the government's delay in setting up the group, work is expected to begin only in 2009, the third year of the 11th Plan. In fact, the government is yet to set the criteria to measure poverty for the 11th Plan. In the last three Plans, different criteria have been used to identify the poor

Chidambaram may try to shift attention from high prices of essentials If everybody, including political parties, is talking about farmers it must be election time. Close to election, it has become more or less a trend for the government of the day to announce sops for the agriculture and rural sectors in its budget proposals. So even while the common man has to swallow the bitter pill of the "inevitable' petrol and diesel hike before the 2008-09 budget, there is a promise of a "populist budget' for farmers and the aam garib aadmi this year. Low growth rate With several States going to the polls this year ahead of the next year's Lok Sabha election, there may be an attempt to shift the attention from the high prices of essential commodities, low growth rate (2.3 per cent in the 10th Plan) in agriculture, the disconnect between a high Gross Domestic Product and the rural sector, with problems of displacement, migration, unemployment, suicides by farmers and impending food crisis. This budget is most likely to convey the last ditch attempt of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to redeem itself from the scars caused in the countryside by farmer suicides and dispossession of rural families on account of Special Economic Zones and other industrialisation projects. Without doubt, the Debt Relief Package for Institutional Loanee Farmers (as reported first in The Hindu) and the expansion of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) Programme will be at the centre of Finance Minister P. Chidambaram's budget proposals. Fertilizer policy Besides, it is expected that he will unveil a rationalised fertilizer policy to encourage balanced use of fertilizers, especially muriates, to revive farm soil. Some succour is also essential for the wives of indebted farmers who committed suicide. There is a growing demand to strengthen the National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and to have a Health Insurance Scheme for farm households, as various surveys showed that most the credits in the informal sector were not only farming related but also to meet the requirements of health, celebrations and even life-style. From all accounts, the pilot weather-based crop insurance may be expanded. Fund requirements It is estimated that the total fund requirement for the expansion of the NREGA from the present 330 districts to 600-odd will be about Rs. 16,000 crore. On the other hand, the debt relief, covering an estimated 35 per cent farmers who had availed themselves of bank loans, is estimated at Rs. 40,000 crore in the first year. The Union government will pay off the dues to banks. A Price Stabilisation Fund is also proposed to be set up with contributions from the government, banks and farmers. Well-placed sources hinted that the Finance Minister may cull out unspent funds from social sectors such as rural development, education and health to partially meet the requirement of the Farmers' Debt Relief Package. It is anybody's guess if the Minister will reduce the interest rate on farm loans from the current 7 to 4 per cent as recommended by the National Commission on Farmers. There is also a demand to raise the credit limit under the Kisan Credit Card scheme. There is an expectation that enhanced budgetary support will continue for the flagship rural programmes, including the swarozgar yojana (self-self groups), Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Indira Awas Yojana and the Drinking Water Supply programme. The highest increase, however, is expected in the Land Resources Programme under the Integrated Wasteland Management Programme. In the agriculture sector, allocation has to be enhanced for the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana to enhance production and productivity and to the National Food Security Mission to increase the output of rice, wheat and pulses. Both schemes are new and yet to take off. Irrigation schemes, horticulture mission and agriculture research will get the customary support, as growth in farm "allied sectors' comes from these areas. The National Rainfed Area Authority is most certainly likely to get financial support. Food subsidy The food subsidy bill is likely to cross the Rs 30,000 crore-mark. This is due to the wide difference between the minimum support prices (MSP) paid to farmers and the central issue price of grains sold through the Public Distribution System, as well as on account of the food grains import bill. The subsidy bill to go up further as the food grain stocks are expected to dwindle by April 1, possibly resulting in more imports. With apprehensions of an avian influenza pandemic, a comprehensive rehabilitation package for the poultry industry and bird flu-affected farmers, as part of a Bio-Security Policy, will be announced in the budget, if not earlier. However, the package may include only such poultry farmers, who get linked to institutional poultry farms and the industry. It remains to be seen how the government's packages will play out for the thousands of those in the informal sector who do not have the income and the collateral to avail themselves of institutional loans. Funds utilisation It is expected that in this last year of the UPA government's regime, the emphasis will be on consolidation, with focus on better implementation, monitoring and utilisation of funds. In particular, the Congress has shown signs of being zealous of taking credit for the central funds made available to States, to reap a harvest during election time. The biggest challenge, however, is making agriculture viable for the 82 per cent small and marginal farmers and bailing them out of the clutches of the informal system of borrowing.

Chandigarh, February 12 Gram panchayats have been actively involved to improve the functioning of public distribution system (PDS). Panchayat members would verify the entries of items of PDS made in the stock registers of the fair price shops of the State Food and Supplies Department.

prime Minister Manmohan Singh rightly called Naxalism a "virus' during a meeting with chief ministers of Naxalite-affected states. Unfortunately, he did not take the analogy further. A virus cannot

the Maharashtra government recently discovered 2.6 million fake ration cards in the state, including 700,000 fake cards in Mumbai. The state government has assured "strict action' against errant

our worst suspicions have been confirmed. Recent research shows that since its separation from Gondwanaland, the Indian subcontinent has been moving at a more rapid pace than its siblings

>> E-bay, the world's largest online auctioneer, has launched a website that allows people to invest in loans that lift people out of poverty. The website, called MicroPlace, acts as a broker between

One doesn't usually associate medical and scientific journals with anti-poverty campaigns. But more than 200 such journals from 34 nations ran simultaneous articles on a range of poverty and

The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (nrega), 2006, is degenerating into yet another poverty alleviation scheme. At the same time, officials are congratulating themselves on the act's