Can Jobs Render Kerala And Its Property Market Lucrative For Youth?
The ageing population in Kerala still enjoys a good health and is confident about the set-up in which they live. The latest health index released by NITI Aayog listed Kerala as the top city in terms of health. However, here is what calls for attention. The Economic Review suggests that the state is heading towards a demographic transition – while the ageing population continues to grow- from six per cent in 1961 to 13 per cent in 2011- those in the working age group is coming down.
"If the trend continues like this, in the near future, the addition to the working age group will decrease as the feeder category (0-14 years) is diminishing," the Review said. The report noted that the proportion of population in the age group of 0-14 years has declined from 43 per cent in 1961 to 23 per cent in 2011. In short, without the working population increasing overtime, the government would be spending on social security, higher than before, every year.
Where are the jobs?
While the growing dependent population without active workforce working to enrich the government’s coffers could be a problem, the state should divert its attention to the number of jobs it can generate. The young population over the years have found it lucrative to move to the Gulf countries or other states in India. Kerala today boasts jobs in medicine, education, Ayurveda and tourism, hospitality, agriculture, fishery, construction, etc. Skilled workers often move out of the city for better work prospects. As per records, there were 2.5 million migrant workers in the state as of 2013.
Besides, here’s what is happening in the state:
*The Labour department suggested that around 25 per cent migrants left for their homes soon after demonetisation. According to the state planning board report, this segment was among the worst hit when it came to jobs.
*Of late, Nitaqat or nationalisation introduced in Saudi Arabia in 2011 by the Ministry of labour has rendered many NRIs hailing from Kerala jobless or desperately seeking new jobs. Nitaqat makes it binding on employers to hire a certain percentage of Saudi nationals depending on how big the company is. Upon failing to do so, the company would be penalised. About 1.2 million jobs that are now held by non-Saudis would be thus nationalised adding to the problem of expatrites. A household survey by the kerala government in 2013 suggested there were as many as 4.5 lakh Malayalees in Saudi Arabia alone.
Can Kerala ensure jobs for the diaspora if they come back?
Given the uncertainities, the population of those in the working age-group and staying back in Kerala is bound to be low. However, there is a silver lining too:
*The state government is keen on creating 10 lakh jobs in five years with the help of NRI remittances. Governor P Sathasivam said that these jobs would be majorly in the field of Information Technology, Electronics and Tourism. In the past, such remittances hadnt been utilised well, the Governor said.
*Kerala is working towards the investor-friendly tag. While inaugurating the Kerala Entrepreneurial Youth Summit 2018, Industries Minister, AC Moideen said that the government is keen on setting up industrial parks that would be fit for the entrepreneur-ecosystem. Apart from defence-manufacturing jobs, proposed rubber park, spices park, and petrochemical industries park were some of the new avenues. Meanwhile, the government is also pushing the agenda of skill development.
Jobs could be the only encouragement for Kerala’s young population to stay back and invest. With the government’s push, this could no longer be just a dream.
With inputs from Housing News