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COVER STORY

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12-08-2022

Will I get a job? (August 12, 2022)

Editor’s Note: In January this year, youth in Bihar went on a rampage when a Railway recruitment exam policy was modified. They feared it would hurt their already slim chances—around 1.25 crore candidates had applied for 35,000 posts. In June, thousands of aspirants for jobs in the armed forces, who had been preparing for years and were waiting for recruitment to restart after the pandemic, were shocked when Agnipath arrived to dash their hopes. They erupted in fury. As always, political pundits and government apparatchiks were baffled. Why would a scheme that offers a well-paid job for four years and Rs.11 lakh when it ends be rebuffed? Only their surprise was surprising—everyone knows the enormous faith Indian families place in the lifelong security of a government job and pension. Instead, here was a scheme that asked them to start hunting all over again after four years. Understanding the rage is to understand that the absence of a social security net makes the sarkari naukri an average Indian’s safest bet. That one of every four young job seekers is unemployed, one of every four Indians is poor, and 10 per cent of Indians control 77 per cent of its wealth. The country is sitting on a tinderbox of discontent. To make a dent in the massive unemployment crisis, research shows that at least 90 million jobs must be generated by 2030. This is a tall order. Are we up to it? This issue looks at the unfolding disaster, possibilities to staunch the bleeding, and the social impact of joblessness. Does that sound bleak? Flip to the back of the book, where we serve soul food from the worlds of books, music, and art. And, of course, NASA’s stunning images from space.

Briefing

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The Non-Brahmin Hostel

Books
An excerpt from ‘Writer, Rebel, Soldier, Lover: The Many Lives of Agyeya’ by Akshaya Mukul (2022).
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FLQ - The Frontline Quiz!

Other
Brands, fonts, and spirits.
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Jean Dreze: ‘DUET is just an idea now’

Economy
“The Central government has shown no interest in an urban employment initiative.”
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Can the impact of automation on labour be absorbed by a robot tax?

Economy
The effect on a labour-surplus developing country might be devastating in the short term.
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MGNREGA: Safety net looks fragile

Economy
Though not the only solution to rural unemployment, it is an important social security measure.
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Droupadi Murmu emerges winner in a no-contest

News
The BJP’s claim of empowering the tribal community through her election might be mere rhetoric.
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AIADMK: A house divided

Politics
Edappadi Palaniswami tops rival O. Panneerselvam to consolidate his hold for the time being.
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In defence of Kali: Uproar over comments by Mahua Moitra

Politics
In public discussions on religion, it is the intolerant majoritarian view that is gaining ground.
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The jobs crisis is real

Columns
Three severe shocks to the economy in quick succession damaged the “informal” sector.
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Kaushik Basu: ‘Pay more attention to ordinary people’

Economy
In conversation with the economist and former Chief Economic Adviser.
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Zubair case shows it’s high time for a law on bail

India
Incarcerating citizens without trial while refusing them the benefit of bail has become commonplace.
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Skill India grounded: Problems plague technical training ecosystem

Economy
The system is managed and financed by the government instead of by industry.
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Will Japan seek its lodestar in the legacy of Shinzo Abe?

World Affairs
The political establishment will look to militarise Japan and move further to the right.
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The Trumpy Tory: Spirit of Boris Johnson lives on in Brexit-era Britain

World Affairs
The windy-haired Johnson is gone for now but his spirit of callous incompetence is very much alive.
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Can new age digital companies meet India’s massive workforce needs?

Economy
Business models of companies reveal precarious working conditions and exploitation of employees.
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Kallakurichi: Death and rioting in a school

News
While the death raises concerns, the systematic rampage seems politically motivated.
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DUET: A scheme for the urban poor

Economy
Economist Jean Dreze proposed the scheme in 2020.
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Unemployment crisis in India is an invisible epidemic

Economy
Instead of reaping its demographic dividend, India is staring at three categories of joblessness.
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The tale of two villages

Columns
Sleemanabad in Madhya Pradesh and Akarbad in West Bengal share an unlikely link.
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James Webb Space Telescope offers a window into the cosmos

Science & Technology
Each of the first images released contain previously unseen objects.
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President Biden looks no further than a US-led world order on Gulf visit

World Affairs
Biden’s first trip as President to the Gulf was not about bringing lasting peace to the region.
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Questions persist in Sri Lanka over abolishing executive presidency after election

World Affairs
Ranil Wickremesinghe’s election as President has not gone down well with most Sri Lankans.
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‘The moment reflected in the poster is about shared love’

Society
Leena Manimekalai is unapologetic about her depiction of Kaali.
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Northern Ireland’s peace walls — and the violence they saw

Travel
A tour of neighbourhoods deeply affected by violence during The Troubles.
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Vishnu Sutar (1942-2022): Unsung artisan

Music
The eminent tabla maker took pride in crafting instruments of enduring value.
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Where would the proposed Forest Conservation Rules leave forest dwellers?

Environment
The results can be disastrous for both indigenous communities and the environment.
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What explains the asphyxiating glut of biopics in Indian cinema?

Columns
Film-makers attempt to stun spectators into worship as opposed to crafting a complicated portrait.
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Starved of data: India’s hungry people go missing from FAO report

Health
FAO’s latest report found world hunger rising. However, India’s data on food insecurity is missing.
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Tribals at the receiving end in Madhya Pradesh 

Human rights
Perpetrators roam free; authorities in no hurry to bring them to book.
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Kerala Kalamandalam’s first female Kathakali pupils step into male bastion

Arts & Culture
With their entry, it’s curtains for a 90-year-old, male-only tradition at the Kalamandalam.
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Hum Sab Sahmat: Bent, not broken

Art
A new exhibition celebrating 75 years of Independence probes ideas of freedom and citizenship.
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‘Writing gives me complete freedom’

Books
In conversation with writer and actor Deepti Naval.
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Booze bumps: Time to turn around TASMAC from its terrible mess

Social Issues
Tamil Nadu should take steps to restore dignity to both workers and customers in its liquor trade.