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`Growth of manufacturing sector key to combat unemployment'

Our Bureau

Chennai , Jan. 21

EVERY year, some 10 million people enter the job market in India. But there are only about 4 million new jobs created every year. And, there are 50 million unemployed people registered with various employment agencies.

An alarming situation and the Government is very concerned about it, according to Dr V. Krishnamurthy, Chairman, National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council.

Speaking at a national seminar on industrial gases organised by the All India Industrial Gases Manufacturers' Association, Dr Krishnamurthy observed that agriculture would not be able to provide much additional employment opportunities.

Job opportunities of the kind that is required by people in rural and semi-urban India can only come from growth in manufacturing, he said. Today, the manufacturing sector contributes 17 per cent to India's GDP, compared with China's 35 per cent and Thailand's 32 per cent.

Therefore, there is a need to raise manufacturing sector's contribution to at least 30 per cent. The problems hindering the growth of the sector include infrastructure and high costs of inputs. The Government knows about this and is "doing something about this," Dr Krishnamurthy said, but cautioned that there would be no quick solutions.

He observed that less than two per cent of the food material produced was processed and over a third of fruits and vegetables went waste every year. Similarly, although India has the world's largest cattle population, its contribution to leather trade was less than two per cent, he said.

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