Millions in India jobless, 93% lack social security: WEF

12 January 2017

A staggering 93 per cent of working Indians will have no social security cover in 2017 even as the government would find it difficult to provide employment to its teeming millions, says a World Economic Forum (WEF) report.

In the 'Global Risks Report 2017', released on Wednesday WEF cites economic inequality, societal polarisation and growing environmental dangers are the top risks facing the world over the next 10 years.

While India has significant demographic potential, its capacity to create employment poses a serious challenge, the report said.

"Between 1991 and 2013 the size of the working-age population increased by 300 million, yet the number of employed only increased by 140 million. By 2017, a staggering 93 per cent of Indians will hold jobs without social security benefits.

"Solutions are being sought, as the government launches three mega social security schemes - accident coverage, life insurance and pensions," it added.

On growing income inequality, the report said, "In India, the top 1 percent grew its share of the country's wealth from almost 37 percent in 2000 to 53 percent in 2016."

The WEF report also expressed concerns that trends such as rising income inequality and societal polarisation triggered political change in 2016 and could exacerbate global risks in 2017 if urgent action is not taken.

Rising income inequality and the polarisation of societies pose a risk to the global economy in 2017 and could result in the rolling back of globalisation unless urgent action is taken, according to WEF.

Before its annual meeting in Davos next week, the WEF said the gap between rich and poor had been behind the UK's Brexit vote and Donald Trump's election victory in the US.

And it warned that there were new threats to social cohesion from the robotics and artificial intelligence revolution. The organisation said fundamental reform of capitalism may be needed to tackle public anger.

The WEF's annual global risks report culled from 700 experts found that rising income and wealth disparity, and increasing polarisation of sectors of society, were ranked first and third among the underlying trends that will determine the shape of the world in the next decade.

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