[ps2id id=’editorial’ target=”/]From the Desk of Guest Editor

Fighting Unemployment  Challenges Post Covid In India

We all have seen how adversely the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the livelihood for India’s under-resourced youth across rural and urban areas.

Agreed, there is a somewhat of a revival in the economy but we are still a long way in ensuring sustainable livelihood for the lesser privileged, including youth both in remote or rural areas as well as the urban poor.

And if numbers are anything to go by, the latest data on the Indian economy shows that the unemployment rate in June 2022 was 7.8 per cent. With those in employment falling by 13 million to 35.8 per cent in June 2022 – its lowest level in two years. That is, less than 36 per cent of the working age population in India was employed in June 2022. CMIE’s report for Jan to April 2022, pegs  the unemployment among the under 25, at  over 40%.

Undeniably, there is an urgent need to reach out to youth especially the underprivileged, to provide them sustainable livelihoods.

A common denominator of the UN SDG goals is the world of work which is the principal provider of livelihoods and security. All the 17 UN SDG goals have an impact on the labour market and hence on providing livelihoods – some are directly linked(SDG8 – productive employment and economic growth for all, SDG1 – end poverty in all its forms everywhere) while with the others(SDG4- education and lifelong learning opportunities for all, SDG5 – equality and empowerment for all women, SDG10 – reduce inequality ) the connection maybe less obvious.

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It is crucial for labour market stakeholders, businesses, governments, NGOs, entrepreneurs, individuals, to come together and realise the tremendous opportunity, and responsibility they have to create a more sustainable future for themselves and the nation.

And no, we are not going to only talk about how grim the situation looks. Because we always believe, light follows darkness.

A Jan 2022 survey by TeamLease EdTech, a learning solutions company, reveals that nearly 70 per cent of over 100 Indian companies intend to increase their corporate social responsibility (CSR) spending in the current fiscal year, with on improving skilling and education.

Most of these companies spread across India will allocate more funds for training people in vocational and other skills to check the increasing problem of unemployability.

The survey also shows that 95.83 per cent of companies direct their CSR funds towards key areas like education, vocational skilling and livelihood improvement.

Bridge India is doing its bit by highlighting the work being done to improve livelihoods for the underprivileged by a few NGOs and corporates. And good work, we believe, should always be appreciated and showcased.

Because together, we can!

Happy Reading!

(Guest Editor, Social Sector Volunteer)

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How India Inc is tapping sustainable livelihood canvas

Be it using modern techniques in agriculture or spreading new mantras of tourism in the remote areas, CSR initiatives of India’s premier business houses now focus on long-term employment generation.

By Karan Bhardwaj 

With the rapid rise in inflation and joblessness, there’s a dire need for livelihood opportunities among youths. The challenge is to create sustainable employment avenues and prepare the workforce to meet modern challenges. As innovation and technology replace traditional methods, entrepreneurs as well as skilled professionals are expected to step up their game. The challenge is well understood by the Indian corporate and they are investing huge chunk of their CSR in transforming the greatest resource of this nation – people.


One leading example would be Vedanta Aluminium. The company’s CSR arm is investing money and building infrastructure to produce market-ready workforce. In Chhattisgarh, they have set up three skill schools in Korba, Kawardha and Mainpat, where more than 10,000 youth have been trained in various trades. Graduates from these schools have gained employment with some of India’s leading companies in power, steel, automotive, solar and hospitality industries. “India’s future aspirations hinge on its young, talented workforce having the right skills as the future of work evolves rapidly. By creating avenues for the local youth to get trained in such skills, we are helping them seek gainful employment both within their communities and beyond, thereby transforming the socio-economic fabric at grassroots,” Rahul Sharma, CEO, Vedanta Aluminium, has been quoted as saying.

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Even though the statistics show dismal representation of women entrepreneurs in formal and informal sectors, things are improving in a steady pace. Another bluechip corporate Jindal Stainless has focused on livelihood generation keeping ‘women empowerment’ at the centre of their schemes.  The training has been organised for the women in the rural areas for badi, papad, achaar, jam, chutney making, establishing boutiques and salons to training women drivers to operate JCBs and other vehicles. They have also been trained in dress designing, fashion technology and finance management. In addition, to empower women in the urban rural areas in states like Haryana and Odisha, JSL in partnership with Xynteo, a Norwegian organisation, and the UNDP have empowered women to work in the stainless steel sector by imparting training to women in cutting, welding, quality check and marketing of stainless steel products.

“Our programmes are implemented after carrying out baseline surveys with a focus on backward linkages, thereby encouraging a larger number of women to get engaged, enhance their incomes, and become self-reliant. Although building rural women’s resilience post-pandemic has been a challenge, with the support rendered the excitement to remain afloat can be well seen with the women undertaking their livelihood-generating activities with a firm resolve,” says an official from Jindal Stainless Foundation. 

To help women recover from pandemic woes, the Foundation joined hands with Mudra Foundation, a Bhubhaneswar-based organisation that unifies artists from various segments to propagate art and culture. The project trains women to produce world-class handicrafts. The items include bags, wine bottle holders, earrings, coasters, lampshades, etc. made of golden grass, a wild variety of grass that is in abundance in Jajpur area. These products were showcased and traded across India, also in USA, Switzerland, and Japan.


Since India is an agrarian economy, there’s a wide scope of transformation in the agriculture sector. Vedanta Aluminium is helping farmers impart new techniques in their everyday agriculture practices. They run Jeevika Samridhhi, a land and water management programme in Jharsuguda to help hundreds of farmers improve planning, harvesting and management of crops, package of practices (PoP), organic farming and natural pest management. The idea is to increase farmers’ income by encouraging adoption of, and training them in, advanced practices through agri-scientists from Krishi Vigyan Kendra and other agricultural research institutes.


Ever since the pandemic lockdown has been lifted, domestic tourism has produced a great stream of revenue. As people indulge in ‘revenge travel’, corporates see great potential in the tourism sector. Take Eicher Group Foundation’s efforts in making inroads into the remotest areas of Leh and Ladakh. In collaboration with Global Himalayan Expedition, it is focusing on holistic development of more than 14 villages with the work of solar electrification and investment on innovations in the education and livelihood sector. Their project ‘Mountain Homestays’ aims to provide livelihood generation opportunities for the local communities. Individuals are identified and trained free of cost to set up local professional homestays and invite global tourists. In Ladakh, the Foundation says their Mountain Homestays are emerging as an empowering opportunity specifically for women living in villages. 

These interventions at an individual and community levels are supporting both demand and supply in various sectors. Such sustainable livelihood options give a ray of hope to millions of people, and thereby, strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit of new India.

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NGOs resolve to transform livelihoods strikes a chord

Post the pandemic lockdown, thousands of women and people with disabilities have been able to gain financial independence with laud-worthy efforts of leading NGOs. 

By Karan Bhardwaj 

The pandemic might have showed signs of retraction but the economic void it has created continues to wreak havoc. Thousands of people who migrated back to their native places are now struggling to regain livelihood. And those who were already marginalized due to gender or ability-specific discrimination have further plunged into darkness of hopelessness. In such crucial times, some NGOs have assumed larger responsibilities to help these people stand back on their feet. They have launched multiple initiatives to enhance gender equality, income enhancement, ecological sustainability, inclusion of the poorest, and food and nutrition security.  

Empowering youth

NGO Pradan realised there’s an urgent need to provide support to traditional livelihood methods as well in rural areas as many youngsters aspire to migrate back to urban centres for bigger rewards. They held a series of discussions with villagers who need sustainable options to upgrade their living. “So we came up with AE model (Agriculture Entrepreneur) model to provide various kinds of services to farmers. We give them access to good quality inputs such as seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, or quality sapling supplies through setting up the nursery, farm-mechanisation services, or output aggregation and market linkages. This ensures good services to the farmers and at the same time generate good income for AEs,” said Saroj Mahapatra, Executive Director, Pradan.

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Pradan is promoting ‘Pashusakhis’ to provide end to end services for integrated livestock rearing. The services are related to feeding, vaccination, treatment, and marketing of livestock. “We have also started Yuva Shastra programme which involves engagement with youth to discover their calling in life, thereafter supported by linkages to skilling partners and employers. The programme has now spread to many teams across M.P., Jharkhand, and Bihar, with varied engagement methods,” said Mahapatra.

For the youth, ChildFund India is leading efforts to create income generation avenues. It’s 3E model, which stands for employment, entrepreneurship, and empowerment, is designed to support adolescents and youngsters in the age group of 15-24 years. Implemented now for over four years, the model focuses on major areas such as promoting civic and community engagement among youth and equipping them with required skills to get employed or become self-employed in a non-exploitative environment. “Our exclusive livelihood programs were introduced to create an impact in the community at large aiming at care givers, parents and youth to help them break the generational cycle of poverty,” Ananth K, Sr. Specialist, Livelihood, ChildFund India, told Bridge India, adding, “In urban areas, we focus on promoting micro enterprises. In addition, the skill development interventions also contribute for supplying skilled manpower to other sectors.”  

Women entrepreneurs  

Women empowerment programmes have become a focal point for these NGOs. ChildFund India promoted a programme that touched 15,600 women in Karnataka and Maharashtra. These women were provided with entrepreneurship training and a start-up fund. They are now in the process of initiating their enterprises. Similary, Pradan quotes numerous examples of women from minority communities overcoming big hurdles to complete their training amidst the lockdown and seek employment in Delhi NCR areas and beyond, far away from remote districts in Bihar. Their ‘Flight’ project, launched in late 2021, is helping 750 young women in their quest to complete higher education. “The idea is to strengthen their employability skills and build strong ground for them to come into the mainstream workforce,” said Mahapatra from Pradan. 

Mainstreaming PwDs

Besides women and children, the pandemic has added woes to the people with different abilities. Now their struggle to join mainstream workforce is more challenging than ever before. However, NGO Sarthak is acting as an instrumental bridge between corporate employers and PwDs (Persons with Disabilities). Ever since its inception in 2008, Sarthak Educational Trust has ensured market-oriented training and placement of more than 35,000 individuals with disabilities. The Trust has partnered with more than 2,000 corporates in various sectors like IT/ITES, retail, hospitality, e-commerce, telemarketing etc. PwD’s affected by visual impairment, orthopedically challenges, speech & hearing impaired, have been successfully got sustainable employment.

“We engage with different employers to sensitise them on the capabilities and talent of PwDs by conducting workshops and meetings with top management. This is followed by job mapping with the partners to ensure right-fit of different disability candidates in different job roles available with them. We also organise job fairs and arranges interview drives to place the PwD candidates. Through networking & liaising, and other advocacy events like sensitization workshops, regional summits etc.,  new corporate partners are persuaded and sensitized towards diversity and inclusion in the workforce,” said Dr. Jitender Aggarwal, Founder, Sarthak.  

“We engage with different employers to sensitise them on the capabilities and talent of PwDs by conducting workshops and meetings with top management. This is followed by job mapping with the partners to ensure right-fit of different disability candidates in different job roles available with them. We also organise job fairs and arranges interview drives to place the PwD candidates. Through networking & liaising, and other advocacy events like sensitization workshops, regional summits etc.,  new corporate partners are persuaded and sensitized towards diversity and inclusion in the workforce,” said Dr. Jitender Aggarwal, Founder, Sarthak.  

These constant efforts are slowly helping marginalised sections to play constructive and productive role in the economy. This way, they are poised to become financially independent and perhaps break the shackles of ignorance and poverty which have kept them at bay for decades.

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Impact Making NGOs – Livelihood

Development Happenings

By The Bridge India Correspondent

Sensitization to corporates about needs of Specially abled

Noida Deaf Society (NDS) , an NGO which has been working for deaf community, understands their need. The team of NDS realized it is of vital importance to make people aware about the needs of the people who are hard of hearing. 

NDS team organized a sensitization session with Shangri-La Hotel employees. They explained about the Deaf community. They underwent interactive sessions on Indian Sign Language and interacted with deaf students and trainers.

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NDS left no stone unturned to create awareness about the needs of the people who are hard of hearing. They availed the opportunity of Diversity and Inclusion Week and sensitized the team of IBIS hotel Jaipur on inclusion and diversity. Many Deaf candidates along with the hotel staff participated in different activities such as story- telling, origami during the session.  

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“Bridging the Gap” in the emerging Care & Support need of the elderly in a post Covid India

As the acute phase of the pandemic is over and as the world is slowly limping back to normalcy, the elderly is also slowly opening their eyes to the emerging new norms. The elderly has unique contextual needs & issues emerging from the pandemic. This has to do with financial dependency which is pushing them to work and a struggle with digital usage as the world has moved on to a digital mode of transactions. As the family is not able to spend enough time with them, they feel left out & neglected.

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The emerging new issues and needs of the elderly in a post Covid world necessitates an appropriate response from the society and the government. Sadly, in India, such a response and elderly sensitive mechanism is grossly lacking. In such a scenario, the elderly are looking at a future which is bleak from the perspective of their care and support impinging on their very existence and basic human right to lead a dignified life. 

The absence of an elderly sensitive and facilitative environment in the country necessitates the urgent need for exploring the roadmap which guarantees the basic minimum care for the elderly especially in the context of Covid19.

HelpAge India an NGO working for the elderly organised a webinar to address the needs of the elderly and organised a webinar titled “Bridging the Gap” in the emerging Care & Support need of the elderly in a post Covid India.

The webinar has eminent speakers from Government, Corporates and NGOs and discussed about Issues concerning elderly in India, government response and strategy, perspective from elder care and corporate sector was discussed.

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