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India is the world’s biggest net importer of goods and services, but it is the largest recipient of unemployment benefits, a recent study by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) has found.
The report, titled India: A model of prosperity, found that in 2015, the country’s unemployment benefits were worth about Rs 4.7 lakh crore ($7.1 billion) but only about Rs 3.6 lakh crore of that went to people who could not find jobs and who needed help.
The average Indian woman, on the other hand, received a welfare package worth Rs 4,938 per month ($1,600) in 2015.
“If the Indian economic model is to continue to be a model for the world, the unemployment benefit system needs to be reformed,” said IPS’s Rajeev Tiwari.
The IPS, which also conducts research into policymaking, has studied a range of indicators, including gross domestic product (GDP), inflation, the gross value added (GVA), trade and investment, foreign direct investment, the level of education and the percentage of young people.
It said that although the unemployment benefits package was only worth Rs 1.6 billion ($5.2 billion) in the first five months of this year, this figure had increased to Rs 3,639.4 billion ($4.1 trillion) in March.
“The net gain of the unemployment package is only about 1.5% of GDP, but that is due to inflation.
This is because it does not cover the increase in the prices of goods or services that have been paid out,” Tiwary said.
The unemployment benefits system was set up by the Indian government in 1990.
It was created by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had been a former banker.
In 2000, it was expanded to cover people with less than 10 years of education.
It is estimated that over 80% of people in India do not have a job and many live on welfare, while others work in agriculture, construction or as part of unskilled jobs.
The welfare of women is particularly poor, with nearly one in three women receiving unemployment benefit.
The number of women on welfare is only 11% of the total workforce.
The Indian government is looking to increase this figure by a third, with the Centre set to launch a pilot scheme in January that will see the scheme extend to over 3.5 million people.
“We need to have a system that covers everyone who wants to join the workforce and helps them gain skills and get the support they need,” said Tiwarian.
According to the report, India is also the largest beneficiary of foreign direct investments (FDI) in goods and technology, with India’s FDI in the services sector being worth over Rs 14.5 trillion ($28.5 billion).
However, the report found that only around 1% of Indians have access to FDI.
The study also found that Indian women, as a group, are less educated than men.
This, along with the country being one of the poorest countries in the world and being one among the world leaders in the number of suicides, have been cited as reasons for this, Tiway said.