With the pandemic taking over the world, there have been several big consequences. Apart from the health and safety risks during the pandemic, millions of people were laid off from several companies. Unemployment is a serious issue that has put a plethora of people’s lives at stake. With no income and scarcity of jobs, people are trying their hardest with menial jobs to make ends meet.

What is SDG 8?

Unemployment has always been an issue in the world. With more and more students graduating each year and the stiff competition in the market, most of the graduates fail to find jobs. Most jobs they end up with do not have fair pay and are substandard. Youth, immigrants, women, and people with disabilities face inequality and discrimination daily. The bias would be in terms of pay parity, working conditions, and the types of jobs.

To put an end to these disparities and make the world a better place for all, the United Nations curated the SDG goal 8. The 8th goal of the SDGs speaks about inclusive and sustainable economic growth, productive employment, and decent work for all. With this goal, the UN aims to achieve higher levels of productivity of economies through diversification, technological upgrading, and innovation, including through a focus on high value-added and labor-intensive sectors.

What are the targets of SDG 8?

The goal aims to sustain per-capita economic growth under national circumstances and improve GDP by at least 7% a year in the underdeveloped and developing nations. The increase in the country’s GDP would directly reflect on the employment factor and ability of the country. Sustained and consistent growth in economic indicators traditionally tells how well the country is performing economically – employment opportunities and improvement in businesses.

The UN aims to promote development-oriented policies that support job creation, entrepreneurship, and creativity and innovation. The goal also encourages the formation and establishment of MSME with initial financial support and aid. The Indian government encourages its citizens to pursue entrepreneurial initiatives under several schemes and policies like MUDRA Yojna, Start-UP India Initiative, Atal Innovation Mission etc. Under these policies, one could register and get help in terms of financing, patenting etc.

The goal also aims to improve and increase job opportunities and reduce the proportion of youth not in employment. With Startup initiatives, countries would be self-dependent and would enhance the job opportunities for youth in the country. With the job and economic stability of individuals, a country would become economically sustainable and provide higher opportunities for those who need them.

What are we doing to achieve the goal?

SDG 8 purposes on protecting labor rights and ensuring a stable and suitable working environment for all the works, that include employees with disabilities, women, migrant workers, and immigrants. In India, once a company is set up and registered, there are several sets of labor laws they have to register under as per the requirement. In case of any violation or failure to adhere to the codes, the company would be held responsible. Labour laws like, Factories Act, Minimum wages act, Abolition of Child Labour Act, ESI Act, Maternity Benefit Act are a few of the regulations that safeguard and protect the workers of an organization.

Skill Development initiatives are taken by the UN and the Indian Government as well. It is to ensure that graduates would have all the required skillsets to find a job and sustain themselves in the job market. SWAYAM and NPTEL portals, Skill-India are examples of the Skill Development Initiative in India.

The UN, along with National Governments has come up with several options and policies that would help improve a country’s economic and employment conditions. For only with education, employment, and exposure will a country grow and reach self-sustenance.