Seasonal and Technological Unemployment

Seasonal and Technological Unemployment:

Seasonal Unemployment- Certain activities such as agriculture, industries based on the processing of agricultural produce (such as sugar mills, rice-shellers, cotton-ginning units, etc.), and activities servicing agricultural production or seasonal consumer needs show a decline in activity in certain seasons.

As a result, those engaged in these activities become unemployed for the time being. The employment policy, therefore, needs to include measures for reducing the volume of seasonal unemployment. These may include:

  • Promotion of multiple cropping (that is, raising more than one crop on the same piece of land in a year) by spreading irrigation, intensive use of fertilizers selective mechanization (to speed up the preparation of the soil for the second crop after the first one has been harvested), short duration varieties and relay cropping so that agricultural activity is maintained at a high level over the greater part of the year.
  • Development of activities allied to agriculture such as animal husband, dairy farming, horticulture, and fish culture, to provide extra employment to the agricultural labor force throughout the year.
  • Carrying out the Plan programmes of public investment in rural areas in such fields as irrigation, drainage, flood control, land, and environment improvement, rural roads, schools, hospitals, community building afforestation on public lands, and residential housing and amenities for the rural poor mostly in the slack agricultural seasons.
  • Promotion of on-farm investment, an overhaul of machinery, training of farm labor, and programmes for the eradication of illiteracy during slack seasons.
  • Mechanization of peak season activities so that a proportion of the labor Force is permanently shifted from agriculture to non-seasonal activities and surplus labor in the slack season is reduced.
  • Establishment of a variety of industries which operate at different times of the year so that labor may be kept employed almost throughout the year by shifting from one season industry to another.

Technological Unemployment- In an economy that is undergoing considerable technological change, some technological unemployment is inevitable. This term refers to persons who have been put out of work by the introduction of superior technology in their area of operation. For instance, truck and bus transport may render idle numerous operators of hand-pulled or animal-drawn vehicles; a textile mill or a rice-sheller may put out of work numerous handloom weavers or hand pounders; and an electric saw may result in unemployment of the many who were previously employed in manual sawing of timber. In most such cases, it may not be a proper solution to the problem to put back the clock of technological and economic progress by forcing a return to the old technology by taxing modern units and subsidizing old units, or by just banning or administratively limiting technologically advanced units. Instead, the proper solution would be to retrain the persons rendered idle by technological progress for employment in technologically superior units or elsewhere in the economy.

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