Employment: Beware of false promises!
‘Gajab Kiya Tere Wade Pe Aitbar Kiya
Tamam Raat Kayamat Ka Intezar Kiya’
The striking contrast between the promise made in 2014 of creating two crore jobs every year and the latest startling figures of unemployment reminded me of the above couplet of eminent poet Daagh Dehlvi.
One of the issues stressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the 2014 electoral battle was unemployment. He had promised to create two crore jobs every year after coming to power, but the unemployed kept waiting for jobs and when the truth came out they were stunned.
All this began with the resignation of two members of the National Sample Survey Organisation. It was alleged that despite the completion of the report, the Modi government is not releasing the figures of unemployment. The alleged report was ‘leaked’ by an English newspaper. According to the report, the rate of unemployment in Modi regime was 6.1 per cent i.e. the highest level in the last 45 years. In other words, the number of unemployed persons in 2018 was more than six crore. The Niti Ayog in a hurriedly called press conference claimed that the report has not been prepared as yet. The Niti Ayog also claimed that the number of the Employees Provident Fund Scheme has increased, which indicates employment growth.
If the report which has generated such political hullabaloo is true, then it disproves the claims of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government on the employment front. It also shows that all the plans of the Modi government to generate employment could not gather momentum. Whether it is Mudra Yojana or start-up or Make in India, none of these plans took off and eventually petered out.
There was a high rate of unemployment in the country in 1972-73. After that, the employment figures remained low, but such a huge army of unemployed was never seen. The report leaked from the National Sample Survey Organisation says that 18.7% youth and 27.2% of women from the urban area do not have any job. When the Congress government was in power in 2011-12, this figure was only 2.2 per cent. Similarly, 17.3% educated young women from the rural areas are unemployed. This section of the unemployed is in the age range of 15 to 29 years. The unemployment rate is so high that I receive hundreds of applications every month for jobs. I also receive a large number of such letters which earnestly appeal to help them get a job.
It is important to know what effect the ‘note ban’ and GST had on jobs. Every minister of the Modi government has been claiming that ‘note ban’ and GST did not make anybody jobless but on the contrary new jobs were created. Statistics of the Labour and Employment Ministry show that the rate of unemployment in the country in 2015-16 was 3.7%. That time ‘note ban’ and GST were not implemented. ‘Note ban’ was implemented in November 2016 and GST in July 2017. Between 2016 and 2018, the unemployment rate increased from 3.7 to 6.1 per cent. In simple words, the number of unemployed in the two years after the ‘note ban’ and GST has increased by about three crores. It can also be said that after the ‘note ban’ and GST, about three crore people lost their jobs.
No politics should be played on the issue of unemployment because it is a very sensitive matter. The more the number of unemployed, the weaker our economy will be. Uncontrolled unemployment only means that our economy is sick. We will have to go to the root of the causes of unemployment to find a solution to the problem.
India is called the country of youths. Out of our 130 crore population, 65 per cent is under 35 years of age. Ironically, there is no job available for people of less than 35 years of age. Today it is Modi government and tomorrow another government may come. Regardless of which party the government belongs to its highest priority should be to create as many job opportunities as possible. We urge the Modi government not to conceal the facts on the employment front. It must have definitely made efforts to overcome the problem of unemployment. It is a different matter that their efforts did not succeed. Whatever the reasons for this and whatever the government’s compulsions, they should not turn away from reality. I sign off by quoting the lines of eminent poet Nasir Kazmi:
‘Teri Mazbooriyan Doorast Magar,
Tune Wada Kiya Tha Yaad To Kar’
Vijay Darda has been the chief visionary and driving force behind Lokmat, a leading multi-platform media company. He is a recipient of several prestigious awards including the Feroze Gandhi Memorial Award for excellence in journalism in 1990-91.
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