What are your ‘fresh ideas’ on jobs, Prime Minister, to counter Congress’s guarantees?

BJP is yet to release its poll manifesto but PM Modi has been relentlessly attacking the ‘bankrupt ideas’ in the manifesto released by the Congress. Here is a laundry list of the ‘bankrupt’ ideas

PM Modi and the BJP had pledged in 2014 to create 20 million ‘jobs’ every year (photo: PTI)
PM Modi and the BJP had pledged in 2014 to create 20 million ‘jobs’ every year (photo: PTI)

AJ Prabal

The unemployment rate in the country ranges from 10 per cent (for age 15-29) to 42.3 per cent (for graduates under age 25) to 9.8 per cent (for graduates of age 30-34), notes the Congress manifesto, which goes on to lay down some of the specific steps to be taken.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s yet-to-be-released manifesto is beingly eagerly awaited, especially after PM Modi trashed the Congress for bankruptcy of ideas. Known for his preference for catchy marketing slogans, there is an air of anticipation as people await BJP’s pledges. PM Modi and the BJP had pledged in 2014 to create 20 million ‘jobs’ every year. It was later diluted to include self-employment as the PM had famously said that frying pakodas and fritters was also ‘job’.

The Congress manifesto apparently considers steady jobs with steady and assured income generated by the government, PSUs and the private sector as the solution to the crisis and not unsteady, contractual and temporary work. Here is a list of what the PM calls the ‘bankrupt’ ideas of the Congress to generate employment. How the BJP and the PM improve upon them remains to be seen.

1. A ‘New’ Apprenticeship Act which guarantees every graduate and diploma holder below the age of 25 apprenticeship for a year on an annual compensation of Rupees one lakh each. It is worth recalling that there is already an Apprenticeship Act which mandates units employing minimum 30 employees to take in apprentices.

2. An employment-linked incentive scheme for the private sector and industry to encourage them to employ more people

3. An urban employment guarantee scheme on the lines of MGNREGA to take care of the basic needs of the poor migrants to the cities

4. Doubling of ASHA and Anganwadi workers on enhanced payment to strengthen the programmes and give employment to women.

5. Abolition of contractual jobs in government and in PSUs

6. Filling up 30 lakh vacancies of sanctioned posts in the central government

7. Abolition of the Agnipath scheme and open up the old recruitment system for the defence services

8. Reserving half the jobs in the central government for women to increase women’s participation in the labour market

9. Increasing the number of Navodaya schools and Kendriya schools, filling up teaching and non-teaching vacancies

10. Appointment of paralegals in every panchayat to help women enforce their legal rights

11. Panchayats to establish and maintain solar grids which will also help generate jobs

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