India’s youth want jobs, not Gadkari’s question “Where are the jobs?”

India has fallen from ‘Tryst with destiny’ to a tryst with pakoda and paan. PM Modi is devoid of a vision and mission which the youth of India desperately desire from its top leader

IANS Photo
IANS Photo

SN Sahu

The jobless and, in fact, job-less growth plaguing the Indian economy and frustrating the aspirational younger generation of the much acclaimed youthful India was best expressed by the Union Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari when he said on August 5, 2018, that there are hardly any job available for youth and, therefore, what is the meaning of demand for reservation of jobs being made by Marathas in Maharashtra.

The stark reality of absence of jobs admitted by the Union Minister constitutes an indictment of the claim made by Prime Minister Modi during campaign for general elections in 2014 that his Government would create one crore jobs every year. Lack of jobs was evident from the chilling explanation given by the Chief Minister of Rajasthan that the lynchings are taking place because people have no employment and livelihood opportunities. Such justification of lynchings is quite unacceptable. There is lack of jobs caused by demonetisation, which has to a great extent harmed the small and medium enterprises and resulted in the loss of jobs.

Youngsters are being asked to sell pakoda and paan

The hype by the Government that India has become the sixth largest economy in the world replacing France seems to be an exercise which only looks at the size of the economy and loses sight of its failure in preventing starvation deaths, creating jobs and offering livelihood opportunities to the millions of youth who constitute the mainstay of the demographic dividend for the country.

The restlessness of India youth for getting access to jobs which are secure and can fetch an adequate income for them is hardly understood by the present ruling leadership with sensitivity, care and urgency which it deserves. It was best represented by the Prime Minister himself when confronted with a question of his promise of creating one crore jobs has been fulfilled or not, replied that the fellow who sells Pakoda outside TV studio should be counted as an employed person who often does not figure in the statistics of the Government showing the people with jobs. It was a shocking reply by a Prime Minister who in the 21st century India is placing before the aspirational youth of India the example of a pakoda maker as the role model of an employed person who should be emulated. This is quite contrary to the definition of a job given by the International Labour Organisation.

When the youth remainsin the forefront in building the twenty first century India they look for acaring economy and economy which would fulfill their aspirations. We cannot doso by asking, “Where are the jobs?” when they agitate and affirmtheir legitimate demands as citizens of this country. The Government mustpositively respond by creating employment opportunities

India's fall from Tryst with destiny to tryst with pakoda and paan

When India got independence on August 15, 1947, its literacy rate was 15%, life expectancy 27 years and widespread poverty and backwardness came in the way of nation building. In the face of such intractable challenges, the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, provided exemplary leadership in tuning the whole country to what he called "tryst with destiny." It galvanised the whole nation and constitutes a beckoning call of all time to come to take India to its glorious position based on the strength of its human resources, scientific and technological capability and spiritual wisdom.

Prime Minister Modi's "tryst with pakoda" in contrast to Prime Minister Nehru's "Tryst with Destiny" is devoid of a larger vision and mission which the youth of India so desperately desire from its top leader heading the government.

It is all the more shocking that the president of BJP, Amit Shah, said in the Rajya Sabha that it would be better to prepare pakoda and sell them than to remain unemployed. The failure of such leaders in steering the economy of the nation to create jobs as was promised by them is an act of betrayal.

To inflict insult upon injury, the Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb asked the youth to sell paan to get employed and earn their livelihood. When both Modi and Deb campaigned for elections, it was not a part of their manifesto that jobs would mean ‘selling pakodas and paan’. And of course, the rising crises of unemployment has been happily attributed to the previous regimes.

The utter failure to create jobs as was promised by them and the candid question by the Union Minister Gadkari, after completion of four years of the Modi government, "Where are the jobs?" testify to the state of the Government and economy which are uncaring and uninspiring as far as youth of India are concerned.

The constant refrain of Manmohan Singh during his tenure as the Prime Minister of India was an economy for India which would be open and caring. In fact the caring economy was best reflected by numerous measures taken by his Government which included MNREGA guaranteeing employment for certain days for the vast masses of India who were provided job cards to get access to jobs. The Food Security legislation which his government enacted was historic. Instead of bolstering such empowering legislations, which mandates by law to fulfill entitlements of people and enhances their capability, the present leadership headed by Modi is setting before them the example of pakoda and paan sellers. It’s no wonder then jobs aren’t created because this is their vision.

Electronics revolution by Rajiv Gandhi created millions of jobs

To ask a question "Where are the jobs?" as was done by Union Minister Gadkari is to tell the youth of India that their future is hopeless as the promised creation of one crore jobs per annum by the government is a distant dream. Let us juxtapose this with the vision of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who said with great confidence that he was young and he too had a dream. In the face of trying circumstances, he heralded the electronic revolution in tune with the remarkable farsightedness of Jawaharlal Nehru who wrote in the Discovery of India that world passed through steam age, was passing through the age electricity and was bound to pass through the age of electronics.

The youth who propelled the electronics revolution is now asked to sell pakodas and paan. They are staring at a future devoid of hope.

State intervention is required to create jobs

It would be instructive to analyse the emerging scenario which is witnessing revolutionary changes and developments. In the 21st century, the world is inescapably getting tuned to the contours of emerging industrial revolution driven by robotics and artificial intelligence.

Instead of providing a vision and leadership for remaining at the centre of the fourth industrial revolution we are asked by our top rulers to feel glorious as pakoda makers. How can India face the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution based on tryst with pakoda and paan?

Mahatma Gandhi had said that even the God would not dare to appear before the hungry people except in the form of wages and food. It means state intervention and refining the neo liberal economy to ensure that it reduces income inequality and eliminates poverty.

Even the International Monetary Fund has come out with a publication titled "Neo liberalism oversold". The government catering to the corporate sector is defined by neo liberalism which would carry on with jobless and job loss growth. When India’s youngsters remain in the forefront, they look for an economy,which would fulfill their aspirations.

The government cannot absolve its responsibility by asking, "Where are the jobs?" when they agitate and affirm their legitimate demands as citizens of this country. The Government must positively respond by creating employment opportunities.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of National Herald

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