Modi govt failed spectacularly in generating jobs; unemployment crisis set to worsen

Narendra Modi as a prime ministerial candidate in 2013 had first promised one crore jobs every year, and later in 2014 promised jobs for all, but he clearly didn’t mean a word of it

Representative (IANS Photo)
Representative (IANS Photo)

Dr Gyan Pathak

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a ‘Rojgar Mela’ (fair for jobs) in Bhopal on October 22, 2022 with great fanfare, propaganda, and photo-sessions for media consumption. It was all meant to commend his government’s efforts of creating jobs in the country in the last eight years. The reality, however, is that unemployment attained historically- high levels ever since he came to power in 2014.

The figure plummeted to a 45-year high of 6.2 per cent in 2018 and continued rising even thereafter to 7.9 per cent on October 24, 2022 as per CMIE data.

No one needs a great mind to understand the falsity of the Modi govt’s claims of good governance in this frightening unemployment scenario in the country. Organising such ‘fairs for jobs’ is a very poor substitute that the Modi government resorted to, since in the present ‘fair’, only 75,000 jobs were reportedly given when millions of people have been jobless for years. 

Quite clearly, the Modi govt has no intention to give employment to all, and their denial in Parliament of preparing a National Employment Policy is proof of the same, even though it was recommended by the Indian Labour Conference (ILC), the highest tripartite body on labour policies, in 2013. 

The National Labour Conference organized by Modi government in August 2022, should not be confused with ILC. This only aimed to further the implementation of the four controversial labour codes which were brought without consulting ILC, and which are anti-labour and pro-corporate in essence, which will ultimately lead to job losses at even faster rates than now.

Modi government’s real intention was exposed in February 2022, when it curtailed the MGNREGA budget by 25 per cent, at a time when the demand for MGNREGA jobs was higher than earlier. Since it is a demand-based scheme, every effort was made to discourage workers not to demand work in this scheme. 

The chief among them was non-payment of wages for months, which the Supreme Court of India termed as “modern day slavery” last year.

Despite this fact, for political reasons, the Modi government continues to pretend that it is seriously working for providing jobs to the unemployed of the country. His government has been criticised on this front by all political parties in the Opposition, as well as the unemployed. 

It should not be out of place to mention here that Narendra Modi as a prime ministerial candidate in 2013 had first promised one crore jobs every year, and later in 2014 promised jobs for all, which was interpreted as 2 crore jobs every year on the basis of the requirement on the ground level. However, this just remained a poll promise, and there was never any intention to solve the unemployment crisis.

The ‘fair for jobs’ that PM Modi launched would reportedly recruit 10 lakh people. Given his failure of keeping promises on the jobs front, we can well suspect even this report. 

Modi had directed various ministries and departments in June this year to recruit more than 10 lakh people in the next 18 months. That the ‘fair’ organised after four months provided only 75,000 jobs speaks volumes about the government’s dismal performance.

However, Mod patted his own back by explaining the rationale behind the ‘Rozgar Mela’, saying, “We decided that a tradition of giving appointment letters in one go should be started so that a collective temperament of completing projects in a time-bound manner develops in the departments.” 

If in four months, you are giving only 75,000 jobs, how can you give 10 lakh jobs in 18 months? 

Modi enumerated several government schemes and the crores of jobs created by his efforts. However, the present ground reality contradicts his overall claim of providing jobs. To camouflage and conceal the reality, he said that India grew rapidly during his regime from the 10th largest economy in the world to the 5th largest, but he did not mention that such a growth had worked only for rich, and it was ‘jobless growth’. 

The labour market has been highly volatile and uncertain. People are getting jobs one month and losing them in the next. For example, in the month of June, when Modi announced a recruitment drive by the government, the unemployment rate in the country was 7.83 per cent, which came down sharply to 6.83 per cent in July, rose to 8.28 per cent in August, and came down to 6.43 per cent in September. 

Now in October, it is likely to rise to about 8 per cent, despite the festive season and the beginning of the economically busy six-months period of the year. It shows that the so-called economic revival is not working for the workforce in the country. 

Now more hardship is waiting for the workforce of the country. A recent survey report titled ‘KPMG 2022 CEO Outlook’ has found that 58 per cent of the CEOs in India expect recession and possible job cuts. About 46 per cent of CEOs globally are looking at job cuts, and 39 per cent have already frozen hiring. 

Reports of job cuts are appearing daily in the media. It indicates very hard times ahead with a large number of job cuts. There seem to be only two options – provide jobs or social security coverage to avoid disastrous consequences for the workforce. 

Holding of an event such as the ‘Rojgar Mela’ in question is akin to an ostrich burying its head in the sand. 

(IPA Service)

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