Four years of Modi government: “The great Indian election: it’s about jobs,” read a Reuters report just a few days ahead of the first leg of the polling in 2014. And it was: The manifesto of BJP was filled with promises of jobs across sectors. In fact, even BJP’s Prime Ministerial face Narendra Modi, the then 63-year-old three-term successful state chief minister, at a rally in Agra in 2013 promised to create 100 million jobs. He was voted to power with an absolute majority.
Four years later, even as 56% Indians still have faith in Narendra Modi that he will fulfil his poll promises before 2019 elections, they are simply not convinced that enough jobs have been created yet. Of 49 different ministries, Indians gave the lowest score to the Labour and Employment ministry in performance, namely, creating employment.
“Although the extension of maternity leaves was received well by the citizens, not enough new jobs being created for the youth was a major point of discontent among citizens,” LocalCircles said in a survey report on four years of the Narendra Modi government. Labour and Employment ministry got a score of 2.1 on the scale of 5, followed by agriculture which too received 2.1. In the same survey, people gave a stellar score of 4.9 to the Defence ministry for surgical strike and handling of Pakistan.
“With the rate of unemployment being high, citizen rating of the Labour and Employment ministry was almost
obvious,” the survey added.
Job creation has been a matter of debate lately. The government and its think tank Niti Aayog contend that jobs have been created in the form of entrepreneurship and in the informal sector. Niti Aayog is expected to release a report based on comprehensive jobs data.
For now, the CMIE data show that unemployment has significantly risen to 6% in last one year. However, the Chief Statics Office data show that the unemployment rate dropped significantly from about 10% to 5.9% between April 2015 and April 2018.
Speaking to FE Online recently Madan Sabnavis of CARE Ratings said that the jobless growth was a bit of an exaggeration. However, job creation has been slow and limited to certain sectors. He explained that in public sector, vacancies were for replacements, and not new posts, while a lot of jobs were lost in the construction sector when housing projects got stuck.
Analysts are also of the opinion that due to two consecutive drought years, jobs in the agriculture sector also suffered. In India, nearly half of India’s workforce is dependent on agriculture and jobs usually suffer due to the volatility in the sector — drought, unseasonal rains, bad crop et al.