Prime Minister Narendra Modi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb may not have a lot in common. But there is one startling similarity as far as their views on self-employment is concerned. Their prescribed views on self-employment have often baffled many youths. Whenever they say something or put forward an idea in public forum, it evokes extreme reactions. Deb, who was entrusted with the task of leading Tripura by Amit Shah and BJP top brass after the saffron party trounced the Left, has stoked controversies with a string of remarks.
With the Opposition consistently targeting the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over alleged lack of job creation in India, PM Modi had a few months ago created a controversy with his ‘pakoda jobs’ remarks. During a television interview, Modi had said that people, who earn Rs 200 per day by selling pakodas, can also be considered “employed”.
“If someone opens a ‘pakoda’ shop in front of your office, does that not count at employment? The person’s daily earning of Rs 200 will never come into any books or accounts. The truth is massive people are being employed,” PM Modi was quoted as saying by DNA.
In a remark, which is quite similar to that of PM Modi, Banerjee had a few years ago claimed that no industry is small even if it is a “telebhaja or chop (oil fry)’. She said that “even roadside ‘telebhaja” shops or sweet shops can be good ventures”. This remark had created quite a stir in West Bengal where the dearth of jobs has become poll issues for political parties.
The latest ‘gyan’ on self-employment came from the Tripura CM. Deb has advised youths of the state that instead of hankering after government jobs for years, they should venture into setting up “paan” shops or rearing cows and sell milk. He said that youth can earn lakhs by this way. “….Had the same youth, instead of running after parties, set up a paan shop, he would have by now had a bank balance of Rs 5 lakh. Every household must rear a cow. Here, milk sells for Rs 50 a litre. Had a graduate who has been searching for employment in the last 10 years reared a cow, then their bank balance would have been Rs 10 lakh by now,” CM Deb said.
A report published by The World Bank in January 2018 said, “West Bengal created many new jobs in the non-farm sector. However, these are mainly casual jobs, and female labour force participation remains low’. In Tripura, where Left was a dominant force for 25 years, lack of jobs and development were two of the key issues in the recently held state assembly elections.
As far as pan-India scenario is concerned, opposition parties have cited ‘Report on Employment-Unemployment Survey 2015-16’ which says nearly of half of India’s workforce (46.6 per cent) is self-employed out of which 41 per cent earn up to Rs. 5000 per month.