New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said the Narendra Modi government’s failure to create jobs for the country’s youngsters has created an “army of the unemployed” and tied it to the growing incidents of violence in the country.
Gandhi, who said recently that the 2019 general elections will be fought over issues like lack of jobs and healthcare, tried to address the job problem and reach out to the nation’s youth in a video that was tweeted by the Congress.
In the video, the Congress chief said that the central issue was that “30,000 youngsters are coming into the job market every day but only 450 of them are getting jobs.”
“We are creating an army of unemployed youngsters. A million a month. If you are unable to give youngsters jobs, they are going to get angry... That anger is being manifested in many different ways. You can see it in the farms and factories,” he said in the video walkthrough.
This, he said, is dangerous for India as it can lead to violence. “You can already see the violence beginning,” he added. Gandhi has previously, too, claimed that the incidents of lynching in India were due to "anger" emanating from joblessness.
According to a survey conducted by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), jobs were the biggest concern for voters in the five states that went to polls last month, and through the video, the Congress is trying to reach out to them ahead of the Lok Sabha election.
Other surveys have also shown that young voters, who will form a key swing constituency, are concerned about employment opportunities.
A survey conducted by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) showed employment is the prime concern of young Indians. When asked to nominate the most important issue facing India, 18 per cent said jobs and unemployment, about 12 per cent said economic inequality and 9 per cent said corruption.
The pre-poll promise made by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in 2014 — of providing 10 million jobs — did not materialise for the fourth consecutive year in 2018. The year saw an increase in unemployment which, according to Centre for Monitoring of Indian Economy (CMIE), reached nearly 7 per cent towards the year end as job creation failed to keep pace with high GDP growth.
Citing a media report which claimed that almost 11 million Indians lost their jobs last year, Gandhi also attacked the Modi government through a tweet on Saturday. “The Prime Minister is still singing ‘Raag Jumla’ (tune of rhetoric),” he wrote.
In the video, Gandhi also tried to answer the criticism that he only lists problems and offers no solutions, by saying that empowering small and medium businesses and the informal sector can help create jobs.
“The first step is to accept the problem. This government lacks focus. They talk about Swacch Bharat, Make in India, Startup India… all sorts of things except accepting that we got a job problem,” he said.
“India’s strength is small and medium businesses and the informal sector. You support these sectors, help these small and medium businesses become large businesses and they will give you jobs,” he added.
Gandhi said that the government, on the other hand, is spending all its energy on large businesses. “That is fine, but it can’t neglect the small businesses. They have attacked these sectors. Demonetisation and GST, these are brutal attacks, they basically wiped out these sectors. Without respecting these sectors, you can’t get jobs,” he said.
The Congress chief said that the only way out is to empower SMEs, help them connect to the banking sector and scale them up. “Don’t impose inspector raj and unleash taxmen on them, you will destroy their value.