Vol. XLII No. 23

Nothing but Pakodas

NARENDRA Modi had promised to create two crore jobs during the election campaign for 2014 general elections. This attracted massive support for the party and Modi because people were frustrated with a decade of jobless growth under the UPA. They thought achche din (good days) were finally going to come.

Four years have passed and Modi government has spectacularly failed on this count. In fact Modi sarkar’s policies have led to job losses rather than creating more jobs. In order to cover up his complete failure, Modi is now saying that ‘selling pakodas’ is also a job!

What is the proof that Modi Sarkar has failed in job creation? Here are some facts:

 Under Modi’s first two years, over 10 lakh jobs were lost, according to a study by the Reserve Bank of India. Total number of people working in the country went down by 7.7 lakh in 2014-15, and further by 3.8 lakh in 2015-16. (Source: RBI’s KLEMS Database)

 A quarterly survey of eight key industries carried out by the Labour Bureau since April 2016 has shown that in 18 months ending October 2017, a grand total of 5.56 lakh jobs were added. That’s an annual growth rate of a mere 1.8 percent of the labour force or about 4 lakh jobs per year. This is eroded if jobs are lost in other sectors as has been happening.

 India’s employment rate or workforce participation rate (percentage of 15+ years old persons employed) has fallen to a historic low of just 40 percent in March 2018, according to latest CMIE estimates. Two years ago it was averaging about 43 percent. That means about 1.43 crore people who were earlier been working are now out of job. They may be looking for new jobs or just biding the time, frustrated and sad.  

 Unemployment has touched 5 percent according to CMIE estimates. That’s about 2 crore persons. In addition, it is estimated by the government’s Labour Bureau in 2016 that about 35 percent of the workforce is either not finding year round work or is forced to work in very low paid casual work. That’s about 13 crore people. 

 Women’s employment continues to languish with the 2016 Labour Bureau report saying that just 22 percent of women in the 15+ age group were working. This is amongst the lowest in the world. Modi government has failed to even think up any plan or scheme for boosting women’s employment. In fact they had nothing to say on this in their 2014 Manifesto which had a whole section called ‘Woman – The Nation Builder’.  

About 2.46 crore people were added to the labour force (over 15 years age) every year through natural growth and ageing of population. Around 44 percent, about 1.15 crore of these actually seek work, because the remaining are either students or home-bound women. Far from creating jobs for them, Modi government has forced them to run from pillar to post in search of jobs.

That is why about 2 crore people applied for 1 lakh job vacancies advertised by the railway. In 2015, some 23 lakh persons had applied for 368 jobs of peons in Uttar Pradesh. In Haryana, over 18,000 persons applied for nine posts in a court. In Rajasthan, over 12,000 persons had applied for 18 posts in the state government secretariat.

Various industrial and services sectors have been throwing out workers because of either lack of suitable demand in the country or due to downswing in global markets to which they are now linked. These sectors include telecom, information technology, garments, leather, gems and jewellery, etc. The latest government release of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) shows that industrial growth is falling. Credit growth to industry, which indicates how much industry is investing and creating jobs, has fallen to a 54 year low. All these indicators confirm that there are no jobs – and not much chance of new jobs being created in the near future.

Meanwhile the agrarian sector continues to go through an intractable crisis of falling incomes and increasing debt. This has reduced its capacity to absorb any more workers. In fact farmers are being forced to quit farming and join the hunt for informal sector jobs.

What all this shows is that Modi’s promise of creating two crore jobs was just an election stunt. His government has shown no real effective will or vision to create jobs. They are now simply churning out fraudulent data to claim that lakhs of jobs have been added. But false data won’t fill the bellies of lakhs of distressed families.



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