Unemployment- one of the main agendas for election to 17th Lok Sabha

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Representational Image. Image credit: Debt.org.

On the campaign trail for the 16th Lok Sabha in 2014, Narendra Damodardas Modi had assured the creation of job for the youth on the monthly basis. Now as the outgoing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance government is seeking re-election for a second term, Senior Congress Leader and also Spokesperson of the party, Randeep Singh Surjewala termed Modi as the biggest destroyer of jobs, pointing to an unemployment rate which, he said, is at a 45 year low.

After seeking votes in 2014, Modi made all efforts to keep-up to the poll promises and launched the flagship programmes like Skill India, Make in India, National Skill Development Corporation India (NSDC) and a special schemes for the North Eastern Region as STAR programmes, making an attempt to equip the youth with employable skills. However, due to the absence of aptitude of the youth to pick up skills in these programmes, and lack of resource personnel to impart skills, the flagship programmes proved to be a disaster and have failed to generate employment. Even the attempt to re-employ the retired defence personnel for the same could not take off successfully.

Modi’s attempt to start from the grassroots, planning for the future, failed to understand the nerves of the India masses, who need to see results while the NSDC is taking too long to yield the same. At the same time, the parameters set for the programme were too difficult to meet. This has given the Opposition the needed ammunition to blast away at Modi and his NDA government while accusing it of a failure to create jobs in the last five years.

In Modi’s home tuff of Gujarat, through a big announcement, Congress President Rahul Gandhi has promised to roll out a nationwide guaranteed minimum income scheme for the poor, should his party come to power after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. He emphasized that the poor will get a minimum income directly in their bank accounts and that his party will find the resources for this.

Another drawback for the NDA government is the loss of jobs after the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was rolled out on July 1, 2017, where many small and medium industries were shut down and a number of artists, artisans and professionals lost their jobs which have added to the unemployment chart.

However, the rise of unemployment is not only during the NDA regime; it is an age old problem in India as neither the state nor the central governments have any blueprint for creating jobs not is there any available inclusive Industrial Policy. To create jobs, India needs something on the lines of the Industrial Revolution of Europe during the early 19th century, where avenues for employment were there for almost every nature of industry.

The education system in India needs a revamp, where more professional courses should be introduced. The attempt by the NDA government only to introduce vocational courses at the Higher Secondary Level will not help. The professionals with Industrial experience should be lured in to teach the students, so that the students will have the knowledge about the market’s demands, and be productive on day one of the job. Reservation and quota of teachers for all such professional courses is only resulting in the employing of unskilled personnel as resource persons, which will only produce unemployable youths, as of now.

In the case of Meghalaya, the educated youth should be encouraged to venture out into production and producing industries, and not to keep waiting for the opening of government posts which is resulting in artificial unemployment while at the same time not opening up avenues or employment.

More than the reality show through entertainment, Indian Television too should encourage show which can showcase creativity and encourage the winners’ idea or concept to go for mass production. The agricultural sector needs to be glamorized, so that the youth are attracted to the main-backbone of the nation, as the craze for the Information Technology sector is resulting in a scarcity of jobs which are only attainable after facing stiff competition.

It is futile to assure employment, unless the respective party’s manifestoes spell out the road map for the creation of job avenues and an investor friendly industry policy for India. In the absence of which, the problem of unemployment will remain an agenda for election without any solution for years to come.