India’s Economic Growth faces a major obstacle on it’s path with the rising unemployment problem. The important promise made by the BJP was to create Jobs. BJP had chided the previous government for it’s failure in generation of employment and in it’s election manifesto for the 2014 general elections had asserted “The country has been dragged through 10 years of jobless growth by the Congress-led UPA government. Under the broader economic revival, BJP will accord high priority to job creation and opportunities for entrepreneurship.” This meant that the BJP’s important promise was job creation.
In order to generate employment the Government came up with schemes such as Make in India, Startup India, Digital India and Smart Cities but the 2015-2016 government survey report says the unemployment rate has increased from 3.8% in FY 2011-2012 to 5 % in FY 2015-2016. In 2015 1.35 lakh jobs were added to 8 different sectors all of which are labour intensive, a stark contrast to 9.3 lakhs that were added in 2012-13 period.
The Graph highlights unemployment between 2013-14 and 2015-16, and shows unemployment rates rising.
From July 2014 to December 2016, in the eight major sectors – trade, construction, health, manufacturing, education, transport, information technology, accommodation and restaurant – only 6,41,000 jobs were created. In comparison, these same sectors had added a total of 1.28 million jobs from July 2011 to December 2013. Specifically, jobs created by the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), which generates employment in rural and urban areas by initiating new micro enterprises and small projects, has fallen by 24.4% from 428,000 in 2012-13 to 323,362 in 2015-16.
On 31 May 2017, BJP national president Amit Shah had refused to acknowledge unemployment was on rise during three years of the Narendra Modi government and claimed it to be a media report.
Make in India
The aim was to increase the share of manufacturing sector to 25% of GDP by 2020 from 15% under the UPA-led government. However, the parliamentary standing committee of commerce (2017) indicated that “the manufacturing sector has grown only by an average of 1.6% in the last 5 years till 2015-16.”
Lack of support to local manufacturers has led to the failure of the project. Local apparel, footwear, textiles and leather industries lacked any support from the government in funding. This suggests that although the government aimed to ease the process of business and create more jobs, it could not achieve either.
Digital India has failed because the penetration of Broadband and internet connectivity in India which stands at 36.5 per cent of the population in 2017 is very low to base any ambitious programmes on it generate employment. The government further focused on increasing automation, as a result, major IT companies such as WIPRO, Tech Mahindra and HCL Technologies barely hired any new employees from 2015-16. The demonetisation in 2016 and the compulsive push to switch to online transactions resulted in the closing down of many local establishments that accepted only cash payments which adds up to number of unemployed.
Under the startup India scheme, the Modi government encouraged banks to provide financial assistance to young entrepreneurs to start their own business ventures. But, lack of innovation and skilled labour resulted in the shutdown of many new startups. Since 2015, as many as 1,503 startups have closed down in India. Those people who were took to business and had left their jobs are to said be struggling to get back employment.
Prime Minister Modi’s Skill India plan was to train 400 million workers in the age group of 15-45 years over a seven-year period. Out of 1.8 million people, who received training in the first two years of this programme, only a third could be certified and less than 82,000 were placed in jobs, which is quite disappointing.
It is time to realize that the future of India is not in the “fundamental debate” about the “choice between Android, iOS or Windows”, as Mr. Modi thinks. It lies in the building of a radically democratic society, which will not sacrifice human beings for technological utopias and which will ensure that the benefits of technology are harnessed in the most socially and ecologically just manner.