National

‘Modinomics’: tweaking of figures on jobs in India

NEW DELHI, JAN 14 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 1/14/2019 11:00:32 AM IST

One year ago, Narendra Modi seemed invincible. Now, after a 3-0 defeat in the Hindi heartland, analysts are saying he might find it difficult to get even 200 seats in 2019.

Since December 2017, seven states where the BJP was a major player have voted in new state governments. In 2014, the party got 52% of the votes in these states. In assembly elections since then, the BJP’s vote-share has dropped to just over 40%. That means that nearly a quarter of those who voted for Modi in 2014 have moved away. Ground reports suggest their biggest grouse is the economy.

Team Modi might harp on how fast India’s GDP is growing, but it has begun to sense that ‘Modinomics’ needs a mega tweak. For four years, the Modi government’s economic policies focused on keeping food prices down, stopping a credit bubble from forming and bringing more parts of the economy under the tax net. To do that, MSPs were kept virtually static, a war was launched on NPAs and easy credit, 86% of the value of currency was demonetised and GST introduced.

These reforms, cheered on by pink-paper pundits, hit the poor the hardest. Farm incomes didn’t keep pace with inflation, small businesses were starved of loans, cash-dependent operations had to shut shop, real estate transactions ran to a standstill, and smaller entrepreneurs lost market-share to bigger, more organised, players. All this, ultimately, meant one thing: a massive jobs crisis. India’s largest private data collector CMIE says over one crore jobs were lost last year alone. Even salaried jobs, the holy grail of the Indian job-seeker, dropped by 36 lakh between early-2016 and mid-2018. However, that doesn’t tell the full story. Those with better technical qualifications and education did get jobs, but those at the lower end lost many more.

For instance, the number of white-collar salaried jobs increased by 23 lakh between early 2016 and mid-2018. 50 lakh new jobs went to people with non-industrial technical qualifications ranging from sales assistants to drivers, technicians to cooks. The number of industrial workers did drop till April 2017, but then recovered. By mid-2018, even salaried industrial jobs had gone up marginally, by 3 lakh, compared to early-2016. The people who lost out were salaried support staff. Peons, sweepers, janitors, doormen, security guards, drivers disappeared from offices. Their count dropped by 96 lakh in the same period.

But has Team Modi left it too late? Even the 10% reservation for upper castes, presented as a quota for the economically poor, is unlikely to fetch anything more than goodwill. After all, this government has systematically cut down the number of available government jobs. In fact, each of Modi’s moves will take time to work on the ground.

The Congress on Sunday targeted the BJP-led Centre over “growing employment” in India, citing a think-tank report to claim that over one crore jobs were lost last year. Referring to a report by the think-tank Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari alleged that the BJP-led NDA government failed to fulfil its promise of providing two crore jobs every year and that the country lost one crore jobs instead.

“During the 2014 elections, PM Modi had promised ‘’Acche Din’’ (good days), which included (providing) two crore jobs every year. In five years, this sums up to 10 crore (jobs).

“But recently, a reputed think-tank, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), released a report on employment. It states that more than one crore people lost their jobs in just one year (2018),” he said. Tewari said according to the report, in December 2017, 40.79 crore people were employed. In 2018, it was reduced to 39.07 crore.

“Which means more than one crore people lost their jobs. It is astonishing that more than 80 per cent of those unemployed were women and more than 90 per cent belonged to rural India,” Mr Tewari said citing the report. He also claimed that India’s unemployment rate increased to 7.4 per cent in December 2018.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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