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Modi’s new election Jumla for Gram Panchayat

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While campaigning for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Narendra Modi had promised to create 2 crore jobs. Four years have already passed but the Modi government is yet to fulfil the promise made by them to the voters. Despite its failure to generate employment, Modi has now shifted the onus towards the rural voters and has promised to offer 2.5 lakh stable job opportunities in nearly Gram Panchayats across the nation under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana. The urban voters have traditionally been known as BJP’s vote bank but the party is aware that the rural voters will play a decisive role in deciding its electoral fortunes in the next year’s general election. Therefore, BJP is making an attempt to reach out to this section of voters.

Congress MLA Praniti Shinde said, “People are now aware of the fake promises made by the BJP government. They have made this announcement with an eye on the next year’s Lok Sabha polls. These are all election Jumlas and nobody will believe in it. While campaigning for the 2014 general election, BJP had promised to create 2 crore jobs but they have not been able to generate 2 lakh jobs so far. People have lost faith in the government.”

A question which arises here is how BJP will fulfil the promise of creating 2.5 lakh jobs in Gram Panchayats when it has been unable to generate enough employment in the country? Is the party only trying to attract the youth voters who form a major chunk of the electorate? As per the statistics provided by the Labour Bureau, job creation for 2015 and 2016 (April-December) stood at 1.55 lakh and 2.31 lakh.

NCP MP Vandana Chavan said, “It is a pre-decided promise for 2019 elections. The Modi government had promised to create 2 crore jobs but they have failed to deliver. The schemes of the government like Skill India, Startup India have failed to yield the desired results. Youths have become frustrated; hence, the Modi government is making new promises for winning the election. We hope that people will not believe in their Jumlas.”

“The government had allocated inadequate budget for the healthcare industry and finance sector. It is the government’s job to develop skills, implement welfare schemes and provide job opportunities,” she added.

As per the 2016 survey of the labour bureau, it was noticed that jobs were shrinking in biggest employment generation sectors like leather, textiles, automobiles, gems and jewellery, handloom, transport and information technology. These figures only point out a huge disparity between what was promised by the government and what was actually delivered by it. On the other hand, more than 10 lakh jobs were created during the reign of the UPA government in 2009.

MNS leader Shalini Thackeray said, “Modi has made several promises before and after the election. Skill development was their agenda prior to the election. Farmers have been the worst affected due to the government’s flawed policies. The government has announced to provide 2.5 lakh jobs in Gram Panchayats with an eye on the election. Several schemes have been announced by the government but they have failed to implement them. After demonetisation and GST, several small and medium scale businesses have shut down.”

The government lacks the political will to create enough jobs in the country. Instead, PM Modi himself stated that the government had given more emphasis on self-employment and loans have been disbursed for it. He also mentioned that a person earning Rs 200 a day by selling pakodas too can be considered as employed. Former finance minister Chidambaram took a jibe at Modi’s remark and stated, “Through this logic, even begging can be considered as a job. Let’s count poor and disabled persons who are forced to beg for a living as ‘employed’ people.” Even pakoda sellers were miffed with Modi’s statement and mentioned that it only reflects underemployment and those earnings are insufficient to live life with dignity.

BJP spokesperson Vishwas Pathak stated, “It was our target to generate 2 crore jobs. However, it is not possible to offer government jobs to everyone. So to develop skill set, we had started schemes for providing self-employment which has increased. We were unable to achieve the target of providing 2 crore jobs but employment has been generated in the country on a massive scale. The opposition should be aware that the World Bank has forecasted a growth rate of 7.3 per cent and it has become the 6th largest economy in the world. If the economy is becoming stronger then definitely it will give a boost to infrastructure, business, and railway network.”

BJP and Congress have always involved in a war of words over rising unemployment in the country. While BJP has alleged that Congress was unable to create enough jobs despite ruling the country for 60 years. On the other hand, Congress has attacked BJP for rising unemployment during its reign. In March 2016, 3.8 crore people were unemployed while another 4 crore were marginally unemployed. While the Modi government had spent crores of rupees to highlight its achievements pertaining to employment generation but the country is witnessing jobless growth. The Congress had launched its flagship rural job scheme MGNREGA to provide 100 days of employment. Senior Congress leader Sandip Dixit alleged that the BJP which had initially criticised the scheme is promoting it with new names. BJP also reduced the tenure of 100 days of employment to 35 days. Congress also attacked the BJP for its failure to effectively implement the scheme.

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