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Are There Enough Jobs In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Led India?

“More young people are entering the labor force, millions want to leave agriculture but can’t find construction work because construction activity has slowed down because the investment rate in the economy has slowed down.”

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VOA
Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party dismisses concerns about the job data saying it does not capture the real picture because it focuses only on the 15 percent of Indians who work in the formal economy. Pixabay

For people streaming in from rural areas around New Delhi, the first stop is a collection of busy city intersections where contractors select daily wage labor from the crowds of young and old waiting every morning to get work.

Many standing at these intersections say they get work for barely half the month. “I have the ability to work hard. I never turn down any work. But I would prefer to get a cleaner, permanent job,” says 29-year-old Tek Chand. “The problem is one day I have money to buy rations, the next day I don’t.” Like millions of others, he migrated from his village three years ago to seek work and a better life in the city.

FILE - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, arrives with his cabinet colleagues on the opening day of the budget session of the Indian Parliament, in New Delhi, Jan. 31, 2019.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, arrives with his cabinet colleagues on the opening day of the budget session of the Indian Parliament, in New Delhi, Jan. 31, 2019. VOA
As India prepares for general elections on April 11, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is being attacked by opposition parties for failing to make good on a promise he made in 2014 to create millions of jobs for India’s huge young population. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party rebuts that criticism and says India is generating new opportunities as it becomes one of the world’s fastest growing major economies.

Job creation is a massive challenge for a nation with one of the world’s youngest populations — half the country’s 1.3 billion people are under the age of 25.

Recent data shows that joblessness has soared to record high levels. Opposition parties have made joblessness one of their principal election planks and have accused the prime minister of failing the estimated 8 to 10 million young people who enter the workforce every year.

The independent Mumbai-based Center for Monitoring Indian Economy estimates that unemployment reached 7.2 percent last month and that 11 million jobs were lost in 2018. With a working population of 500 million, that translates into more than 30 million people waiting for jobs. An unpublished official survey that showed unemployment at a 45-year-high has also been widely quoted by Indian media.

India's main opposition Congress party President Rahul Gandhi speaks during a public meeting at Adalaj in Gandhinagar, India, March 12, 2019.
India’s main opposition Congress party President Rahul Gandhi speaks during a public meeting at Adalaj in Gandhinagar, India, March 12, 2019. VOA

On the campaign trail, the head of the main opposition Congress Party, Rahul Gandhi, who is seen as Modi’s principal challenger, talks repeatedly about a “jobs crisis.”

“Our government is refusing to accept that we have a massive crisis and potential disaster in front of us,” Gandhi told a group of university students in New Delhi recently, many who will be first time voters.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party dismisses concerns about the job data saying it does not capture the real picture because it focuses only on the 15 percent of Indians who work in the formal economy. It points to a recent industry report that jobs have been created in the medium and small sectors.

The BJP says millions of people have found work in the transport and infrastructure sectors or as delivery boys in booming online businesses as India becomes one of the world’s fastest growing major economies. They point out that the issue is not jobs but livelihoods, and point to millions of people who are not counted in job data.

They are self-employed people like cab owner Chain Pal Singh. As the app based taxi business boomed, Singh’s friend, who operated a cab, persuaded him to quit his job and take out a loan to buy a car. His decision has paid off — in four years he has earned enough money to invest in two more cabs.

Singh says he is much better off than when he held a job. “I used to earn about $225 dollars a month. Now in some months I can earn almost double that amount. Its beneficial for me.”

Following defeats in key state elections in December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told parliament last month, “This truth has to be acknowledged. The unorganized sector has 80 to 85 percent of the employment.” He pointed to millions of commercial vehicles sold in recent years and questioned if they had not generated jobs for drivers.

Economists admit India’s large informal sector has made it difficult to calculate employment, but they say joblessness or underemployment remains the country’s biggest challenge. While scarcity of jobs is not a new problem, two disruptive economic steps in the last two years exacerbated the problem.

In 2016 a sweeping currency ban meant to tackle the problem of illegal cash, dried up jobs as it created huge currency shortages, particularly in small businesses and in the countryside. A poorly-implemented tax reform known as the Goods and Services Tax a few months later was another blow to businesses.

Meanwhile, Modi’s “Made in India” campaign, which aimed at making India a manufacturing hub like China, has made a slow start and sluggish labor-intensive sectors cannot cater to growing numbers of job seekers.

“We can’t keep patting ourselves on the back that we are the fastest growing economy specially if all these other indicators are not growing at a rate that will absorb the growing labor force,” says Santosh Mehrotra, a human development economist at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

“More young people are entering the labor force, millions want to leave agriculture but can’t find construction work because construction activity has slowed down because the investment rate in the economy has slowed down.”

Also Read: The Mental Health ‘Epidemic’: About Six in Ten Teen Say, They Feel A Lot Of Pressure To Get Good Grades

He points out that exports, another sector that created a number of jobs has also not been performing well.

As the campaign heats up, the opposition will try to keep the spotlight on jobs, or lack of them, even as the BJP tries to focus on national security following a recent confrontation with Pakistan. The final verdict on whether to give Prime Minister Modi a second term in office will be delivered by millions of voters when they cast their ballots. (VOA)

  • P. B. Josh

    If the employment picture is bleak despite the construction of so many more Kilometers of roads, railways, air ports, bridges, toilets and other infrastructures compared to the five or even ten years of UPA government, imagine where we would be if we had UPA III government .

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Facebook States PM Narendra Modi As The Most Popular World Leader

In early February, German Chancellor Angela Merkel deleted her personal Facebook Page, which had 2.5 million fans, after stepping down as leader of the Christian Democratic Union.

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As of March 1, the Facebook Pages have a combined total of 345 million likes and published 449,739 posts in the past 12 months which have garnered a total of 767 million interactions (comments, likes and shares), said the study. Pixabay

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with over 43.5 million likes on his personal Page and 13.7 million likes on his official Page on Facebook, is the most popular world leader on the social network as more world leaders are now paying to promote their posts, a new report said on Thursday.

US President Donald Trump is at the second place with more than 23 million likes on his personal Facebook Page and Jordan’s Queen Rania is third with 16.9 million likes, said the “2019 World Leaders on Facebook” report — part of the annual “Twiplomacy” study — prepared by the leading global communications agency BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe).

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The study, using aggregate data from Facebook’s “CrowdTangle” tool, analysed the activity of 962 Facebook pages of heads of state and government and foreign ministers. 
Pixabay

Brazil’s new President Jair Bolsonaro, who took office on January 1, is the most engaged world leader on Facebook. His Facebook page has registered more than 145 million interactions, almost twice as many as Trump who has 84 million total interactions.

To counter the recent changes in Facebook algorithms, several world leaders are now promoting their posts and Pages with Facebook ads. In early March 2019, 50 pages had been running ads according to Facebook’s Ads Library.

“Our latest ‘Twiplomacy’ study confirms that even among political figures who easily attract the attention of the public in social media, a paid strategy is still essential to secure reach and make a serious impact,” said Chad Latz, Chief Innovation Officer, BCW.

“Additionally, we see how some leaders are very successful by being personal and approachable on the platform using all the tools at their disposal, from Facebook Live to Facebook Stories, to engage their audiences,” Latz added.

Trump’s Facebook Page has posted more than 50,000 ads since its inception, while UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Page posted 74 paid ads in December 2018 to promote her ‘Brexit’ plan.

The study, using aggregate data from Facebook’s “CrowdTangle” tool, analysed the activity of 962 Facebook pages of heads of state and government and foreign ministers.

facebook
To counter the recent changes in Facebook algorithms, several world leaders are now promoting their posts and Pages with Facebook ads. In early March 2019, 50 pages had been running ads according to Facebook’s Ads Library. Pixabay

As of March 1, the Facebook Pages have a combined total of 345 million likes and published 449,739 posts in the past 12 months which have garnered a total of 767 million interactions (comments, likes and shares), said the study.

Also Read: Indians Are Willing To Share Personal Information With Their Banks, Claims Study

“Followers of world leaders’ Facebook pages grew by 10 per cent (year on year) but the interactions on their Pages have dropped significantly. While world leaders registered 1.1 billion interactions in 2016, that number has decreased by 32.3 per cent compared to their interactions in 2018,” the findings revealed.

In early February, German Chancellor Angela Merkel deleted her personal Facebook Page, which had 2.5 million fans, after stepping down as leader of the Christian Democratic Union. (IANS)