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21st century India’s century: Modi to Indian diaspora

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San Jose: With a sea change in India’s image, thanks to 1.2 billion Indians, people said that the 21st century belonged to India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a mammoth crowd of Indian diaspora here.

“Everybody agrees the 21st century is the century of Asia. But today, people say, the 21st century belongs to India,” he said addressing a jam-packed San Jose SAP Centre on Sunday night.

“This change is not because of Modi, this change came because of 1.2 billion Indians,” Modi said amid chants of his name.

Modi also saluted Indian techies for changing the image and perception of India with the magic of their fingers at the computers.

“Today there is a new image of India, a new perception of India in the world,” he said.

“People are moved to change their perception of the old India,” Modi said. “This is the magic of your fingers at the computers.”

“Sitting here, with your innovations, you are compelling the world to change. And the people who refuse to change, are soon going to become irrelevant.”

“The biggest thing, American citizens feel proud of is the people of Indian origin,” Modi said. “I congratulate you for this, I salute you.”

Earlier India’s identity were the Upanishads, the prime minister said. Today in the field of science, India has made a new identity. India, he noted is the first country to be successful at Mars mission in its first attempt.

Amid loud chants of “Modi, Modi”, the prime minister said: “I’ll live for the country, I’ll die for this country.”

“Every moment of my life and every particle in my body, I will devote to the work of my country,” he assured the crowd and asked, “Have I done good work? since he came to power 16 months ago. The crowd cheered in approval.

Taking a dig at opposition Congress, Modi said, “It doesn’t take much for politicians to get allegations to their name. The people of India are sick of corruption.”

“What can’t the country do, which has the strength of 800 million young people. This country now, can not be left behind,” Modi said.

“If in the 19th Century, my Sikh brothers came here as farmers and were restless for the independence of India. Today, in the 21st century, my countrymen will fight for India’s poverty,” he said.

Modi recalled his first trip to the US last year when he was given a rock star like reception by the Indian diaspora at the Madison Square Garden in New York.

As promised by the organisers, the Sunday night reception indeed rivalled that of the New York event.

“A Madison Square Garden moment for Silicon Valley. The SAP Center is jampacked as PM @narendramodi arrives,” tweeted external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

The crowds chanted his name as the prime minister dressed in white kurta and churidars and a light cream Nehru jacket walked to the stage of San Jose’s SAP arena.

Before he started speaking Modi was introduced to several US lawmakers from California, including the lone Indian American Congressman Ami Bera, whose parents hail from Gujarat and Democratic Minority leader and former House speaker Nancy Pelosi.

At the outset Modi paid tribute to Indian freedom revolutionary Shaheed Bhagat Singh on his birth anniversary and exhorted the crowd to respond to his call of “Vir Bhagat Singh” with “Amar Rahe Amar Rahe”.

(IANS)

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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.”

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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)

One response to “Are There Enough Jobs In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Led India?”

  1. 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 .