PM Modi Interview 2: “If States Are Creating Lakhs Of Jobs, Can Centre Be Creating Joblessness?”

by R Jagannathan - Jul 2, 2018 04:48 PM +05:30 IST
PM Modi Interview 2: “If States Are Creating Lakhs Of Jobs, Can Centre Be Creating Joblessness?”Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Mark Wilson/GettyImages) 
  • This is second of the six-part interview Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave Swarajya, covering job creating in the country and his response to opposition criticism.

In the second part of the interview with Swarajya, Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked about challenges in job creation and responds to the criticism on this front. (Read the previous part here)

Swarajya: We will discuss some of these issues. But the challenge No 1 is jobs. Where are the jobs? The opposition is finding traction in asking this question…

Modi: On this issue, more than a lack of jobs, the issue is a lack of data on jobs. Our opponents will naturally exploit this opportunity to paint a picture of their choice and blame us. I don’t blame our opponents for blaming us on the issue of jobs, after all no one has an accurate data on jobs. Our traditional matrix of measuring jobs is simply not good enough to measure new jobs in the new economy of New India.

Swarajya: So, how do we measure jobs? Where do we go from here?

Modi: When we look at the trends in employment in our country, we need to keep in mind that today, the interests and aspirations of our youth are diverse. For example, there are close to 3 lakh village-level entrepreneurs, who are running Common Service Centres across the country and also creating more employment. Start-ups are working as job multipliers and there are around 15,000 start-ups, which the government has helped in some way, and there will be many more operational. Aggregators of various kinds employ thousands of youth.

If we look at numbers for employment, more than 41 lakh formal jobs were created from September 2017 to April 2018 based on EPFO payroll data. According to a study based on EPFO data, more than 70 lakh jobs were created in the formal sector last year.

Now, you know that informal sector constitutes around 80 per cent of all jobs. We also know that job creation in the formal sector can have a spinoff effect on job creation in the informal sector too. If 41 lakh jobs were generated in the formal sector in eight months, how much would be the total formal plus informal sector jobs?

Swarajya: But experts still doubt this way of measuring jobs…

Modi: India had around 66 lakh registered enterprises from Independence till July last year. In just one year, 48 lakh new enterprises got registered. Will this not result in more formalisation and better jobs?

More than 12 crore loans have been given under Mudra (micro loans). Is it unfair to expect that one loan would have created or supported means of livelihood for at least one person?

More than one crore houses have been constructed in the last one year; how much employment would this have generated? If road construction has more than doubled per month, if there is tremendous growth in railways, highways, airlines, etc, what does it indicate? Is it possible without employing more people in equal proportions?

A recent international report showed how quickly poverty in India is declining. Do you think that is possible without people having jobs?

Swarajya: But your opponents doubt the data…

Modi: There is a lack of consistency in the political debate around job creation. We have data put out by state governments on employment. For example, the previous Karnataka government claimed to have created 53 lakh jobs. The West Bengal government said it created 68 lakh jobs in the last term. Now, if states are all creating good numbers of jobs, is it possible that the country is not creating jobs? Is it possible that states are creating jobs but the Centre is creating joblessness?

(To read the third segment of the Prime Minister’s interview, click here: How Modi Plans To Double Farmers’ Income By 2022)

Jagannathan is Editorial Director, Swarajya. He tweets at @TheJaggi.
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