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19 lakh jobless in Gujarat, not 6 lakh: Economist contests chief minister Rupani's claim on organised sector

Hemant Shah, Suresh Mehta, Rohit Shukla
By Our Representative
In a fresh calculation, a campaign organization set up ahead of the Gujarat elections, claiming to be not associated with any political party, has said, much against the "tall talk" of employment generation during the biennial Vibrant Gujarat global investment summits, during 2004-15, 43.44 lakh fresh unemployed were registered with Gujarat's Employment Exchanges. Of these only 24.41 lakh people could get employment.
Contesting the figure provided by Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, that there are only six lakh unemployed in the state as of today, economist Prof Hemant Shah, associated with the Lokshahi Bachao Andolan, or Save Democracy Movement, told media in Ahmedabad, "Even if we concede that Employment Exchange figures are true, as many as 19.09 lakh people could not get employment during 2004-15."
Shah said, "Each year fresh unemployed are registered, and the names of those who get jobs are deleted. The total number of new job seekers registered with Employment Exchanges in 2001-02 was 2.52 lakh. Things deteriorated year after year. In 2015-16, the number of those who registered for jobs increased to 6.11 lakh. Of this, job recommendations were made for 5.12 lakh, but only 1.77 lakh, i.e. only 35% people, got jobs."
Pointing out that overwhelming majority of those who register themselves in Employment Exchanges are skilled workers, Shah said, this state of affairs is only of the organised industrial sector, adding, "As for the unorganized sector, we don't have any figures of the people who may be unemployed or underemployed. Nearly 90% of the workforce in Gujarat and India is employed in the unorganized sector, which includes agriculture."
Shah said, poor provision of employment in Gujarat has against the backdrop of huge claims made during the biennial Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors' summits, begun by Narendra Modi as state chief minister in 2003. Thus, he said, figures show, during the 2009 summit an employment potential of 29.81 lakh was announced, followed by 60.69 lakh in 2011.
Addressing media, former BJP chief minister Suresh Mehta blamed the Gujarat government for hiding jobs data in the organised sector after 2010, saying, "The figures show that, as of March 2008, 18.39 lakh people were employed in state and private sector enterprises, which increased to 19.49 lakh in March 2009."
"Thereafter", he said, "The state government only released jobs potential data announced at different Vibrant Gujarat summits. Since 2007, about one crore jobs potential data were announced. If we all jobs potential announced for Special Economic Zones, it comes to 1.16 lakh. On the other hand, we find from whatever figures we have been able to obtain, that jobs increase by 1.5 or 2 lakh per year."
Continued Mehta, "The policy of offering employment to the local people up to 85% of vacancies in industries, including the Tatas Nano Project, has not been implemented. The government is offering relief in lands, water and power supply to the tune of crores of rupees, yet, thr government remains contented merely by issuing notices to such defaulter industries."
Veteran economist Rohit Shukla said, "One of the reasons for tremendous rise in unemployment in Gujarat is attributed to thoughtless, sudden, haphazard and abrupt demonetization and Goods and Services Tax (GST). A major portion of rural and urban population of the state is engaged in sectors such as construction, transport, home based industries, small and tiny sectors etc."
"These people were producing 61% products for the state GDP in the year 1997-98. Presently, its share has come down to 50%. Due to blows of demonetization and GST, 2% reduction is observed in the GDP growth rate. As per one calculation, reduction of 1% in the GDP reflects into 0.75 % reduction in the employment level", he added.

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