Skip to main content

More than 50 million jobless in India, Gujarat model has failed, demonetisation helped rich: California economist

By Our Representative
A senior Indian American economist, Prof Pranab Bardhan, has said that, as against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's big promise of creating 100 million jobs to win the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, what one is witnessing today is a movement in just the opposite direction: "We have a total number of workers exceeding 50 million who are either unemployed or underemployed", he has said in a comprehensive interview.
"This", says Prof Bardhan, who is is at the graduate school in the department of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, "Doesn't count the hundreds of millions of women, who are outside the labour force." He adds, in India, in order to gauge unemployment, the surveyors only ask questions "about employment to only those who are part of the labour force".
Pointing out that "the Gujarat model of high growth was not a particular exemplar in job creation", Prof Bardhan says, the "Gujarat model, in spite of its high manufacturing growth, was particularly in sectors like petroleum refineries and petrochemicals, which are highly capital-intensive. They don't create that many jobs."
According to Prof Bardhan, "It is by now clear to many people that the pace of job creation has not been shining. In fact, some of the data -- like the annual data produced by the labour bureau surveys -- show that there may have been even some absolute decline in jobs", adding, though, " This is not new. Even for the last 40 years, job growth in India has been by and large rather sluggish."
Coming down heavily on demonetisation, Prof Bardhan says, a "This has turned out to be one of the grandest hoaxes ever in Indian political history", adding, surprisingly, the step came " after insignificant progress in getting the black money stashed in foreign accounts or from repeated announcements for tax amnesty".
"The announced objective was to vaporise the corrupt cash hoarded by the rich. But then other objectives were also mentioned -- to eliminate counterfeit money, to prevent terror funding. And when these things were not working, they talked about the need to digitise the economy. So, goalposts were changed over time."
"Looking back now", he says, " We can say that most of the money has come back. This means that black money hoarded in the form of cash was tiny. Or, even if it was not tiny, it has been deftly returned through the backdoor with the complicity of corrupt bank officials."
Prof Bardhan says, "Usually, most rich people do not keep their black money in cash. They use other means like real estate, gold, foreign account etc. I don't know what gave the government the idea that most black money was stashed in cash", adding, "To this day, the hardship that it caused has not been properly measured."
He underlines, "What was done was a cruel joke on the Indian poor, particularly those in the informal sector. I think demonetisation was a hastily-thought-out programme by some ignorant but arrogant people in Delhi and foisted on an unprepared and somewhat confused bank bureaucracy."
"We have now data -- not for whole of India though -- on the extent of losses in jobs and wages", Prof Bardhan opines, adding, "Take the textile hubs like Panipat in north India and Tiruppur in south India. Now, there is evidence of huge losses in trading as well as jobs. We also have evidence of small companies losing out and the informal sector failing to pay wages and workers going back to their villages."
Critiquing those who say that tax returns increased because of demonetisation, Prof Bardhan quotes the Economic Survey as saying that "the average income level of the new tax payers was Rs 2.7 lakh, slightly above the tax threshold", which suggests that "the new people brought under the tax net are not the superrich who have been evading tax all these years."
According to him, "They are more likely to be relatively small people who have come under the tax net because of pressure from the banks to link accounts with the Aadhaar card and the PAN card and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bringing some people in. So, it is not that fat cats were disgorging their illicit hoards due to demonetisation."

Comments

TRENDING

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.