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Disparity is a non-issue, Opposition exaggerating unemployment figures

By NS Venkataraman* 
Now that the curtain has almost been drawn on India’s parliamentary election, the toxic speeches delivered by leaders of political parties have virtually disturbed India’s social and political climate. In any case, this appear to be the scenario in every democratic country including USA and UK on the eve of the elections.
Around 28 opposition parties in India which call themselves as INDI Alliance have not coordinated their efforts with firm policy programmes to oppose Modi and a few of them have been fighting against each other in a few state elections . Some unimplementable promises like providing Rs.1 lakh annually to the poor and controversial promise of providing reservation for muslim in government jobs have been made by a few opposition parties.
However, the main criticism against Modi government by the opposition parties is centred around unemployment scenario, the so called threat of Modi government tampering with the provisions of constitution of India , motivated actions against some opposition leaders based on corruption allegations, and increasing disparity in income between various sections of the people.
Amidst the heated debates and noise made during the election campaign, discerning observers cannot miss the fact that Modi’s governance has been largely on the right track during the last ten years and his continued leadership would result in a great leap forward for India.

Exaggerated unemployment scenario:

Charge of the opposition parties about the intensity of unemployment level in India appears to be exaggerated.
The fact is that unemployment level exist in India to some extent just as in several other countries and it is debatable question as to whether this is a problem of such intensity as made out by the opposition parties.
The ground reality is that there is more of what is termed as under employment rather than unemployment in India. Millions of people are self employed. In many cases, it is seen that those who think that they are under employed and sometime self employed people also seek better job avenues and register their names with the employment exchange. Number of such people desire to get government jobs, in view of liberal working conditions and good salary and perks. Such people also register their names in the employment exchange.
There are several job openings in India at various levels which are not being filled due to lack of skill at adequate level amongst the job seekers. It is a common complaint in India by employers and even in households that it is difficult to get skilled people in adequate number to attend to various jobs.
To tackle this issue, Modi government has organised several skill development programme in the last few years . In the 2024 budget speech, Government of India claimed that 14 million individuals were trained under the Skill India Mission, which included upskilling and reskilling 5.4 million people.
Obviously, Modi government has been doing whatever is possible to reduce unemployment in India in the given circumstances. Several infrastructure projects that are underway have also considerably created direct and indirect job avenues.
Obviously, the opposition parties have no firm figures on what they term as grim unemployment scenario and they seem to be banking on some second hand study made by international agencies, published just as the election campaign were in progress.
In any case, there is no particular unrest amongst the people about the so called unemployment scenario.

Disparity in national income:

It is said that inequality in income in India is at an all time high. It is further said that one percent of India’s population corners 22% of national income and owns 40% of nation’s assets. The income share of top one percent is among the highest in the world.
While the above figures may not be accurate, the fact is that number of billionaires in India have gone up in recent years.
At the same time, it has to be noted that the extreme poverty level in India has almost been eliminated now. Income of many persons who belong to below poverty line earlier have now improved and perhaps, they are in the lower income group category. In the last ten years, Modi government has implemented several socio economic welfare schemes and reform measures that are providing considerable relief to the people in the lower income group.
The essential requirement for economic growth and social betterment in any country is growth in wealth generation and GDP growth. Wealth generation can happen only by more investment, adoption of better technology in industrial and commercial projects and augmentation of production and services.
The initiatives of individuals and encouragement for private enterprises are the essential need to achieve a state of wealth generation climate. This means that aspirations of individuals to earn more income and acquire wealth has to be recognised and encouraged, so that the initiative of individuals will lead to overall national development and growth. History has repeatedly proved that suppressing the individual ownership and initiatives to prevent accumulation of wealth by individuals , has resulted in overall setback to the economic growth. This has been seen in several communist countries which ultimately resulted in the collapse of communism in several countries including Russia.
In the so-called communist country China, large encouragement of private sector and investment by multinational companies have enabled China to achieve spectacular growth. In communist China too , there are several billionaires today and their numbers are increasing in tune with China’s economic growth.
It is very impressive to speak about one percent population holding huge national income but the fact is that every sector of economy has been growing in India during the last ten years of Modi government. When the rich become richer, they inevitably invest in several projects, which spur development, promote employment opportunity, lead to technology growth and contribute to overall growth in national income. The rich industrialists do not keep their money in the locker but invest ,as seen in the case of several industrial houses such as Adani group, Ambani group. The contribution of such industrial groups for national growth should not be belittled.
The disparity in income is a non-issue and highlighting this issue amount to talk in vacuum.

Overall scenario:

One of the promises made by Modi before and at present is that he would root out corruption in India. Several corrupt businessmen and politicians have been raided, exposed and brought before the court. The fact is that while the investigating agencies find out the corrupt dealings, the ultimate punishment for the corrupt people are delivered by judiciary and not by Modi government.
The allegations that Modi government would tamper with the constitution is absolutely condemnable , as Modi has not done such things in the last ten years.
The ultimate judges in India are the people and who exercised their franchise in the massive election process in India. When majority of people would vote for Modi government, it obviously would mean that Modi government is on the right track.
---
*Trustee, Nandini Voice For The Deprived, Chennai

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