THE Modi government which completed its four and a half years in office is facing waves of protests one after another from different sections of the people. The present regime has undoubtedly achieved a record in implementing anti- people policies at all levels. As a government which came to power with a number of plump election promises, Modi and Co have completely failed to deliver. Workers, farmers, students, youth, women, socially marginalised groups everyone is on streets against this regime which rides on an uncompromising agenda of neoliberalism with a dangerous mix of communal politics to it. One of the worst affected sections is the youth of this country who constitute around 60 per cent of the total population. Unemployment is spreading like an epidemic, breaking all previous records and is creating deep and widespread anarchy among the young people. Millions of young people are languishing without any decent means of livelihood and employment. On November 3, thousands of youth from across the country will march to Delhi under the banner of DYFI, raising one single slogan: Where is My Job? The rally will be a culmination of different protests going on since the last three months at state levels against the central government policies which have pushed the young people of this country into untold miseries.
The official data shows that India's current unemployment rate is over 7.1 per cent. There are over 30 million job seekers in our country who are not able to find viable livelihood means. India is also a country which adds 2.46 crore new workforce yearly to the job market. International Labour Organisation (ILO) had recently expressed its serious concern about the soaring rate of unemployment in India. A CMIE (Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy) report shows that 58.3 per cent of graduates and 62.4 per cent of post graduates in our country are jobless. All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) points out that around 60 per cent of newly graduated engineers are not managing any job as per their qualification. These figures are validated by another recent study carried over by Azim Premji University which shows that the unemployment rate among highly educated youth is a shocking 16 per cent. The study also suggests that ratio of GDP growth to the employment growth is less than 0.1 percentage. India is the worst affected country due to job loss in Asian-Pacific region.
The Modi government came to power by promising two crore new jobs every year. But the data shows they couldn't even fulfill 10 percentage of that. On the contrary, the present government with its wrong policies, took unemployment rates to a new high. The concept of permanent employment is no more a priority to the policy makers. The economic surveys show how contractualisation and informalisation has taken over Indian employment sectors. This government amended the Industrial Labour (standing orders) Act of 1946 to get away with whatever limited provisions for permanent employment in industrial sector were there. This was done by an executive notification without any consultation with labour unions in a complete violation of international labour treaties, to which India is a signatory. In the public sector too, contractualisation is the new norm. Railways, the biggest among public sector employers has now four lakh contract labourers under them. There are a reported vacancies of over three lakh in railways alone but the government doesn't notify for permanent posts. The attempt is to fill these vacancies by contracts and reemployment of retired workers.
The rural employment guarantee programme, which was launched by UPA l as per the agreement in Common Minimum Programme with Left parties, acted as an effective mechanism for generating jobs for rural population, especially women. But the Modi government has completely sabotaged this scheme by cutting the budgetary provisions and by delaying the funds for states. Even now, 5.69 crore families across the country are registered for the scheme and are waiting for employment. The annual survey conducted by NSSO (National Sample Survey Organisation) says, there are about 1.25 crore households in India without a single person with any sustainable income. The labour participation of women has shown a negative progress in recent years. The ILO report of 2015 clearly indicates this trend. India is now ranked 130 out of 142 when it comes to women's labour participation.
The demonetisation was the biggest blow to Indian job markets. The small and middle scale enterprises collapsed and an estimated job loss of 24 lakhs were reported initially. Sectors like textiles and leather industry alone registered a loss of four lakh jobs. The export rates fell by 26 percentage. CMIE studies show that the remonetisation by the Reserve Bank has failed to bring back the labour participation. The growth rate fell miserably and its impacts are still going on.
A range of schemes like Make in India, Start Up India, Skill India etc were launched by the Modi government claiming to generate employment. But the government data itself shows that none of the schemes achieved even half of its declared targets. For example, the target of Make in India scheme was to achieve 25 percentage of total GDP from manufacturing sector alone by 2020. But the current data shows that only a mere 1.6 percentage is contributed by manufacturing sector. Skill India programme was targeted to provide skill development modules for an estimated five crore but the government itself has cut down the target figure now. The National Urban Livelihood Mission which aims at generating employment in urban centres could not achieve its target since last three years. So the real problem lies with the policy approach of the government for achieving growth without jobs. This jobless growth model has failed the majority of the people of this country, especially the youth. Now the government is hell bent on manipulating the data for covering their failure to generate employment but they know that cannot be sustained for a longer period. So the attempt is to divert the attention from core issues like unemployment and agricultural distress. As a part of this plan, communal polarisation attempts by Sangh Parivar groups headed by the RSS is on a rise. The senior leaders of ruling party including cabinet ministers are doing their best to create a political discourse around pseudo nationalism and religion. Anyone who criticises the government are labelled as ‘anti-national’. A large chunk of our print and visual media is already sold out and is acting as a mere mouth piece of the government. The dissenting media voices are being crushed by using all means of State machinery.
The November 3rd rally will be a declaration by Indian youth against the Modi government which has failed to keep the promises made to the people. There was huge participation of young people in the recent agitations by farmers and workers across the country, which a clear indication of widespread discontent among youth against the current regime. No diversion tactics or manipulations will help the government to curb the anger of young people who will hit the streets demanding their right to livelihood.