Creating Jobs

Congress leader P. Chidambaram speaking at the release of his book, "Speaking Truth to Power," in New Delhi Jan. 30. (IANS photo)

NEW DELHI — The Narendra Modi government's claim that it will be able to create 75 lakh jobs by March is "outrageous" and "simply not possible" in India's context, former Finance Minister P. Chidmabaram said Jan. 30.

The Congress leader said if India can create 75 lakh jobs in the formal sector, it must have created another 75 lakh jobs in the informal and agriculture sectors, and added that it is not possible as India would require five times its current GDP to create 150 lakh jobs in a fiscal year.

"Take this new theory that we will create 75 lakh jobs by March in this country. I mean, you are exposed.

"Let's look at the numbers. In 2014-15, the EPFO (Employees Provident Fund Organization) numbers jumped by 23 lakh. It was when economy grew by 7.5 percent.

"In 2015-16, EPFO numbers jumped by 25 lakh as the economy grew at 8 percent. In 2016-17, it is expected to jump by 75 lakh. How can it jump by 75 lakh?" Chidambaram said during a panel discussion here at the release of his latest book, "Speaking Truth to Power."

"China's GDP is five times India's and it creates 150 lakh jobs. The argument is India's non-farm payroll jobs contributed to 75 lakh jobs? Which means farm sector and informal sector, there would be another 75 lakh jobs, or we would be creating 150 lakh jobs?" the former finance minister asked.

"The attempt to use payroll as a measure was a good one but to use it to extrapolate and make such outrageous claims that India's economy created 75 lakh jobs, hark. We can only measure non-farm employment or what we call payroll jobs with fixed salary, wages etc. You can extrapolate from what you can measure and then extrapolate it over the entire economy," he explained.

He said that jobs are the number one concern today.

"If we are creating 75 lakhs jobs, how come this is number one concern? It is the concern that led Hardik Patel, Jignesh Mewani and Alpesh Thakore to be able to mobilize their supporters.

"You may dismiss it as caste mobilization. Yes, caste is a convenient term to mobilize but the real driving force behind they mobilization was jobs," Chidambaram said.

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