Ever since Narendra Modi-led government won a landslide victory in May 2014, job creation, especially in the manufacturing and core sectors, has been its top priority.
Recent data released by the government, however, show that there has been a drastic decline in job creation in the country since the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government took office, a little over two years ago.
Data released by the government in response to a Parliament question on July 20, show that in the calendar year 2015 (also, the government’s full year in power as against 2014 when it got the reins in its hands only in May), the total number of jobs created across eight core sectors went down by more than two-thirds in comparison with the year 2013.
The sectors include textiles, leather, metal, automobile, gems & jewellery, transport, IT/BPO and handloom and powerloom. Notably, most of these are export-led sectors and job creation in such sectors is dependent on a buoyant global demand, which, incidentally, has been tepid during the period in question.
Meanwhile, during January-December 2014, more than 4.2 lakh jobs were added across the sectors mentioned above. New jobs created, however, went down to 1.35 lakh the following year.
In a much publicised interview last month to the Times Now news channel, Modi had said that jobs need to be created keeping in mind the aspirations of the middle class.”The middle class has its aspirations. We have to create jobs. How will job creation happen? Till I invest in the development of infrastructure, there will be no job creation,” Modi had said.
The government’s efforts towards firing up the country’s jobs market, though, seem to have come to a naught, at least so far.
D K Srivastava, chief policy advisor at audit and consulting firm EY, however, argues that the global economic slowdown might be to blame for a significantly lower job creation. Pointing out that the most sectors in which job creation fell are primarily led by exports, he said: “The (government’s) overall employment strategy is very weak. But in 2015-16, Indian exports were down because of the global economic slowdown.”
He further added that “the thrust of the government has been on capital intensive sectors where employment elasticity is low.”
Only in July this year did India’s exports turn positive after an 18-month-long downturn, which began in December 2014, owing to a weak global demand.
In September last year, Modi and his top ministers, along with Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan, had even met top corporate honchos, including Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani, Aditya Birla Group chief Kumar Mangalam Birla and Tata Sons Ltd chairman Cyrus P Mistry, to brainstorm on ways of creating more jobs in India.
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