By Vijay Darda | 26-08-2019
Jobs are declining ceaselessly due to economic slowdown and unemployment is at 45-year high
In my column last week, I had briefly referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement in relation to ‘wealth creator’. I had written that the wealth creators, that is the wealth generating industrialists, must be treated with respect. However, I had also mentioned that our government agencies not only look at them with suspicion but also treat them as if they are criminals. My opinion is very clear that this attitude towards those generating employment has damaged our economy. The situation is not going to improve until and unless we adopt an attitude of cooperation towards those who create jobs.
The NITI Aayog deputy chairman Rajiv Kumar has also admitted that this is the most serious economic crisis in 70 years. The condition of automobile sector is sordid indeed. Thousands of people have lost their jobs. The Indian Textile Association has even published an advertisement that many jobs will be lost in near future. Thousands of jobs are under threat in the biscuit major Parle G. The rupee is losing its sheen every day due to recession. Statistics from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) reveal that the unemployment rate is at a 45-year high. Statistics show that the unemployment rate of men is 6.2 per cent and that of women is 5.7 per cent. A little more analysis of the data shows that 7.8 per cent of the youth in cities are unemployed while in villages, this figure is 5.3 per cent. The government has been claiming that the rate of economic growth is fast. So the natural question is, where are the jobs? And why are they being lost?
I am not an economist but as a vigilant journalist and politician, I keep an eye on the serious issues of the country and the world. When the former chief economic advisor Arvind Subramaniam says that the economic growth rate is being exaggerated, it gives rise to questions. Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan too has cast doubts on the economic growth figures. I do not want to go into data analysis, but I know that high interest rates applied to keep inflation under check created problems for business. Our government and the RBI realised this quite late. When the economy faltered, RBI cut interest rates for the third time this year. I would like to say one more thing that the RBI cuts interest rates but its benefit does not reach the common man. The banks take advantage of this. However, the government is not tightening the screws on them.
There is no dearth of people who analyse the data critically for the sake of economy, but I feel that there is a need to understand the matter in a very practical way and solve the problems. Actually we do not have positivity for industries here. There is no ‘ease of doing business’. That is, there is no environment in which you can work easily. While this time is very good for India, the whole of France is in a mess. Strikes have become the order of the day. France has industries like oil, automobile, heavy industries, cosmetic, defence and fashion but the condition is not good. I keep talking to many industrialists. They want to come to India but they want a good atmosphere here. They want to give preference to India more than China, but they want the ‘ease of doing business’. For this, our bureaucracy will have to change its attitude.
If industries don’t come from abroad, there will be no investment in the country and there will be no favourable environment either. Under these circumstances, where will employment come from? Where will the money be generated for the country? How will the poverty end if there is no wealth? We have to consider these questions seriously. We have to change our policies. It is my considered opinion that there should be economic development of the workers. They should get all the facilities but the trend of ruining industries by raising the banner of strike in the name of the workers should be stopped strictly. After all, no employer sacks any worker just for the sake of it! Every industrialist needs skilled and diligent workforce. If the environment is good for the industries, the workers will also progress; they will also develop and grow. And yes, strict laws should be formulated for the industrialists who exploit workers. They should be punished severely but why disturb those who are doing good work?
Along with this, we must also change our work culture. I have seen in Japan that people come on duty 20 minutes before schedule, warm themselves up and reach their place of duty three minutes before time. This is why such a small country is so advanced! If we want to be the best in the world, we will have to worship capital and labour. Bureaucracy will have to become collaborative.
The biggest problem right now is our economic slowdown. To deal with this situation, it is very important that we make our system so simple that people from all over the world invest here. This will create wealth and employment, and money will reach the poor too. The bureaucracy also needs to change its approach to attain ‘ease of doing business’.