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Chouhan’s Promise to Generate 50 Lakh Jobs Rings Hollow: Oppn

Kashif Kakvi |
The number of educated jobless youth registered with the employment exchange In Madhya Pradesh has shot up from 15.6 lakh in 2015 to 23.7 lakh in 2017 — a shocking 53% in two years.

Image Courtesy : NDTV

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who has created only 129 jobs in 2016, has promised creation of 10 lakh jobs every year – meaning 50 lakh jobs in next five years – if BJP is voted to power in the upcoming Assembly elections.

On September 25, addressing Karyakarta Mahakumbh Rally, which is allegedly the biggest convention of any political party and its workers, CM Chouhan said, “In last 15 years of the BJP rule, Madhya Pradesh has become a developed state. Now, we are moving towards ‘Samriddha (prosper) Madhya Pradesh’, and to make it prosper more, in next five years, the government will create 50 lakh jobs, 10 lakh jobs a year to root out unemployment.” 

A reality-check

The figures of state government-run employment exchange and state’s Economic Survey make a mockery of Chouhan’s claim that there is an increase in job generation under the BJP regime. The figures from the employment exchange show an alarming rise in unemployment in the state. The number of educated jobless youth registered with the employment exchange has shot up from 15.6 lakh in 2015 to 23.7 lakh in 2017 — a shocking 53%  in two years.

The state’s Economic Survey, tabled in the Assembly a day before the 2017 budget, painted a dismal picture, showing that only 129 people had got employment in 2016.

Replying to a query from Congress MLA Ram Niwas Rawat, during the 2018 budget session, the government had said,  ‘On an average, 17,615 jobs were generated every year in public, private and cooperative sectors in the last 14 years (from 2003 to 2017), according to the figures.

The data showed that 2,46,612 jobs were generated in the state between 2004 and 2017. Of these, 2,27,386 jobs came from the private sector, which means that only 19,226 people got government jobs in last 14 years.

More interestingly, as per the BJP’s 2003 manifesto, referring to the 2001 census, there were 85 lakh unemployed in the state (after 10 years of Congress regime), and the party had promised to give jobs to every unemployed within just three years of the government. However, even after 15 years of uninterrupted BJP rule, the picture looks grimmer.

The Economic Survey presented during the budget session said the number of educated unemployed stood at 11.24 lakh by the end of 2016. “The government has admitted in the reply to the MLA’s query that unemployment has gone up by 16.4%. The government’s own data suggests it has not taken steps to curb unemployment,” Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ajay Singh had said then. In 2004, the number of unemployed (registered in state government-run employment exchanges) was 20,29,939, which went up to 23,78,559 by January 2018, the reply said.

“The BJP’s promise of providing two crore jobs to the youth every year in the country was a just gimmick. There are about 1.5 crore jobless youths in Madhya Pradesh alone,” Singh claimed.

When asked about the Chouhan's latest promise of creating 10 lakh jobs every year, he said, "His claim in nothing but hollow and a political stunt to lure young voters. The state government has drastically failed to create jobs in last 15 years, and data has proved it. This time, youth will not fall for his false promises." 

The data suggests that the number of persons who got jobs has been increasing gradually only in the last three years. In the past three years – 2015, 2016 and 2017 – jobs were given to 1,15,740 people in the state. So, almost half the jobs offered in the past 14 years were generated in the last three years.

In the remaining 11 years, only 1,30,872 employment avenues were offered. Minister of State for Technical Education and Skill Development Deepak Joshi said that the government is focusing on imparting skills and promoting entrepreneurship among the youth. There is a practice of youth registering themselves with employment exchanges just after completing graduation, he said.

“We are making efforts to develop skills and promote entrepreneurship among youths. There is a practice of getting registered with employment exchanges just after graduation. Even youths engaged in family business or doing other jobs get registered with employment exchanges,” Joshi told to a news agency then. “We have set a target of providing skill training to 7.5 lakh youths this year, and the state government will also help them in setting up their own ventures.”

The state government has drawn flak from unemployed youth for raising the retirement age of its employees to 62 from 60 years now, saying this will reduce employment opportunism for them.

Joshi said that increasing the retirement age of government staffers would not affect job opportunities for the youth. “Increasing the retirement age doesn’t mean job opportunities for the young would get reduced. We are creating more opportunities in other (non-government) sectors. “A person wants a government job due to various reasons, including security. Job opportunities in the state have gone up in the past couple of years,” he claimed.

However, the Berojgar Sena, an outfit of the educated unemployed, dismissed the government data, and said it does not reflect the ground reality. “The official data talks only about the registered unemployed youth. Only 10% of the jobless get registered with government-run employment exchanges,” said Akshay Hunka, chief of the Berojgar Sena.

“There are 1.5 crore youths in the state, and half of them are either unemployed or doing jobs that are not in accordance with their educational qualifications. Several engineers are working as delivery boys. The government’s decision to increase the age limit (for retirement of its staffers) would reduce job opportunities. Almost 20,000 employees/officials get retired every year in the state,” said Hunka.

Reason behind failure in creating jobs

The government’s attempts at creating jobs through industrialisation have not borne fruit, mostly because a significant percentage of MoUs signed by the government at global investor summits (GIS) failed to materialise, say sources. Till 2012, 1,751 MoUs worth Rs 11 lakh crore were inked on various occasions, including GIS. In 2014, the state did not use the word MoU, and termed it ‘investment intents’ — 3,000 in all, adding up to over Rs 4 lakh crore.

Addressing the inaugural session of GIS 2016 in Indore, CM Chouhan had said that Madhya Pradesh has attracted investment of Rs 2.75 trillion since 2014-GIS. “Of this, manufacturing has started at 110 plants. Around 175 food processing units and 92 renewable energy plants have been set up since 2014,” he had said. It doesn’t reflect in the job charts.

A glimpse of the desperation for jobs was seen at the recent recruitment for peons in district courts. Engineers, law graduates and MBAs were among the 2.8 lakh aspirants — about 380 candidates were vying for every post. The highest number of applicants — 70,000 — were from Gwalior.
Hunka, who is also an RTI activist, said, “The government’s claims ring hollow. This can be proved by the number of educated unemployed youth registering with employment exchanges across the state.”

The recently formed ‘Berozgar Sena’ has demanded that the government enact a law to guarantee jobs to educated youth.

Minister for Industries and Employment Rajendra Shukla has not lost hope despite this  situation. The government has a target of generating 1 lakh jobs in the next year in Madhya Pradesh, he said.

“Industrialisation in the state has yielded results. In Pithampur industrial estate alone, 250 companies have invested around Rs 12,000 crore, giving employment to around 12,000 people after the last GIS. This is a transitory period. Many more companies are coming to Madhya Pradesh and they will create more job avenues as more industrial areas are being developed. It would have been even worse had we not developed our irrigation capacity.”


Source – Economic Survey of MP (2016-17)

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