New Delhi: Covered in red and white flags, the road from Mandi House to Parliament Street saw close to 10,000 youth marching and expressing their anger at the false poll promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 of creating two crore jobs. The youth from across India came together under the umbrella of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI).
Agar Modi sarkaar humein kaam nahi de sakti, toh Modi sarkaar murdabad thi aur murdabad rahegi. (“If the Modi government can’t give the youth of the country jobs, then it was and will remain a dead government for us”) said Ajay Sahota from Ferozpur, Punjab.
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Pained at the plight of jobless youth, Sahota said, “With great pains our parents arranged funds for our education in the hope that we will get jobs. But my sister and I have no future ahead of us. There are many of us who have completed our school and college education. There is a complete wipeout of jobs, educated youngsters are compelled to do wage work which pays a meagre Rs 3,000-4,000 a month.”
Sahota is not alone in his ordeal, many who marched in Delhi shared the same sentiment-- anxiety about their future and disappointment with the betrayal of promises made by the Modi government.
Unemployed since the past four years and compelled to now earn his livelihood by giving tuitions, B.Com graduate Ashutosh from Tripura, is like any of the over two crore young students who enter the job market in India every year in the hope of finding decent employment. Travelling all the way from Tripura to make his voice heard, he told NewsClick, “Modi government ka vaada sab toot gaya aur humare sapne bhi. “The Modi government shattered all its promises, and along with it--our dreams.”
Speaking to NewsClick, PA Mohamed Riyas, President of DYFI, said, “There are young people who have gathered from across 23 states today, all asking the same question--where is my job?” The Modi government came to power in 2014 with a promise, the promise was made to the youth of India that two crore jobs will be generated every year. Riyas added, “According to official data, exposing the anti-youth policies of the government only 50 lakh jobs have been generated by the Modi government so far in its tenure of over four years.”
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This number in itself should not be mistaken for a full-fledged figure as the Parliament Estimate Committee is yet to publish its report on the economy which is sure to further expose the gravity of the situation.
In the past four years, unemployment has been increasing at an alarming rate, especially among the youth. According to the official data, the current unemployment rate in India is over 7.1%. Over 30 million job-seekers are unable to find any viable means of livelihood. In a recent study conducted by the Azim Premji University, it was found that the unemployment rate among the highly educated youth in India is 16%.
After demonetisation and goods and services tax (GST), the small and medium industries in the country collapsed, and initially, an estimated job loss of 2.4 million was reported. Export rates fell by 24%.
“GST and notebandi ka seedha prabhav hamare naukriyon par ayya, mazdoori par asar padha,(The policies of demonetisation and the GST had a direct impact on wage workers). Earlier, workers from Uttar Pradesh were travelling across multiple other states for jobs, like Maharashtra and Gujarat, but now many of them are unemployed.” said Ashish Singh from Gonda in Uttar Pradesh.
The Modi government in its slew of tall promises had launched ambitious projects in the name of youth. These promises have fallen flat on their face.
Projects like Skill India, Make in India, have failed to produce even half the amount of jobs that they were launched with. For example, according to the target of the Make in India scheme, the manufacturing sector alone was supposed to contribute 25% to the total GDP of the country by 2020. But the current data shows that only 1.6% of the total GDP is being contributed by the manufacturing sector.
The biggest brunt of the failed targets has fallen on the women. “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ has been one of the biggest failures of this government” said Vice President of DYFI, Preethy Shekhar. Madhu from Ferozpur in Punjab said,”The lack of employment has particularly cornered women, who were not anyway prioritised, now women are compelled to marry, this is putting at greater risk the question of women’s own identity.”
The ideal of women being nation-builders has taken a big hit, as in the sea of over two crore job aspirants,a huge chunk is of women who, for lack of jobs, are compelled to take care of the household.” added Shekhar.
The historic rally also marked the founding day of DYFI in 1980, symbolising student’s unity. The youth marching across Delhi swore to continue their agitation across India and up their ante against the betrayal of the Modi government ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.