BUDGET SHOULD FOCUS ON ECONOMIC JOB GROWTH, SAYS CHIDAMBARAM
The fifth and last Budget of the Narendra Modi government would need to address the problem of economic growth and meet the challenge of creating jobs, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram and former deputy chairman of the erstwhile Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia said on Tuesday.
Participating in a panel discussion after former president Pranab Mukherjee launched Chidambaram’s book, Speaking Truth to Power, a collection of his essays published in newspapers, Ahluwalia and Chidambaram disputed recent claims in a study that the Modi government created 7 million jobs. Ahluwalia termed the inferences of the study based on Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation data was “flawed”.
Chidambaram said the Economic Survey was “an utter confession” that in the four years the Modi government has failed to deal with three of the biggest issues — employment, education and agriculture. He said the attempt by Pulak Ghosh, of IIM-Bangalore, and Soumya Kanti Ghosh of State Bank of India to use payroll measure was good but to extrapolate it to reach the figure that they did was flawed.
Chidambaram pointed to a recent survey by CSDS, which has brought out that the number one concern of the people of India was jobs. “If you are creating 7 million jobs, why should that be the number one concern?” he asked. The Congress leader said caste may have been a convenient mobilising tool in the agitation by Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani in Gujarat, but the “real driving force” of the agitation was “the cry for jobs”.
Ahluwalia said any announcements in the Budget of a new scheme was unlikely to make any difference on the ground, as employment was the key concern. He said the big focus of the Budget should the unemployment problem, and GDP growth in excess of 8 per cent was a prerequisite to create jobs.
The Business Standard, New Delhi, 31st January 2018