By Sunil Dang, Editor-in-Chief
The performance of any government is measured mainly on job creation, inflation, economic and social health of the nation. On inflation and economic growth front, the government may play the juggling game with stats but what about the job creation? Here, their trick is not going to solve their cause because youth is feeling the heat of unemployment as near one crore new professional aspirants are coming into the job market every year. Probably, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are aware of this fact. Otherwise, what could be the reason for diverting their poll agenda from development to religion? Why is there a huge number of ‘TirangaYatras’ taking place instead of youth festival and job fairs, which is expected from them ever since Modi took over in New Delhi.
The finance minister and some other cabinet colleagues of Narendra Modi may claim that a huge number of new registrations have taken place in Employs Provident Fund Organization (EPFO). Those playing with stats must make it clear that how much of them have been registered after demonetization because post demonetization as this indicates a change in the characterization of the nature of employment— from informal to formal and not an increase in the employment growth as such. In fact, post demonetization, a huge number of startups have shut down their operations which led to huge job losses. Those, who continued operations, had to cut down their employee strength at larger extent so that they could survive in a sluggish market scenario. Hence, the increase in EPFO registration does not indicates new job creation as such, but existing employees whose names were missing from the employers registers and were getting payment in cash. Utter failure of the government on the job, inflation and other economic fronts is nothing but an indication that our economists sitting in power corridors are unable to sniff the aspirations of Indian youths. Rather, they are busy convincing their masters by painting the doom through artificial boom.
As predicted earlier, majority of states going to polls are witnessing religious polarization instead of development, even north east states are not spared this time, which indicates that BJP has only one tool to win elections and that is polarization. But, to my surprise, they are repeating the same tool in Karnataka which may backfire because the incumbent government there is in no mood to either attack Narendra Modi or allege BJP for polarizing the state on religious line. Siddharamaiah is playing safe by attacking BJP for not having anything against him or his government that forced ‘party with difference’ to go back to its religious poll plank. Similarly, in Tripura, Manek Sarkar seems way ahead from his rivals but it’s for sure that the BJP has emerged as a force to reckon with. In Meghalaya, Conrad Sangama’s NPP is gaining momentum which is good for NDA. But, the way 11 Nagaland political parties have decided to boycott February Assembly Polls; it reflects that they have lost faith in center’s promise to their issues.
The Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan informed recently that leading telecom operators, including Airtel and Reliance Jio, have committed to invest over Rs 74,000 crore to upgrade and expand their infrastructure to address the issue of call drops. It is interesting to know that telecom operators are giving an impression that they are under financial stress due to this investment; however, if we go by TRAI ruling, these companies are gaining more than the investment announced through call drops. So, they should refrain from painting this investment as charity. In fact, this step should have taken much earlier had TRAI been equipped with same kinds of tools which SEBI has. In actual FSSAI, TRAI and some other such organizations needs some more powers so that they can handle the responsibility they are entrusted with.
Recently, news of Ram Madhav maintaining a low profile visit to J&K and meeting with Sajjad Ghani Lon and state RSS chief only was a big surprise for me as the state was going to Panchayat Polls soon. However, the curtains got put off when news of postponement of J&K Panchayat Polls surfaced. Hope, Ram Madhav has information on what the people of J&K are thinking of the BJP’s promise on article 370 because they have done nothing in this regard even when they are in the government at both centre and state. In the wake of fast approaching general elections and speculations to prepone it with three state assembly polls in November 2018, Mamata Banerjee and Sharad Pawar have become fulcrum of the opposition, especially after conviction of Lalu Prasad Yadav. But, Lalu and Pawar combo ensured all out unity of the opposition while Mamata-Pawar combo is trying to create opposition within opposition to corner Congress.