Not possible to provide jobs to all, so we promote self-employment: Amit Shah
Joblessness is not anywhere but in media reports, BJP national president Amit Shah said on Friday, rebutting that unemployment was on rise during three years of the Narendra Modi government.
The Opposition targeted the Modi government after official figures showed a marginal increase in unemployment — from 4.9% in 2013-14 to 5% in 2015-16.
The latest Labour Bureau report claims 1.52 lakh casual labourers lost jobs during October-December 2016. Prime Minister Modi had announced the recall of high-value notes on November 8.
“There is no system to get an accurate assessment about the availability of jobs,” Shah told reporters at the BJP headquarters to list the government’s achievements on its third anniversary.
As he listed out Modi’s achievements – from e-auction of coal mines, anti-corruption steps, pro-poor initiatives to launch of 104 satellites in one go – Shah said the NDA government tried to give a new outlook to employment.
“It is impossible to provide employment through jobs in a country with 125 crore people,” he said.
“We have tried to create self employment opportunities for about 8 crore people.”
Shah disputed reports about increasing unemployment. “Where have jobs gone? These are newspaper reports. Do you consider newspaper reports as truth? People don’t,” Shah replied to a query on joblessness.
His jibe though could draw criticism from the opposition, which is trying to turn tables on the BJP sail over rising unemployment.
These parties have got more ammunition, off late, with big corporate houses cutting jobs to protect their profit margins amid a slowdown in economic activities. L&T slashed 14,000 jobs, HDFC Bank 10,000, Tata Motors 1,500 and the IT sector close to 50,000.
In its 2014 poll manifesto, the BJP rued that the country dragged through “10 years of jobless growth” under the UPA and promised “high priority” to job creation and opportunities for entrepreneurship.
Describing Modi as the “most popular public figure” after independence, Shah rejected the charge that the BJP was carrying out a witch hunt against opposition leaders.
“If they have benami properties worth Rs 1,000 crore, shouldn’t the government take action?” Shah asked.
“The entire world has seen shirtless leaders being caught on camera accepting cash. Do they want no action against them?”
If any leader, he said, had any problem with the investigations, he should present the case before the media with facts. “Can they say they do not have properties worth Rs 1,000 crore?”
Shah also trashed comparison between the current BJP and the Congress under Indira Gandhi, saying, “We have not imposed emergency. We have not put a lock on your (journalist) mouth. You didn’t have freedom of speech in 1975. We are not like Mrs Gandhi.”
The BJP chief said the party’s increase in base and victories after the 2014 election were the “people’s certificate” to the Prime Minister, as they believe Modi was a “decisive” leader who will restore the country’s glory and bring in transparency.
On a separate question about Tamil star Rajinikanth’s possible entry in the BJP, Shah said he has always said the movie star was welcomed if he wants to join politics.
“I said politics, not BJP. It is a decision he has to take,” he said.