Rural job demand nails FM’s claim on employment: Congress

As per government’s own data, NREGA demand for jobs is at the highest level.
Rural job demand nails FM’s  claim on employment: Congress

NEW DELHI: In a sharp attack on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman on unemployment, the Congress on Thursday said the “steady rise” in the demand for MGNREGA scheme bursts the FM’s claims on unemployment and job creation in the country.

The Congress reaction came a day after Sitharaman’s interview with this newspaper, where she said that the Opposition was attacking the government on unemployment “without any reliable data.”

Speaking to this newspaper, Congress leader and a key member of the manifesto committee Praveen Chakravarty said the party has cited the data from World Bank and other credible universities and the rising demand for NREGA jobs tell the story of unemployment in India. “The FM said that the Opposition doesn’t have reliable data to claim unemployment. However, data from the World Bank and other universities say that 42% of graduates are unemployed. This data is not from the Congress party,” Chakravarty said.

“The FM also admits that the government does not have the data. Then she should take data provided by the ‘State of Working India 2023’ report by Azim Premji University which pegs the unemployment rate at 42%,” said the Congress leader. The studies by the World Bank also say that India’s unemployment is at a higher level. These are all independent, credible institutions, he added.

As per government’s own data, NREGA demand for jobs is at the highest level.

The FM claimed that the informal sector base and the gig economy has grown exponentially since the BJP came to power in 2014,but there is inadequate data to prove it.

However, Chakravarty contested the claim. “These surveys have data from both formal and informal sectors. If people had jobs, why is the NREGA demand the highest ever? People go to work in the sun for bare minimum wages only when there is no other work,” he said.

Responding to Sitaraman’s barbs on Congress manifesto’ promise on single-slab GST, Chakravarty said that the minister was totally wrong on GST. “Vijay Kelkar, who first proposed GST when he was finance secretary, said that GST should be simplified, and we should have a single rate. So our proposal categorically says GST will be a single rate with merit rate and a demerit rate.”

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