Mumbai: In its first attack on the Modi 2.0 government, BJP ally Shiv Sena Monday targeted it over rising unemployment and economic slowdown, saying engaging in “mere wordplay” is not going to solve any problem. The Uddhav Thackeray-led party said failure to create the promised 10 crore jobs in the last five years of the Modi rule cannot be blamed on former Congress prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru or Indira Gandhi.
The Sena’s attack came after official data released Friday said India’s economic growth rate slowed to a five-year low of 5.8 per cent in January-March 2018-19 due to poor performance in agriculture and manufacturing sectors. The Central Statistics Office also revealed that GDP growth during 2018-19 fiscal stood at 6.8 per cent, compared to 7.2 per cent in the previous financial year.
The Sena, in an editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, said mere “wordplay” discussions or advertisements are not going to solve the issue of growing unemployment. “The economy is in doldrums and the new Union Finance Minister will have to find some solution,” the Sena said.
Ambitious projects like Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train and Reliance-Dassault factory in Nagpur have little employment generation scope, it said. “Crores of unemployed youth trusted the ‘Modi Hai to Mumkin Hai’ (with Modi at the helm, it is possible) mantra and voted for him. The continued decline in job creation should be stopped and job creation should be the motto of the government for the next five years,” the Sena said.
“New industries, ports, road construction, airports and transport sectors need investment, which will generate employment and eventually boost GDP growth,” it said. The Sena, which shares power with the BJP in Maharashtra and also at the Centre, said in the state, farmer suicides continue and the situation on the farm front is grim.
“Agriculture was once an assured job-creating sector but we have failed there. The Marathwada region in the state has reported suicides by 315 farmers in the last five months. The whole picture of the state and the country (on farm front) is grim,” the party said.
“If unemployment continues to grow, it would create a chaotic situation in the future. Talks and advertisements would no longer help and some action is necessary,” it said. BJP minister Nitin Gadkari had said unemployment in the country is not an issue which was created in the last five years (of Modi rule), it said.
“We do agree with him (Gadkari), but unfulfilled promise of creating 10 crore jobs in five years cannot be blamed on Jawaharlal Nehru and (Indira) Gandhi,” it said. The central government’s recruitment is also on the decline and the drop is of 30-40 per cent, it said.
The situation of small, medium and micro enterprises is worse, while the government’s public enterprises are either making losses or facing shutdown, the Sena said. One needs to study whether projects on employment generation, pushed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his first term, had any impact on the ground, the party said.
The Sena criticism comes amid reports that the party, the second-largest in the National Democratic Alliance with 18 members, got just one cabinet berth in the new ministry, while the party leadership was expecting a better portfolio. In a repeat of 2014, the Sena has been again given the heavy industries and public undertakings ministry. Sena leader Anant Geete was the minister of heavy industries between 2014 and 2019. In the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government in 1999, Sena was given the same ministry, which was helmed by former Maharashtra chief minister Manohar Joshi.