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PM Modi can keep trying to divert attention but youth unemployment defining issue in LS polls: Cong

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NEW DELHI, March 27: The Congress on Wednesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi can keep trying to “distort, distract, and divert”, but youth unemployment is a defining issue for the country in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and it has a concrete plan to deal with it.

The opposition party claimed that the country is sitting on a “ticking bomb” of joblessness with the youth bearing the brunt of the Modi government’s “apathy”.

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Citing the India Employment Report 2024 released by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Institute of Human Development (IHD), Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge urged people to remember before voting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to provide 20 crore jobs in 10 years but “snatched more than 12 crore jobs from the youth”.

“Our Youth is bearing the brunt of Modi government’s pathetic apathy, as ever-rising Unemployment has destroyed their future. ILO & IHD Report conclusively says that the Unemployment problem is grim in India,” he said.

“They are conservative, we are sitting on a ‘ticking bomb’ of joblessness!” Kharge said in a post on X.

“But the Modi government’s Chief Economic Advisor protects the dear leader, by saying ‘government can’t solve all social, economic problems such as unemployment’,” he said.

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Kharge said the ILO report states that 83 per cent of jobless Indians are youths and only 17.5 per cent of the youth in rural areas are engaged in regular work.

“Share of people employed in industry and manufacturing has remained the same since 2012 at 26% of the total workforce. The percentage of youth involved in economic activities decreased from 42% in 2012 to 37% by 2022,” he said, citing the report.

Therefore, compared to the Congress-led UPA government, fewer young people are involved in economic activities under the Modi dispensation due to an acute scarcity of jobs, Kharge said.

Compared to 2012, youth unemployment has tripled under the Modi government, he claimed.

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“That is why the Congress has brought in ‘Yuva Nyay’,” he said.

Kharge listed the guarantees of the Congress under ‘Yuva Nyay’, such as filling up nearly 30 lakh vacant central government posts.

He also highlighted the right to apprenticeship law for degree/diploma holders, which will guarantee them apprenticeship with an assistance of Rs 1 lakh per year.

“The Congress Party guarantees that we will put a full stop on paper leaks by bringing a new law and will also bring a new law for social security and working conditions in gig economy,” he said.

“A Fund will be created with an amount of Rs 5,000 Cr which will be distributed in all the districts of the country. Each district will get 10 Cr from the fund,” he added.

“Before you vote, do remember …! Modi ji promised 20 Crore Jobs in 10 Years, but snatched more than 12 crore jobs from the youth!” the Congress chief said.

In a statement, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the India Employment Report 2024 presents “some extremely concerning” facts on the country’s labour market over the last 10 years of ‘anyay kaal’.

Citing the report, he said there has been a “failure” to create sufficient employment.

“Each year, around 70–80 lakh youths are added to the labour force, but between 2012 and 2019, there was almost zero growth in employment – just 0.01%! In 2022, unemployment was very high among the urban youth (17.2%) as well as rural youth (10.6%),” he said.

The female unemployment rate in urban areas was extremely high at 21.6 per cent, Ramesh said.

“This report finds that the Modi government increased the percentage of low-paying informal-sector employment without social security, while formal employment decreased from 10.5% to 9.7% from 2019-22,” the Congress leader said on X.

“For the first time in decades, under Modi’s mismanagement, the absolute number of workers in agriculture is increasing,” he said.

This goes against the very basic concept of economic modernisation, which every developed country has gone through, he added.

Nearly one in three youths with graduate degrees (29.1%) are unemployed, Ramesh said, citing the report.

He pointed out that just 20 per cent of the 1,25,000 establishments registered on the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme portal actually offer apprenticeships.

“Real wages of regular workers have declined between 2012 and 2022. Inflation has been uncontrolled and workers can now afford less than they could 10 years ago,” he claimed.

“Minimum wage laws have not been enforced. In 2022, 62% of unskilled casual agriculture workers and 70% of workers in the construction sector got less than the legal minimum wage,” he said.

Ramesh also accused the government of being a “failure” in empowering young women to work.

The Congress has raised these issues consistently, and has now put forward the ‘Paanch Nyay, Pachees Guarantees’ to tackle the crises of worsening unemployment, stagnant wages and poor female labour force participation, Ramesh asserted.

“The PM can keep trying to distort, distract, and divert, but youth unemployment is the defining issue for the country in the 2024 elections for the country. The Congress party has presented a concrete plan of action on unemployment. The days of Pakoda-nomics will soon be over,” he said in his statement.

AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also slammed the Centre over the issue of unemployment, saying the youth have understood that the BJP cannot provide employment and her party has a concrete plan for providing jobs to them. (PTI)




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