Editorial analysis: Govt marginal employer, major policy push missing


Chart credit Twitter @_CMIE

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The Raisina Hills takes a critical look at the editorials carried in India’s top five English newspapers which cover the most important issues of the day.


The announcement of the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre to fill up 10 lakh vacancies in ministries and departments in the next 18 months has been analysed by The Times of India (ToI) and The Indian Express (IE) in their lead editorials, with both concurring that the measure isn’t enough and much more is needed at the policy front to absorb a substantial chunk of 1.20 crore individuals coming to the job market every year.

It must be known that India doesn’t have a reliable source to know the scales of unemployment, and the former vice-chairman of Niti Aayog’s promise to get one such objective assessment system made in 2017 hasn’t yet seen light of the day.

The IE in its lead editorial ‘The job push’ called for employment generation in the manufacturing, with focus on low and semi-skilled workers, for obvious reasons that the joblessness is this segment is much more while they also need to be pulled out from agriculture for overall health of the economy.

The IE has poured cold waters on euphoria over Modi’s 10 lakh job announcement by statistically making that case of the government being the marginal employer in the economy. In fact, the total sanctioned strength of the government is on fast decline, from 41.76 lakh in 1994 to 38.9 lakh in 2014, further slipping to 34.5 lakh in 2021, while average government recruitment during 2006-14 was a little over one lakh, which took sharp plunge during the Modi government.

The IE rightly stated that while 60 lakh jobs need to be created annually to absorb half of the new entrants in the working age population, the private sector needs to step in. However, the editorial fails to mention that in times of high inflation and low growth the private investment takes a back seat, which makes it incumbent on the government to step up the public spending to help creation of the employment opportunities.

The ToI in its lead editorial ‘The jobs crisis’ has also taken a grim view of the employment situation in the country, calling for the Centre and the states to collaborate to fast-track skilling to boost the employability of the people in the manufacturing sector. It underlines that the PLIs (production linked schemes), the major chest-thumping claim of the government on the economic policy front, aren’t enough.

The Covid-19 cases are on the rise across the country, with fear of the fourth wave looming in the near future, and the three big surge centres remain the same – Maharashtra, Kerala and Delhi.

The Economic Times in its editorial ‘Twice Covid-beaten, be shy and cautious’ has suggested that the government can think if another round of the booster dose (of vaccines) is required. It has also rightly called for strengthening the primary health care to deal with Covid cases which can help the hospitals some leeway. The primary health care in the country, however, is in shambles, which isn’t mentioned by the editorial.

Deccan Herald (DH) in its editorial ‘We must be ready for a Covid surge’, while noting 33 per cent spike in new cases in a day, has stressed that the parameters don’t show need for panic, as cases aren’t serious and mortality is far less.

DH strikes a cautionary note by referring to the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s claims of more virulent variants emerging even while China struggles to keep the outbreak in check. DH has called for strict adherence to the Covid-19 protocol, including wearing of masks and good hygiene practices.

In a passing reference, DH fleetingly endorsed heterogeneous vaccines to deal with the possible fourth wave.

In world affairs, the IE has in its editorial ‘Drawing closer’ called for close partnership between India and Sri Lanka while DH has slammed Boris Johnson’s plan to send the asylum seekers to Rwanda in its edit ‘Britain’s Rwanda plan is shameful’.

The IE while noting multiple transport links between the southern states and Sri Lanka argued for beefing up the air linkages to promote tourism in the island nation. It may be noted the crash of tourism is one of the reasons for the collapse of the Sri Lankan economy.

DH has come hard on Britain’s USD 155 million deal with the Rwandan government for resettling the asylum seekers from the UK as part of the development aid. The issue is now sub-judice, but the country claiming to be a society of enlightened and evolved people is resorting to such inhumane measures must be seen as most bizarre.


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