Politics of unemployment: Contrasting worlds of Biden & Modi

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Modi has now made it a policy normal that the business of the government is to provide free grains to the people.

Bharat Chawal mobile van

Bharat Chawal mobile van

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, February 8: With President Joe Biden at the help, the US added over three million jobs last year. The hot weekly job additions in the US market is keeping the US Federal Reserve Jerome Powell away from soft-landing the rates.

India is without credible data to know if the economy is even creating jobs even while Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s famous promise to create two crores jobs annually is now forgotten amid the loud chant of ‘Jai Shri Ram’.

Biden gave a twist in the tale of the politics at the high places in the governments over employment with a message of the social media platform X. Biden said: “Experts said that to get inflation under control we needed to drive up unemployment.”  

The US President claimed that his administration found a better way to deal with the economic challenge. He said: “Under my plan, unemployment has been under four per cent for two full years now, and inflation has been at the pre-pandemic level of two per cent over the last half year.”

Modi has no claims to made on employment creations. His government, however, told parliament this week that the “startups created over 12 lakh jobs this year”. Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal also hit out at the Modi government with reference to his claims that the “Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) supremo Mohan Bhagwat has spoken that the people should not not chase employments”.

The US had printed currencies to beat the blues of the Covid-19 pandemic. Inflation, thus, flew out of the roof. India rode ‘kind not cash’ bus to escape the fury of the pandemic. Income of the people slipped away from the priorities of the government.

Modi has now made it a policy normal that the business of the government is to provide free grains to the people. Topping up the free grains (5 kg per person per month for 80 crore people and additionally 5 kg free of cost for two-third of the population under the National Food Security Act), the Modi government is now selling ‘Bharat Chawal’, ‘Bharat Aatta’, ‘Bharat Daal’, etc., at highly subsidized rates through mobile vans.

With income not rising and the government taking care of the needs of the food and the addons, the Modi government has dealt with inflation. Agriculture expert Ashok Gulati has claimed that the income growth in the rural areas in the last five years has been negative. But his colleague Ramesh Chand with agriculture background invented statistics to claim that close to 25 crore people escaped poverty because of the improved access to housing, nutrition, healthcare, maternal immunization, etc.

Chand’s claims has been gladly accepted in Odisha where the state government is claiming that the Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik, would even eliminate poverty in the next few years. The US keeps on adding jobs. India keeps out belting out schemes to keep the people protected from ‘unemployment and inflation’.

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