NEW DELHI: Questioning the competence of the Modi government to create jobs, senior Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram said on Monday that “unemployment” will be the biggest issue in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
“There will be many issues, but the biggest of them in the 2019 elections will be unemployment. The government is so incompetent that they don’t know how to create jobs,” he said while addressing the Indian Youth Congress National Executive Meeting here.
There were vacancies across sectors and thousands of jobs could be created, he said.
Chidambaram also said that if the Congress returns to power at the Centre, it will not do things that the present government is doing.
The former Minister also said that Gujarat leaders like Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mevani were able to mobilise thousands of people because of lack of jobs.
“Caste factor was a vehicle to mobilise them, but what drove them was unemployment,” he said.
Slamming the Modi government, he said demonetisation and faulty implementation of the Goods and Services Tax had destroyed jobs in the MSME sector and completely killed demand.
“This government completely killed demand. What little was left, it was killed by demonetisation, what little enterprise was there, was killed by the GST.”
“Demonetisation and GST practically killed all micro, bulk of small and at least 40 per cent of the medium industries and thousands and thousands of jobs were destroyed,” Chidambaram added.
“No Congress Prime Minister or Finance Minister can ever dream of something utterly foolish like demonetisation,” said Chidambaram.
Giving an example of the potential to create jobs, Chidambaram said there was just one teacher each in one lakh government schools.
“If at least five teachers are recruited in these one-teacher schools, millions of jobs will be created.”
He said there were similarly vacancies of doctors, clerks, peons and safai karamcharis in various departments.
The Congress leader said nearly 6,000 teaching posts in central universities were vacant, while 410 posts of Judges were vacant in the higher judiciary.
He said that if the Congress returned to power, it would focus on creating jobs in MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises), besides paying attention to exports and off-farm jobs, such as poultry, food processing and diary farming.
The Congress leader claimed that investment had gone down drastically in the last four years. “Tragedy for India is that investment ratio at this stage is the lowest since liberalisation of the Indian economy.”