There has been political opposition and doubts in international forums over the Indian government’s success in generating meaningful employment for India’s burgeoning young population. It is estimated that 13 million people enter the workforce every year but India is able to provide jobs to only a fraction of them. In the last full-fledged budget
of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley seems to have set lofty targets to change these perceptions about India’s laggard employment prospects.
To generate mass employment, the government aims to give jobs to 464,000 people, generate 3.2 billion man-days of employment and provide livelihood to 17 million beneficiaries. All of this in 12 of its key schemes like the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Generation (MNREGA) scheme, Pradhaan Mantri Awaas Yojana among others. It is unclear what the government means by providing ‘livelihood’ to these so called beneficiaries of its various social sector
Modi’s flagship scheme Swachh Bharat Mission, launched by him immediately after coming to power in 2014, seeks to generate 169.2 million man-days under Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation scheme. But the biggest employment generator in terms of man-days will still be MNREGA, launched by Manmohan Singh led United Progressive Alliance – 1 government. It seeks to provide 2.3 billion mandays of employment across India. This target has to be achieved by the Ministry of Rural Development
headed by Narender Tomar.
Meanwhile under the PM Employment Generation Programme launched also launched by the erstwhile UPA government, 294,000 people will be given employment in 49,000 projects. In tune with the government’s budgetary thrust, these jobs will be provided to those employed in Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). The Modi government in its 2018-19 budget
has promised to extend credit to the tune of Rs 3 trillion to the MSME sector.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley had also termed his move to slash tax rates for companies earning a revenue of less than Rs 2.5 billion to 25 per cent as move to generate jobs in medium and small enterprises across the country.
As the government aims to tackle rising rural agricultural distress a year before the crucial Parliamentary elections in 2019, it has also sought to ramp up the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana. It aims to provide ‘livelihoods’ 11.7 million beneficiaries under this scheme. To achieve this target, the government has sanctioned Rs 31 billion in this year’s budget.
To further buttress its credentials of being serious about agrarian distress, the government also plans to spend Rs 40 billion on the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee to extend irrigation in areas hit by severe drought and hydrological paucity. By doing this, the government also aims to generate livelihoods for 50,000 beneficiaries.
The Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana earmarks 465.5 mandays for 4.9 million houses, moving along the path of government’s idea to provide a house to every poor by 2022. Affordable housing in India was given infrastructure status last year to incentivize both housing for the poor and employment for those who would be enlisted to build these houses.