India's biggest crisis is unemployment and the country needs to invest more in the tourism sector which hires nearly 10 times as many people as any manufacturing industry, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has said.
He said the future of India depended very much on its ability to escape from the politics of identity and the government's ability to provide answers to the real needs of the people.
"The biggest crisis facing this country is unemployment. I am strongly in favour of measures that will soak up labour problem by offering people realistic and viable alternatives. Channelling government investment into employment-generating businesses," the Congress leader said.
"We have been so laggard in investing in the tourism...The wonderful ruins around our country have remained ruins rather than becoming tourist sites. Tourism hires and employs 8-10 times as many people as any manufacturing industry can, that too skilled and unskilled people," he said.
He said the "polarisation politics" of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was anchored in the sense of belonging that comes out of hatred.
Commenting on the Congress' recent electoral victories in the assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, the 62-year-old MP from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala said his party won by having to point out to the "horrors" like agrarian distress, mounting farmer suicides, besides other strong economic and local factors that weighed in heavily.
"The Congress took an approach that was necessary to take in the face of a rather open attempt by the BJP to polarise the electorate on religious identity by defanging that notion," he said.
Tharoor said the temple-hopping of Congress president Rahul Gandhi during his poll campaigning was necessary to neutralise the attempt by the BJP to make it a "polarised election".
The BJP last month slammed the Congress for allegedly spreading "hatred" against the RSS and the "Hindus", and described Gandhi's temple visits as "fancy dress Hindutva".
"If the Congress succeeded in defanging the possibility of polarisation, it is a sensible achievement and not something to be despaired or sneered at," Tharoor said at a book launch event here Thursday.
Written by journalist Revati Laul, the book titled 'The Anatomy of Hate' chronicles the 2002 Gujarat riots from an unprecedented perspective.
Laul's book has three protagonists who took an active part in the riots and she looks at what pushed these individuals to partake in the acts of violence that unfolded in Gujarat in 2002.