Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday warned against throttled job creation if investments were blocked. He urged unions opposing labour reforms not to persist with ideas that could harm economic activity. A day after a ministerial panel headed by Jaitley failed to break an impasse over proposed labour reforms, he said the safety of the workforce could not be ensured without an increase in economic activity.
"If we stop the fountain of investment, then employment will not increase; economic activities will also not increase. And it becomes a threat to existing jobs," he said while addressing the Indian Labour Conference here.
The finance minister said the Indian economy was the fastest growing among major economies. The economy is projected to grow 8.1-8.5 per cent in this financial year and international agencies like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have forecast 7.5-7.8 per cent growth. This is higher than the seven per cent growth projection for China in 2015 and would make India the fastest growing among major economies.
"Today we are proud that in this slow environment, when all countries are struggling, India is the fastest growing economy," Jaitley said. "Even if we are a leader of any union or a worker of any organisation, we should not decide on anything which would deter economic activity or employment opportunities," he added.
He said a high growth rate would protect labour interests. "Sluggish industry will never be able to create jobs, it is only efficient industry which will be able to create jobs," he said. Efficient industries were able to offer higher wages and a richer government could provide better social security, he pointed out. "It is all our responsibility that we take the economy in that direction," he said.