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Letter to BS: Need solutions on weak policies leading to eco-slowdown

Certainly import-competing domestic production is not bad. And labour-intensive products stand no chance in the highly competitive export market

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This refers to "The Job crisis worsens" (November 19) by ex-CEA Shankar Acharya. He explains in the subtitle that for the worsening job crisis, the main blame should not fall on the slowdown but on weak policies. He has quoted remarkable quantity of data to prove the extent of job loss. About weak policies, he has simply enumerated the poor state of public education, skilling system, labour laws, exchange rate, exports that are not labour intensive, import-competing domestic production, poor infrastructure, weak public sector banks etc. In effect, he has blamed everything. But what is wrong with everything, he has not discussed. Certainly import-competing domestic production is not bad. And labour-intensive products stand no chance in the highly competitive export market.

These serious issues just cannot be damned as arising out of poor policy without discussion. As a solution he has only said we have no alternative to "tackling policy and programme weaknesses" without saying how. Maybe there is no space in this article. In that case, he could have written one more article indicating what those policies should be. Otherwise his article is only a great collection of data of rising unemployment and nothing more. We are deprived of his wise advice emanating from his long experience at high policy pedestal.

Sukumar Mukhopadhyay, via email

Shankar Acharya responds:

I appreciate Mr Mukhopadhyay's wish for more detailed suggestions on how to deal with our mounting unemployment/underemployment challenge, which I have summarised in my recent article. As he graciously acknowledges, I have, in my opening paragraph, outlined some key areas in which our policies and programmes need to seriously improve. He also correctly surmises that "there is no space in this article" to give the desired detail and encourages me to write another one. I will consider his suggestion seriously. In the meantime, I would encourage him to peruse my extensive writings on all these areas over the past 20 years. I shall be happy to provide him with detailed reading suggestions.


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First Published: Thu, November 21 2019. 21:46 IST
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