Jobs Jobs Jobs

The employment whitewash
Jobs are what all Indians want. Governments know this. But they do not know how to create jobs. The problem is that the much-touted mantra of economic growth does not generate jobs. In fact, the reverse is quite true: India suffers from the growth-without-jobs syndrome.

Therefore in the last decade (between 1993-94 and 1999-2000), even as the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate increased, the growth in jobs declined. The employment growth fell to 1.07 per cent per annum between 1994 and 2000, from 2.7 per cent between 1983 and 1993. This, when the GDP growth accelerated to 6.7 per cent from 5.3 per cent. “The capacity of job creation per unit of GDP output has gone down by about three times compared to that in the 1980s and early 1990s,” says S P Gupta, a former member of the Planning Commission who headed a special group on employment generation set up by the last National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

The NDA spent its five-year tenure on the job-drawing board. In 1999, it set up the ‘Task Force on Employment Opportunities’ under Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who ironically is the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission now. The Ahluwalia task force, which was charged with suggesting strategies for providing employment to 100 million in 10 years, or 10 million jobs each year, submitted its report in July 2001.

But even before this report was submitted, the NDA government formed yet another task force: the ‘Special Group on Targeting Ten Million Employment Opportu