By Prarthana Mitra
Things may be looking up for India’s corporate sector, for the first time in a while. Wages and salaries in the first quarter of Financial Year 2018-19 have reportedly turned a 12.6% uptick, suggesting there are more jobs in the market today than four years ago.
The hiring spree has revived the job market, as is evinced by the combined wages and salary bill for listed companies, according to Business Standard. The uptick in hiring continued through the April-June quarter, registering the fastest pace in nearly four years, with non-bank retail lenders such as Bajaj Finance, HDFC, Indiabulls Housing and Shriram Transport Finance leading with 27.6% year-on-year growth.
Will it swing youth votes for the centre?
This is excellent news for the young workforce and even better news for the central government whose commitment to improving employment opportunities has come under scrutiny and will face an ultimate test in the upcoming polls. Millions of young Indians of working age and skills are without work, and they form a key swing constituency for the BJP in the next election. According to Economic Times, as many as 130 million first-time voters will go to polls next May.
Despite enjoying popularity among young Indians, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s economic policies has not impressed many. A 2016 survey asking 6100 young repondents to nominate the most important issue facing India resulted in 18% answering jobs and unemployment, and another 12% citing economic inequality.
It is this demographic of voters that took Modi’s word for it, when he vouched to create 10 million jobs every year back in 2014. That promise has turned out to be largely futile thus far, despite the reports that the BJP administration furnishes every time they are questioned on the subject. Modi himself leaves no stone unturned to talk about his government’s efforts in providing youths with skill training and loans, besides his pet drive to make India a startup-hub.
However, latest figures from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy registered the highest unemployment rate this year in August (6.32). The evidence is staring us in the face with glaring inequalities, rise in proverty, lay-offs and shutdowns, and unemployment-related social tensions like mob vandalism and violence. In March 28 million candidates applied in response to the centre’s call to fill 90,000 vacancies in the Indian Railways. So, the surge in hiring which is believed to have begun this quarter can offset the unstemmed rise in unemployment. But the question at this point is, does it come too late for the BJP government? And is it going to be enough?
Srinivas B. V., vice president of the Indian Youth Congress, believes that the country’s job-seeking youth are ready to call BJP’s bluff. He spoke to ET, saying, “Young people are upset with the government over the lack of jobs, the rise of intolerance and spread of hatred. They faced the reality and now want a change.”
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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