Princeton, New Jersey: Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi has admitted that the previous UPA government led by his party “could not deliver adequately” in creating jobs, and said the Modi government despite its promises has been unable to do so either.
Interacting with students at the Princeton University here on Tuesday, the Congress leader said that the reason for the rise of Narendra Modi and also to an extent of US President Donald Trump was the “question of jobs”.
“A large part of our populations simply do not have jobs and cannot see a future and so they are feeling the pain. And they have supported these type of leaders. The problem is that the record on jobs of these leaders — I do not know Trump so I won’t go there — but certainly our prime minister is not good enough,” Gandhi said.
The Congress leader said jobs were the central challenge in India and 30,000 youth were entering the job market everyday in India but only 450 jobs were being created.
He admitted that the previous UPA government could not deliver adequately on the job front, which he said was a key reason for Modi leading the BJP to victory in the 2014 general elections.
“So those same people who got angry with us because we could not deliver on those 30,000 jobs are now going to get angry with Modi. The central issue is resolving that problem.”
He accused the prime minister of diverting from the issue of job creation and pointing fingers elsewhere.
“The anger is building up in India right now. We can sense it. So to me, the challenge is how to solve the problem in a democratic environment.
“Frankly, the Congress party was unable to do it. But Modi is also unable to do it. It is a deeper problem, so we have to first accept it as a problem and then we have to unite at solving it. Right now nobody is willing to accept,” Gandhi said.
“Second challenge is huge migration to cities and these are not being equipped to handle the type of pressures that they are coming under,” said Gandhi.
He also said that blue collar jobs were only created in India.
“If you look at blue collar jobs today, China dominates them. They [China] dominate them because they have a particular type of political system. They use coercion to dominate them, but they have got a competitive advantage in that space,” said Gandhi.
“Democratic countries are struggling to produce blue collar jobs. That to me is a real problem, that’s a problem in the US, India and in Europe. They are struggling to get the blue collar jobs.
“You can’t not have blue collar jobs when you are big country. That gap is creating the churn in the politics. That is the reason for disaffection or anger in our country,” he added.
Gandhi said: “Job numbers are nowhere they should be. That is the crux India has to figure out.”
Gandhi said small companies should be able to turn into big companies for jobs to pick up but that was not happening.
“You have large companies who have a role, but then the small companies that should be turning into large companies, and medium companies that should be turning into large companies — that’s not happening.
“For me, that’s where real jobs are going to come from. You also can’t just ignore agriculture. There is a lot of jobs that will come out of agriculture. Forty per cent of our vegetables rot today. That’s a huge waste,” he added.