Several figures are being thrown about as the Bihar polls come to hang on the lack, and promise, of jobs. Here are some of them:
Tejashwi’s 10 lakh
The Grand Alliance’s CM candidate has promised 10 lakh government jobs in the “very first Cabinet with my very first signature”. He has reduced this number to a simple math: “There is a provision in the budget for 4.5 lakh jobs that are vacant. And 5.5 lakh jobs more are needed for Bihar’s progress, according to NITI Aayog. If there is a will, it’s possible.” According to him, these 5.5 lakh jobs will be added in medicine, education, police services etc.
The NDA reacted after it saw that the promise was resonating across crowds. Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi fired the first salvo, saying that 10 lakh additional jobs would mean an expense of Rs 58,000 crore above the annual budget. He said: “If 1.25 lakh doctors, 2.5 lakh para-medical staff are inducted, then
Rs 22,270.95 crore will be spent on salaries. For recruitment of 2.5 lakh teachers and 50 teachers, Rs 20,352.66 crore will be spent… Rs 3,604 crore will be spent on recruitment of 95,000 police officers, Rs 5,780 crore will be spent on recruitment of 75,000 engineers, Rs 6,406 crore will be spent on recruitment of 2 lakh peons… This means a total of Rs 58,415 crore… If the Opposition spends this much on salary, how will they meet the expenses on pension, students’ scholarship, cycle, uniforms, mid-day meal…and electricity?” he questioned. Modi noted that the state budget was Rs 2.11 lakh crore, a far cry from the Rs 24,000 crore budget in the RJD government’s time.
In an apparent reference to Lalu, Nitish said, “Where will you get money to pay the salaries? From the same scam for which you are in jail?”
Tejashwi replied: “Rs 30,000 crore is Bihar’s budget, where is the money? All gone in 60 scams on his (Nitish’s) watch… He spent Rs 500 crore to brighten his face in ads. Then he makes this laughable comment.”
BJP’s 19 lakh
After raising questions regarding Tejashwi’s promise, the BJP somewhat diluted the charge by vowing in its manifesto to create 19 lakh jobs. As the BJP put it, its promise was not about “giving jobs” but “creating them”.
Bihar BJP president Dr Sanjay Jaiswal said only four lakh of those jobs — three lakh in teaching and one lakh in health — would be in the government sector. He said the IT sector would create one lakh jobs and the rest would come from agriculture etc, without details.
RJD national vice-president Shivanand Tewari reacted: “Tejashwi has set the agenda… Both PM Modi and Nitish have been finding it difficult to answer his job posers.”
Lalu’s ‘95,000’ vs Nitish’s ‘6 lakh’
Both Nitish and the BJP have now taken to claiming that under Lalu Prasad, followed by Rabri Devi, the RJD government created “only 95,000 jobs” in 15 years and when, for 10 of those years, Bihar and Jharkhand were one.
In comparison, NDA leaders have been claiming, the Nitish government in its 15 years had given six lakh jobs. Without giving many details, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad claimed this was on ground of laying of optical fibre in every Bihar village, that had created jobs at local levels, and setting up of common service centres under the IT Department at the Centre (which he heads), that had engaged “over 2.5 lakh boys and girls in Bihar alone”.
The JD(U) has said contrary to Tejashwi’s claims of 4.5 lakh government jobs not being filled, “around one lakh jobs are vacant, of which we have advertised for more than 75,000”.
On Friday, the Congress accused Nitish of putting health services “on a ventilator”, claiming shortage of 60% doctors and 71% nurses across Bihar. Without mentioning the year the JD(U)-BJP government had done so, or in reference to which case, the Congress said the Nitish government had submitted to the Supreme Court that only 5,205 of the 12,206 sanctioned posts of doctors and 5,634 of the 19,155 posts of nurses in the state were filled.
The Congress said a Grand Alliance government would fill up these vacant posts in a “special drive”, “bypassing Public Service Commission”. The Congress said eligible candidates would appear with their educational certificates, these would be verified, and an interview done by the Director General of Health Services, leading to recruitment. The party also promised hiring of specialists on “special salary”, and increase in PHCs in Bihar.