A discussion on a private member’s resolution, asking the government to bring an Employment Guarantee Act to address unemployment crisis among the educated youth, saw a joint opposition targeting the Centre.
The proceedings were disrupted and the House had to be adjourned minutes before its scheduled closing after BJP MP G V L Narasimha Rao hit out at the Opposition MPs for using incomparable data on employment, calling it a “statistical Shaheen Bagh”.
When the Opposition members objected to his remark, Union Minister Giriraj Singh intervened. His remark, which was not audible, angered the Opposition more after which Congress members came to the Well and started protesting. Eventually, the House was adjourned.
Moving the resolution, CPI’s Binoy Viswam asked the government to present a comprehensive and holistic report on the state of unemployment among educated citizens and come out with a plan of action to address it. He demanded that a Joint Parliamentary Committee be set up to work with stakeholders and develop an Employment Guarantee Act.
Targeting the government, he claimed that unemployment rate in the country is the highest in 45 years. Viswam said the government, which came to power after promising two crores of jobs every year, is now asking the people to “go and make pakoras or jalebis.”
“A government solemnly serving the growth of FDI cannot find jobs for the youth because investors from foreign countries are concerned only about their profits, not about India’s progress, not about Indian youth. So, it is an FDI-driven government… Swadeshi government serving the interest of the videshis,” he said.
The Congress’s Kumar Ketkar supported Viswam’s resolution and said India is sitting on a ticking bomb. “And that ticking bomb in the economy will be triggered, or the fuse will be lit by the unemployed youth,” he said.
Several Opposition members, including DMK’s T K S Elangovan and RJD’s Manoj Jha, supported the resolution.
Samajwadi Party member Ram Gopal Yadav demanded 365 days of work under MGNREGA and urged the government to boost agriculture and MSMEs in the country which have huge employment generation potential. The CPM’s K K Ragesh said data of the National Sample Survey Organisation reveals that unemployment is at a four-decade high. He said the government is blind towards growing unemployment in the country and demanded that it provide unemployment allowance to the jobless youth.
Hitting back at the Opposition, Rao said the “very premise of the resolution is flawed” as it is quoting statistics about unemployment which is “contentious and problematic”. He alleged that the Opposition members have “selectively quoted” the periodic labour force survey of the NSSO to defame the country and the government and mislead the people.
He said the current data and earlier data were not comparable as there was a sea change in the methods of data collection and the estimation procedures. He said that if the Opposition members are using the statistics for political propaganda despite knowing the facts, “I can only call it a statistical Shaheen Bagh”.
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