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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Bihar elections 2020: It’s raining jobs — in party manifestos

The latest manifesto comes from the BJP camp, which has promised to create 19 lakh jobs in the state in the next five years.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: October 22, 2020 10:16:37 pm
(Clockwise from top) Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman launching BJP manifesto; LJP's Chirag Paswan; and Mahagathbandhan leaders during their manifesto launch. (Source: PTI)

Jobs have edged out other issues to become a major poll plank ahead of the Bihar Assembly election. Employment generation is the high point in manifestos of all major political parties, besides other promises such as pension schemes, anti-farm law legislation, and even free coronavirus vaccine.

On Thursday, the BJP released its manifesto, promising the creation of 19 lakh jobs in the state in the next five years. This would include the hiring of 3 lakh teachers at school, college, and university level, 5 lakh jobs in the IT sector, and 1 lakh jobs in the medical sector.

The BJP’s promise of 19 lakh jobs comes after party leader and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi targeted the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) for promising 10 lakh jobs to youth, asking how will they get extra funds to create new jobs.

In a series of tweets, Modi detailed the maths behind the hiring of new professionals, citing that the filling up of these new vacancies would cost the state government an extra Rs 58,415 crore.

Mahagathbandhan manifesto  

The manifesto of Mahagathbandhan alliance in Bihar – the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Congress, and Left parties — launched on October 17, promised to provide 10 lakh permanent jobs, which would include filling up of 4.5 lakh vacancies that opened up under the NDA and further create 5.5 lakh permanent positions. RJD leader and party’s chief ministerial candidate Tejashwi Yadav had said there would be a provision for job to each member of a family with guaranteed minimum wages.

He also said the MGNREGA workdays would be increased from (the present) 100 days to 200 days and promised to do away with the contract system for the hiring of teachers.

Reacting to Sushil Modi’s statement questioning RJD’s 10 lakh jobs promise, Tejashwi said, “Nowadays Nitish ji is speaking anything. Maybe he has forgotten that Bihar’s financial budget is Rs 2,11,761 crore, 40% of which his government is unable to spend due to its wavering, irresponsible, corrupt and poor policies. And finally 80,000 crore rupees are surrendered every year due to these failures.

“Why would an efficient government surrender about 40% of the budget amount every year? Respected Nitish ji and Sushil Modi ji, we can use this huge amount in the form of new development works and salary of millions of new jobs instead of creating breathtaking caste vote banks like yours.”

On Thursday, the RJD also attacked the BJP for promising 19 lakh jobs after making the people of Bihar unemployed. A tweet in Hindi on the party’s Twitter handle read: “Banakar Bihar ko sabse berozgar, ab keh rahe hain denge 19 lakh rozgar (after making Bihar unemplyed, they are now promising to give 19 lakh jobs).”

The Congress, which is fighting the election in alliance with the RJD, also attack the BJP on its jobs plank. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala sought to know why the promise of providing special status to Bihar was missing in the manifesto. Calling it a manifesto of false promises, Surjewala asked, “Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi had said that there is no money for jobs and that Rs 58,000 crore is required for the same. So, from where do they expect to provide five lakh jobs?”

The state Congress also took on the BJP over its jobs plank. “If you had delivered on the promise of 2 crore jobs earlier, then there would have been no need for fresh 19 lakh jobs,” a tweet from the party handle read.

In its own manifesto, the Congress has promised a Rs 1,500 monthly allowance to the unemployed and also promised restoration of 2.42 lakh teacher posts in 18 months if it comes to power.

JD(U) manifesto

On Thursday, JD(U) also released its manifesto, promising to open skill training centers and promoting entrepreneurship among women. Giving details, the manifesto promised that it would open center of excellence in the Industrial Training Institut (ITIs) in every district and Polytechnic at Sub Division levels to provide training to youths in the advance technology of optical fibre, solar, internet banking, and transformer manufacturing, among others to perk up the chance to get employment.

It also declared that a new department of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship will be set up for the purpose. For further empowering women, it said Rs 5 lakh grant an interest-free loan of the same amount would be provided to women starting a new venture.

LJP manifesto 

Meanwhile, Chirag Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) has said in its manifesto that it would build a web portal where job seekers and employers can connect directly. While the party did not promise a specific number of jobs, it has promised to build a model in the state so that the people of Bihar do not have to go to other states to seek livelihood.

The Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) released in June this year showed that Bihar had an unemployment rate of 9.8 per cent as against the national average of 5.8 per cent in 2018-19. The figures are expected to increase given the job losses during the coronavirus lockdown in March and the following migration of daily wage earners in some states.

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