Public Comment

Modi’s Woes

Jagjit Singh
Friday February 08, 2019 - 12:19:00 PM

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India was swept to power five years ago he promised to create millions of jobs to lift India out of poverty. 

After suffering bruising losses in recent state elections, Modi’s BJP party has become extremely sensitive to high unemployment which is likely to adversely impact his party’s prospects in the next general election just a few months away.  

His government has been accused of blocking an official report on the national unemployment rate which had reached a staggering 45-year high in 2017. A highly respected Indian agency, the Business Standard confirmed the dire unemployment statistics which had been prepared by the National Sample Survey Office. 

Two commissioners responsible for reviewing the data in the report and advocated for its early release resigned in protest when the government refused to release the report. 

Much of Modi’s earlier popularity was closely aligned by the support of the ultra-nationalistic Rashtriya Seva Sangh nationalistic (RSS) militant group which is rewriting many of the school textbooks with information glorifying a fake narrative of Hinduism. 

Much like our own president, the populist Modi promised to make India “great again,” an economic powerhouse rivaling China. The gloomy economic forecast is bad news for the 10 to 12 million young people flooding into the labor force each year. 

Modi’s hasty demonetization decision in 2016 aimed at eliminating illegal cash transactions (black money) created huge shortages and imposed enormous hardships on the poor. This was followed in 2017 by the new single tax code, or GST which was poorly implemented driving many small businesses into bankruptcy. 

To add to Modi’s woes, the All India Manufacturers’ Organization reported that 3.5 million jobs had been lost since 2016. The Center for Monitoring Indian Economy, a business information company in Mumbai, reported the loss of 11 million jobs in 2018 alone. 

Himanshu, an associate professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University confirmed that job prospects had diminished under Modi’s watch.  

To add to Modi’s woes the website, WATCHDOG reported the ruling BJP amassed Rs. 553 crore as income from “unknown sources” in 2017-2018 which nets to an aggregate of 80% of total income from all political parties. Modi who earlier looked unbeatable is now looking increasingly vulnerable. Sadly, the opposition Congress Party which has a history of patronage, ineptness, cronyism and corruption does not engender much hope for India’s future.