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Budget 2022: Can Modi Govt Balance Politics & Economy Ahead of Elections?

The fact is that Sitharaman has to step on the proverbial gas because data shows neither inflation (the stuff that traditionally angers BJP’s committed lower-middle-class voters) nor jobs (the stuff that Congress and the Left keep shouting shrill about) seem to be favouring the powers-that-be.

India’s unemployment rate reached a four-month high of 7.91% in December as compared to 7% and 7.75 per cent in November and October 2021, CMIE data showed in early January. Elaborating later, CMIE estimated that number at 53 million people, of which 35 million were actively seeking work in December.

This would imply that about 140 million people are adversely affected if we estimate that every earning adult Indian serves for a family of four. That is equivalent to the population of seven Australias. Respected organisations like the Asian Development Bank estimate the number of Indians joining the workforce at about 1 million every month.

You get the picture. The jobs gap is yawning.

In a relevant sideshow, Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar has contemplated “action” against the CMIE because it reported that his state had the highest unemployment rate among Indian states, even as his administration brought into effect a law that mandates that 75 per cent of specified jobs that fetch Rs 30,000 or less per month must go to “locals”. This is clear proof that jobs are a political issue close to Haryana’s Gurugram, where Google and Microsoft have their national head offices. In other words, this is evidence of a K-shaped growth.

A survey of 1,111 professionals by career networking site LinkedIn (admittedly a small sample of a highly educated universe) revealed that India’s ‘Young and Restless’ professionals are likely to consider changing jobs in 2022. They cited poor work-life balance (30%) and “not enough money” (28%) among the reasons.

Read More: Budget 2022: Can Modi Govt Balance Politics & Economy Ahead of Elections?

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