Saturday, May 18, 2024

PM Modi’s New 10 lakh jobs, Nagaland and ‘Gujarat Model’

PM Modi

Nirendra Dev
NEW DELHI, JUNE 14: As one does not pretend to be intellectual always and do not carry a so-called pro-ultra urban Naxalite approach up the sleeves, I often get the ‘Modi Bhakt’ tag rather liberally. But I am also an admirer of Gujarati work culture.
Now comes Prime Minister’s announcement that in next 18 months ~ 10 lakh Government jobs will be created. Predictably the Congress party has ridiculed the announcement calling it a gimmick.
Even for the ‘Gujarat Model’, the Congress never had a high opinion.
But with regard the new announcement, the Prime Minister had to do something about this.
The promise of ‘Acchey Din’ in 2014 essentially revolved around jobs.
Nevertheless, the ruling dispensation had other data support. The BJP’s internal report card in 2019 on the eve of elections quoted various organisations such as the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation and claimed that at least 15 million (1.5 lakh) new jobs were created every year under the Modi Government between 2014 and 2019.
Joblessness, like every year, was debated in the 2019 general elections as well but the voters gave Modi a massive mandate.
Late Arun Jaitley, PM Modi’s first ‘Achhey din’ Finance Minister, used to say that in the changing global scenario, there is a need to make India a knowledge-based productive society.
In this, he said three things ought to be taken up together ~ Education, Skill Development and then the Job Creation.
A BJP think tank ~ the New Delhi-based Public Policy Research Centre ~ had said that 14.62 million jobs have been created in the tourism sector alone between 2015 and 2019.
Likes of Jaitley also believed that the era of looking at the Government and PSUs for jobs is over and rightly so.
Jobs in India are created by SMEs, by the micro industries, by self employment.
This is a tough proposition for Northeast.
Babudom is in Indian blood. As one shuttles between places in the name of journalism, a statement often heard is: “We thought you are in a senior position now, why should you travel so much. Send your juniors”.
This is a simple and raw illustration. But skills-related issues come into play.
Those who ask such questions have no idea about journalism. But what they know is if you are somebody in an organisation, you should sit like a boss and get the tag ‘Dev babu’ and generally prefer 10 to 5 job ordering others and take liberty to buy fish while returning home.
My point is the very approach towards jobs should change. Home sickness is another malady.
I know of youths in Nagaland, Tripura and West Bengal, who would hate to move out of home towns and yet indulge in gossip about joblessness. With Bengalis, it’s worse: “Haryana teh macch paua jae (Do you get fish in Haryana)? If not, why should my ‘laadla’ son go there?
Such scenarios are rare in the western Indian State. Youths think like entrepreneurs right from the age they ‘start’ thinking.
Modi’s ‘StartUp India’ slogan is technically a second or a third step for even a non-Gujarati youth.
Next is on the policy front. Communalism tag goes easy with Gujarat leaders. Such tags never struck the then Manipur CM Ibobi Singh, who did not allow Thuingaleng Muivah an opportunity to visit his native village in 2010.
In Meghalaya, trains and tea gardens were opposed in the 1980s fearing Dwakhers would enter.
All Gujarat Chief Ministers since 1995 (even a few non-BJP ones) have been pro-corporate.
At people’s level, the masses always had the hunger for social uplift and general improvement in the quality of life.
This is in contrast to Marxists culture of Bengal or Tripura, where generally poverty and underdevelopment would be glorified. Even Agartala airport looked in shambles just a few years back.
For years ‘Calcutta’ suffered from power load-shedding during peak of summer.
The Leftists looked the other way and the entire State suffered attack from armies of flies and mosquitoes. Bengalis found solace in poetry.
In Kerala, the joke is: milkman wonder of Amul, Verghese Kurein (a native of that State) did not want to do anything there, because there “are so many Malayalis” in that province.
People in Bengal or Kerala have typical ‘crab syndrome’. The same is usually found in Northeast and closer home in towns and hamlets also.
Noted Dimapurian late Manik Bhattacharjee used to say: “One big problem with people in Northeast is the moment you try to do something new and innovative, first observaton is ~ he must be earning a lot. The next question is how much and what is my benefit?”
Have things changed? If not, they ought to.
In terms of policy, in Gujarat, economic reform does not mean gross privatisation.
Narendra Modi as the Chief Minister and his successors promoted corporate sector but kept eyes on social welfarism. The State Government officials really play facilitators. These moved things fast.
In Nagaland, for politicians having good relations with a business magnate is out of question.
Though for practical purpose, they do have.
No businessman wants to risk his money and yet be ready-made milking cows.
During our time, ‘shiltu boys’ was a description for young hooligans in Dimapur who could rob your wrist watch or demand a few hundred rupees notes. Once a Lotha AIR official suffered this malaise at the Blue Hill Bus point.
There is graduation at that level too. I am told envelopes are quite normal. Some coal mine owners wanted to visit Nagaland once. Knowing this Scribe’s ‘Nagaland background’, a few of them asked if I could guarantee against Shiltu-ism.
I just had a good laugh.