New Delhi: The Indian economy, which is growing at 7.5%-plus, is being likened to an elephant that has started running, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an email interview, days before the country celebrates its 72nd Independence Day. He answered queries on a wide range of subjects, refuting claims of jobless growth. Modi also dismissed the “non-ideological, desperate and disparate" alliance of opposition parties ahead of the 2019 elections, and said that the Indian electorate will reject them. Edited excerpts from the interview to Hindustan Times.
Job creation debate
Besides those doing it for vested political interest, people saying that not many jobs have been created in the economy are basically doing so because there is no streamlined database of jobs and employment. To overcome this, we are now trying to create data on jobs. In the first place we have used EPFO/ESI/NPS data to give us an idea of the employment generated. If we just look at EPFO data, over 45 lakh formal jobs were created between September 2017 to April 2018. According to our study based on EPFO data, over 70 lakh jobs were created in the formal sector alone last year. We all know that informal sector constitutes around 80% of all jobs. We also know that creation of jobs in the formal sector has a spin off effect on job creation in the informal sector. There are more than 15,000 start-ups which the Government has helped and as we all know they are job multipliers. More than 13 crore loans were given under MUDRA Scheme. Is it unfair to expect that one loan would have created at least one more job for an additional person? There has been massive construction activity in the last four years, be it roads, railways or housing. All reports, whether national or international, show that poverty in India is on a decline. Can we think of such a possibility without people having jobs?
A non-ideological alliance of desperate and disparate groups is not a ‘Mahagathbandhan’, but political adventurism. It is a failed idea, which has never succeeded in the past. People want a strong and a decisive government that is sensitive to their interests and gives them results. My poll platform will be all around development, quick development and development for all. This government’s achievements are for all to see.
We are focusing on incentivising job creation across manufacturing and services sectors. With the use of technology, we are improving productivity and efficiency. We are optimizing the usage of existing financial resources through arrest of leakages and timely completion of projects. We are making India competitive and reducing our dependence on imports. By improving infrastructure in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities, we are making them the new growth engines. The economy is growing at a robust 7.5%-plus, all macro indicators are positive, foreign reserves are well over $400 billion. Our economy is being termed as an elephant that’s starting to run.
I spoke to Imran Khan and congratulated him. We hope democracy will take deeper roots in Pakistan. Right from the beginning of its term in office, my government has prioritized our relations with our neighbours. Our vision is for peace and development of the entire neighbourhood and underscores our ‘neighbourhood first’ foreign policy. We hope that Pakistan will constructively work to build a safe, stable, secure and development oriented South Asia free of terror and violence.