(Pradeep Gaur/Mint)
(Pradeep Gaur/Mint)

Indians say jobs main worry, should be govt’s top priority:  Pew survey

  • Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed say the financial situation of the average Indian is better today than it was 20 years ago
  • Absence of jobs is a major problem, according to 76% of adults surveyed by Pew Research Center

New Delhi: Indians see the lack of employment opportunities as the biggest challenge facing them, says a survey by the US-based Pew Research Center—findings that resonate in a second report by Azim Premji University published on Tuesday.

As many as 76% of those surveyed said the absence of jobs was a major problem and that little had changed on that front over the past year.

Nearly two-thirds of the people surveyed (65%) said the financial situation of the average Indian was better today than it was 20 years ago, with 15% saying things were worse.

Pew’s findings were backed by a report, Politics and Society between Elections, released on Tuesday by Azim Premji University in collaboration with Lokniti, which says that jobs was the main issue that concerned citizens between elections. At least 20% of the people surveyed said unemployment was the biggest issue facing the country, with 15% saying it should be the government’s top priority.

The Indian survey researched several issues seen as key in a democracy between the elections, including the institutions they trust, and access to public services across 12 states, including Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. The poll surveyed 24,000 people.

When the Pew survey asked whether various challenges facing India had become better or worse in the past five years, a time frame coinciding with the term of current Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 21% said job opportunities were better, while 67% said things had become worse (including 47% who said much worse).

The Pew survey sought the opinions of 2,521 respondents in India from 23 May to 23 July 2018.

The survey, which comes exactly two weeks before India goes to the ballot, showed there were other aspects of the economy too that were troubling. Nearly three quarters, or 73%, said “rising prices are a very big problem". Nearly two-thirds (64%) said most politicians were corrupt.

On foreign relations, about three-quarters of Indians saw Pakistan as a threat. This included 63%, who saw Pakistan as “a very serious threat", the survey said, adding that the respondents’ opinions were sought nine months before the 14 February Pulwama attack.

Throughout Modi’s term in office, international perceptions of India had been mostly positive, the survey said.