For 23-year old Banaras Hindu University student Abhinav Tripathi the biggest expectation from the newly elected government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is creation of jobs.
“India has one of the biggest youth populations in the world which is currently struggling to find gainful employment. The new government should create jobs both in private and public sector at the entry level," he said.
Tripathi echoes a sentiment of millions of young voters who have voted for BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) which has won the 17th Lok Sabha elections by winning over 300 seats.
For Uttar Pradesh in particular, which has given the maximum number of prime ministers to the country, development is an important agenda as it remains one of the most underdeveloped provinces of India. Analysts believe that the immense voter confidence in Modi-led government should be reciprocated in the form of better employment opportunities especially in Uttar Pradesh, which has a population of 200 million. Migration to bigger cities continue to be a trend as the state failed to create better job opportunities for all.
“Their biggest focus area should be to launch mass scale employment schemes for skilled and unskilled youth across rural and urban part of the country," said Ramesh Dixit, a Lucknow based political analyst.
To be sure, India’s unemployment rate rose to 7.6% in April, the highest since October 2016, and up from 6.71% in March, according to data compiled by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), a Mumbai based think-tank. The CMIE had said in a report in January that nearly 11 million people lost their jobs after the demonetisation drive of high-value bank notes in late 2016, and launch of new goods and services tax (GST) in 2017, which impacted millions of small businesses.
The country’s economy is in desperate need of a boost amidst agrarian distress, high income inequality and anemic growth. In the interim budget, the government had announced PM Kisaan scheme promising ₹6,000 a year to 120 million farmers owning up to two hectares of land. While this demonstrated the intent of the government to work on the rural distress and low farm income, it requires far more impactful regulatory and technological solutions as farmers continue to fight for better prices and debt write-offs.
“Corporate have benefitted immensely in the last five years under the current government, it is time for the Prime Minister to take a critical look at the agrarian economy and immediately take swift actions," Dixit added.
Mob violence and cow vigilantism has also emerged as one of the biggest issue under Modi-led government, which harps on the ‘Sabka saath, sabka vikas’ proposition.
A recent report from New York-based group called Human Rights Watch stated that at least 44 people have been killed over the last three years by radical cow protection groups in the country. About 280 people have been injured in more than 100 attacks between May 2015 and December 2018.
Noting that Uttar Pradesh, which has poor literacy and employment rates, Lucknow-based women’s human rights advocate Shubhangi Singh said that a majority of the population is employed in either farming or livestock rearing which includes cattle business.
“Cow vigilante attacks people (Muslim and Dalit population) for their identity and livelihood. It is extremely problematic because it also affects the women of these communities as pressure on them increases making them even more vulnerable as they have to feed the family. I feel the new government should direct state to show visible accountability and strict actions against the perpetrators of vigilante violence. Right now, carrying out business and eating the food that Dalits and Muslims have been eating for years is a matter of life and death," she said.