Sangh's arm adds job jolt
New Delhi, Dec. 8: The chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's labour arm today said that far more jobs had been lost than were created since the Narendra Modi government assumed office, adding that the demonetisation had cost many jobs too.
"Under the new government, 1 lakh and 35 thousand job opportunities have been created so far but 20 lakh people have lost their jobs," Baij Nath Rai, president of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, told The Telegraph.
He clarified that the situation had been similar under the previous government too, but added that the demonetisation had worsened the picture for the unorganised sector.
"We have reports of job losses in the unorganised sector because of demonetisation, but how deep the impact is has to be ascertained," he said.
"Similarly, there are fears about a contraction of the GDP, but we have to wait and watch."
His comments came a day after President Pranab Mukherjee regretted that India was witnessing jobless growth.
Rai said: "Instead of working towards increasing job opportunities, the Modi government has so far focused on skill development. We hope the government corrects the situation."
He argued that both drives - demonetisation and skill development - were well intentioned but were not yielding results because of a lack of preparation by the government.
Rai said the government should have printed enough new notes and got more bank branches and bank accounts opened before announcing the demonetisation.
He said the government's drive towards a "cashless economy" would be difficult to achieve. "It's not possible to turn India cashless because our society is predominantly cash-dependent."
Instead of insisting on digital payments, Rai suggested, "the government should promote the old commodity exchange system and develop the banking network to reduce dependence on cash".
Several other Sangh affiliates too have been complaining about the "cashless" campaign although the ideological parent has held its silence, unwilling to criticise the government in public.
An official attached to the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, the Sangh's economic wing, said: "Demonetisation is a well intentioned decision but asking everyone to go cashless doesn't appear a good idea in a country like India."
An official from Sangh farmer wing Bharatiya Kisan Sangh said the RSS and its staunchest supporters - the small traders - dealt extensively in cash.
"These traders donate in both cash and kind to the RSS, which too operates mostly in cash. The idea of going cashless contradicts the Sangh's functioning over the years," he said.