West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee | PTI file
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee | PTI file photo
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Hooghly: Manas Choudhary, in his mid-50s, who opened a restaurant two months ago in Sugandha village on Hooghly-Kolkata Road in West Bengal, is seeing low turnout these days due to state elections.

Choudhary claimed he had faced a tough time opening his restaurant as the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) “goons” would allegedly pressure him to dish out ‘cut-money’ and to also buy cement, sand from them.

“The state doesn’t not have the environment for business and industry,” said Choudhary, who said he voted for Mamata Banerjee in the 2016 assembly elections, but this time he has “poriborton” in mind.

Like Choudhary, many others, including college graduates who are looking for jobs, say Banerjee’s record in creating employment and setting up industries is dismal.

Arindam Dev, who lives in Singur’s Kamarkundu village, is pursuing B.Com from a college in Tarakeswar, but he says he will have to do some business for a living.

Sitting at a tea stall in his village, Dev says there are no jobs in the state. The tea stall owner adds, “If Mamata didn’t make a fuss about Tata, the whole area would have been developed.”

Tata Motors had to shift its Nano car project from Singur to Gujarat after Banerjee led an agitation for the farmers who refused to give up their land. The land movement propelled Banerjee to office and ended the 34-year Left Front rule in 2011. The Singur agitation, in a way, became a symbol of Bengal’s failed industrialisation.

Aparajita Paul, who is pursuing biomedical engineering from an institute in Kolkata, says her biggest concern is that her parents won’t allow her to migrate to another city in search of jobs.

“In our domain, companies are ready to pay double salaries in Hyderabad and Bengaluru, but they negotiate on half of that amount in Kolkata. I will vote whoever will give priority to jobs and employment creation,” she says.

Some are even considering going abroad for a living.

“I am waiting to go to Saudi, formalities are stuck due to Covid and lockdown. There is nothing to do here, we’re getting unemployment allowance, but we need jobs. She has not created jobs for youths,” said Maksood Jamadar, a native of Uluberia, North Howrah, who just completed his graduation. He, however, added he would vote for the TMC.


Also read: Women are Mamata Banerjee’s core voters, but this time many want to ‘give Modi a chance’


TMC manifesto focus on jobs

Sensing that the issue of employment can damage TMC prospects in the elections, Banerjee in her party manifesto promised several provisions such as 5 lakh job creation, and ‘Monthly Basic Income’ of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 to women heads of families for general castes and SC/ST/OBC families, respectively.

The manifesto also added that students would be able to avail of Rs 10 lakh loan using Student Credit Card at 4 per cent interest rate. It promised setting up of 10 lakh MSME and 2,000 big industrial units too.

The BJP, meanwhile, has promised one job in every family, 33 per cent reservation in government jobs for women, implementation of 7th pay commission, MSMEs to get loans of upto Rs 10 lakh, and establishment of nine tourist circuits, among others.

The Bengal government claimed they created 10 million jobs, but so far, the state employment exchange reportedly has nearly 3.5 million job-seekers registered. There are also 2,00,000 permanent jobs across various government departments, besides 1.5 lakh vacant teaching posts.

Around 1.3 million applicants for clerical jobs have not got calls since 2018, while 6 lakh aspirants, who had applied for the posts of sub-inspectors and inspectors also didn’t get calls.

The Banerjee government has a debt burden of Rs 4.31 lakh crore and over Rs 55,000 crore spent on debt servicing in 2019-20.

Instead of generating jobs, the Bengal government focussed on rolling out unemployment allowance. Under the Yuvasree scheme, as many as 1,81,000 unemployed youths receive Rs 1,500 allowance per month.

But voters say unemployment allowances have made job-seekers in the state “idle”.

Meanwhile, the BJP says Banerjee invited many companies to the state through business summits, but actual investment didn’t happen. 

Trinamool, however, has refuted the claims, saying Bengal’s unemployment rate is less than the national unemployment, and that the state’s growth is good as compared to other states.

Unemployment allowance made youths ‘idle’

In Howrah and Barrackpore, there is a good presence of small-scale industries, but these areas were once dotted by many flourishing jute factories, most of which have now been shut due to various factors such as unpaid wages and exploitation of workers.

“We don’t need 5 kg ration and health card, here youths need jobs, they can then fulfill their needs. Didi’s development is all hogwash, she is providing (street) lights and roads, but the main issue is unemployment here,” said Tapas Paul, who works with Reliance Jio in Kolkata.

“Youths are roaming without employment, Didi has just given them berojgari (unemployment) allowance. Now, they have become idle. Civil defence forces have not been given salaries. My home is in Tarakeshwar, if the Tatas were allowed to establish the factory in Singur, jobs would have been created,” he added.

Ranjeet Das, an engineer, told ThePrint that although the state government’s performance hasn’t been “too bad”, it has lagged behind in creating jobs.

“She (Mamata) has made roads, installed lights, ensured water supply, opened schools and colleges. It is better than the Left Front government, but she lacked in creating jobs. She should have paid more attention to creation of jobs,” said Das, a native of Howrah who travels to and from Kolkata everyday on a ferry.

Snigdha, who is pursuing hospital administration from Tamluk, said, “Kolkata has no jobs in my field. I am scared about what will happen after completing my course, After Covid, the employment situation is already dismal.”


Also read: Why Didi Mamata has become daughter of Bengal


TMC, BJP trade barbs

BJP spokesperson Ritesh Tiwari said Bengal has a huge talent base, but in the last 10 years, Banerjee didn’t take the risk of inviting industries where land acquisition is required.

“She invited many companies through business summits, but actual investment did not happen. Even Infosys and Wipro promised to build campuses but they are yet to start the construction. In east India, Bengal is the only place that can match Hyderabad and Bengaluru,” he added.

But TMC MP Sajda Ahmed said there is good growth in MSME industries in Bengal and the chief minister has promised to focus on setting up of big industries in her next tenure.

Experts said most of the jobs provided by the state government were low-paying jobs, mostly on contracts.

“They are not quality jobs or regular jobs. There is no land policy. How come industries will be established without land? Many jute industries have been shut due to absence of modernisation and competition. Moreover, jobs are in the manufacturing and knowledge sectors, which should be the focus of the government, but due to political reasons and land agitation, it was not touched,” said Sukanta Bhattacharya, associate professor of economics in Calcutta University.

(Edited by Debalina Dey)


Also read: It’s not only Bengal election, Mamata win will set right tone for secular country: TMC leader


 

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23 Comments Share Your Views

23 COMMENTS

    • Gujarat, Karnataka already have less unemployment. They are BJP ruled states. Modi is the one who brought Tata to GJ after Mamta scared them away.

  1. Mamta creating jobs is big joke. When goons are controlling every activities who will invest money in WB. If work culture is measured WB will be at the bottom level. From the time of communist rule dharna & lockdown is a culture developed in WB

  2. Didi’s Khela Hobe is over. She has run out of new tricks. Very soon she will end up in hospitals visits one after the other, just like Lalu.

  3. And when Tatas would have does Nano project like it did in Gujarat then who would have they blamed ? All these people who are now crying over Tata nano jobs that went away were active in ousting Tatas from Singur all those years ago. Had the public jot been in league with TMC they would have never been able to carry on the movement.

  4. None can believe BJP, observing Models attitude towards Farmers protesting against Three Farmers Law, which are acutely detremental towards the interest of the fasting, starving farmers, as Modi belong to fascist rulers but inWest Bengal poll campaign sheds crocodile tears, is a drama, to divert country’s notice from upsurging feels price hike plays Hindyutava cards, divides people in communal feeling, religious divisions, people see Modi”s modus operendi, and cought red -handed. , So Momotadi’s way of thinking for the people in the state as a whole following, implementing several programs us far reaching which Modi copies only Dilip Chatterji Advocate, Kolkata

    • @DILIP CHATTERJI Advocatee: IF you are honest or a sanatani Hindu then you are dumb to forget the direct action day!! Wait for the day when your body too will lie rotting on west Bengals’ street!!

      The decimation of Hindus in east Bengal & Pakistan are showing who is the real fascist but you chose to shut your ears & eyes!! Bravo! Continue!

    • Farm laws are to bring Black money earned by the middlemen into the Tax net and bring transparency in payment to farmers. Currently, all transactions of buying of agricultural produce from farmers in by middle men in cash….No records, no transparency.

      Farm laws make it mandatory for PAN cards of middlemen….Farmers will also get correct dues and middlemen will have to pay Taxes.

      By estimates, over 10,000 crores of money is made by middlemen every year in Punjab alone…..Most of these middlemen are CONgress and Akali politicians, which should explain why these parties are opposed to Farm laws.

      Opposition for the farm laws is TO PROTECT THEIR BLACK MONEY!!!

  5. All these parties they promise the moon and don’t look back after winning. Bjp promising jobs is a big joke the national unemployment is at its highest since 45 years and they promise jobs in Bengal. Recently bjp won bihar with same promise of 10 lakh jobs but nothing will ever happen. People should be careful before voting let them bote for good candidate rather than party.

  6. The number applicants waiting for jobs must be accounted through employment exchange. States must create jobs. All departments states will controll .why blame center. Why illeagal immigrants are allowed ,when Westbengal itself in trouble. Center already sharing GST back . Today we need financial governance. other wise it adds up and state will face problems. Need population controll

    • Tell your BJP Govt. to take population control measure. In the parliament they denied any population control measure, as a BJP man put the issue in the SC.

  7. The problem with the TMC is that when Didi successfully brought an end to CPI(M) mis-rule of over three decades, the rotten elements of CPI(M) joined the TMC en masse. In her quest for attaining power, Didi did not sieve these elements. The TMC goons and syndicates ruling the streets and paras of Bengal today were with the CPI(M) earlier. With change of govt they shifted loyalties. For these goons and syndicates, nothing changed. They went about their business as usual. Just their “reporting authority” changed.
    Hope the BJP will not fall prey to this. Because if they do, it will just be a continuation of the present regime albeit under a different administration. The state of affairs will remain the same. Maybe Kolkata will get a coat of saffron paint at most.

  8. BJP want to loot Bengal as the condition of Indian economy is in dire straits.In a short time people will start dying of starvation

    • @Sivaram: Yes!! Bringing in Rohingyas & Bangladeshi Jihadis will greatly enhance India’s employment opportunities, SECULARISM, national & civilization-al security!!

  9. Mamta has one jobs in her mind for the youth of W.Bengal. They can join ISIS or any jihadi outfit for employment. . Industrial enterprises of Tata or any other industrialist can shift out of W. Bengal . Why Industrialist should block capital and money in a state which she intends to offer to her Isalamists benefactors on platter ??

    • Democracy is a criminal enterprise when there no spirit of service for the nation; it’s masses & native civilization!!

      China has worked really hard for their national & civilization-al rejuvenation after 100 years of humiliation at the hands of European white Christian supremacists!!

      However, Indians/Hindus are still only partially awake even after suffering Islamic-Christian humiliation for a 1000 years & 50+ years of communist/congress brown British rule!!

  10. You may change the government but you cannot change the mindset of people There is no hope for Bengal and Bihar. Labourers from these two states are found across the country but back home they vote for their caste and socialist freebies.
    Even if BJP wins they will not let BJP government work for betterment as we’re seeing in the farm laws.

    • @Percussionist: India should move towards a nationalist mono party rule like China’s #CCP!! This bull shit democracy favoring traitor Jihadis & leftists is a crime against the nation, it’s people & civilzation!!

    • Hindus haven’t learnt any lessons from Islamic-Christian slavery because congress-communist built fake history have kept them divided, SICK-ULAR & uninformed!!

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