Economist Bibek Debroy and columnist Sadanand Dhume’s witty Twitter exchange through limericks on India’s jobs crisis and the H-1B visa tweak created a buzz.
Twitter awoke Thursday morning to a limerick war between a noteworthy economist and a columnist from India.
Bibek Debroy and Sadanand Dhume sparred over the economic and unemployment situation in the country, curiously through the written verse and tweets.
Debroy is currently the chairman of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new Economic Advisory Council, which was set up in September 2017. Debroy has also been a member of government think tank NITI Aayog since its inception in 2015. He regularly writes limericks for Mint under the ‘Mint Metric’.
Dhume is a US-based columnist who specialises in South Asian affairs and relations and has written for Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and The Washington Post among others. Dhume, who had previously applauded Modi’s policies, has of late been questioning some of them.
In his first limerick, Debroy had talked about Donald Trump’s probable tweak to the H-1B visa and the disaster it would unfold for thousands of Indians working in the US. Dhume was quick to challenge this with a limerick of his own about the bleak employment situation in India itself. A series of limericks followed, towards the end of which Dhume wrote:
“But thanks for your time,
Always fun to rhyme,
Even if we don’t agree.”
Read the exchange:
Today’s Mint Metric in @livemint.
If H-1B rules are given a tweak,
Some futures may turn downright bleak.
Waiting for the card to turn green
They will have to deport the scene,
Without a paddle and up the creek.
— Bibek Debroy (@bibekdebroy) January 4, 2018
Amidst the sobs,
About looming H-1B probs,
I have a query,
That we should not bury,
Why hasn’t Modi sarkar created jobs?
— Sadanand Dhume (@dhume) January 4, 2018
Though the exchange was witty and humourous, Debroy and Dhume were actually focussing on India’s serious jobs crisis. The Modi government had prioritised job creation since 2014, but it has struggled to deliver. In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya wrote that out of a total 4,48,52,500 job seekers, only 2,53,900 secured jobs in 2016. The NITI Aayog claimed in its Three Year Action Agenda that unemployment is not the main issue in the country, but under-employment is. Bibek Debroy also challenged data-based conclusions saying that the jobs produced do not pay wages appropriate to qualification and thus many choose to be unemployed. The Prime Minister’s EAC, however, is yet to deliver a plan to create more jobs in the country.