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Where are the jobs?

by Mukesh
466 views Hyderabad

Employment generation has been one of the major poll promises in recent times by almost every politician in India but very has the credit of creating employment. The State of Andhra Pradesh has been one of the worst affected by the lack of employment subsequent to the bifurcation of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh. The citizens of AP lost a major city and employment hub like Hyderabad and this added to their misery.

After the formation of the TDP government in the State soon after the bifurcation, the government put in a lot of efforts to create new and meaningful jobs by setting up the capital in Amaravati and giving a jump start to the construction sector, to complement this the free sand policy was also announced. Millennium towers were set up in Visakhapatnam to intensify job creation in the IT sector. Further, Mangalagiri started to emerge as an IT hub with the establishment of several IT companies towards the end of the TDP’s term of 5 years. To woo investors from all over the world, industrial meets were held thrice. The government even had its presence at international summits like the World Economic Forum. The previous government had put its track record of job creation through IT and allied sectors to good use to speed up job availability in the State. This was coupled with several other industrialists from India and abroad who were brought into the newly formed State of Andhra Pradesh.

After the change of guard in AP, the fate of the people was reversed, and the policies adopted by the government paved way for a severe job crisis in the State. Simply ignoring the plight of numerous hard-working youth and doling out sustenance allowance appears to be a stop-gap solution and a knee-jerk reaction to the widespread criticism of the current job crisis in Andhra Pradesh. As the unemployment rate has been increasing after policies like the three capitals or the cancellation of various investment projects and several re-tendering announcements the jobs crisis in the State has grown to be more severe than ever. With the lockdown, the unemployment rate further deteriorated all of a sudden. The unemployment rate is a clear indicator of the failure of the government in creating jobs.

The above chart clearly indicates the unemployment rate is the highest in the last 2 years after the arrival of the YSRCP government in the State.

A deep dive into the causes indicates an ill-formed habit of spending and a case of mixed priorities.

Development Activities

The incumbent government has not taken up any major developmental activities and the budgetary allocations for capital spending have been abysmal.

During the TDP’s tenure, 26.33% of the total expenditure was allocated for capital expenditure to generate more and more jobs. Whereas the present government has spent only 21.3% and expected to spend 19.7% this financial year[1].

Sand Crisis

The sand policy has been one of the monumental failures of the present government. The sand policy made people of the state mainly daily wage laborers suffer a lot. For almost 3 months in the absence of a policy, there were numerous suicides. Many migrated to other states for work and third-party sources indicate that 60 construction laborers committed suicide due to lack of work created by the non-availability of sand. The non-availability of sand has impacted the construction sector a lot and most construction activity has halted in the state. Added with the announcement of the shift of the capital the construction work has halted in several projects at Amaravati making many unemployed till the foreseeable future.

Amaravati

Amaravati was envisioned as a capital aimed at providing over 2 million jobs over a period of 25 years with the capability of generating a GSDP of nearly 2 lakh crores through an investment and self-financing model. Now with the change of government has, all major developmental activities in the city have shut down all of a sudden.  Several companies have withdrawn from the region, thereby making many jobless and destroying the future scope of employment generation in the region.

Re-tendering

The government claims to have saved a lot of money through re-tendering, but the process of re-tendering has halted the construction of several projects for more than a year and moreover created a negative impression of the state among the investors as they fear contractual obligations mean nothing to this government. Re-tendering might support the government’s propaganda about tackling corruption, but the fact remains it has an adverse effect on jobs, new investment, and overall perception of the State. As a result, a lot of companies have chosen to withdraw their operations or downsize their scale of operations.

Tourism

The current government is ignorant of realizing the importance of the tourism sector in generating employment. No efforts were made in this regard, to promote the tourism sector in the state of Andhra Pradesh. In the previous government’s tenure, many events were held to promote tourism. Some of the notable ones like Araku Balloon festival, F1H20 grand Prix, Vizag Utsav, Social Media Summit, Lepakshi festival among others thereby creating a lot of employment opportunities in the sector and pumping demand in the State that further enhanced ability of businesses to employ others.

Summits

No partnership summits were held for the promotion of the industrial sector in the state since the YSRCP government came into power. Moreover, the policy of the previous government in hosting industrial summits was put down and that worked as a catalyst for the jobs crisis. The government’s ignorance towards attending international business summits makes it even worse for the people of the state looking for employment in the state. The TDP government held three CII partnership summits in the city of Vizag in the years 2016, 2017, 2018 promoting the industrial sector in the state, executing 1437 MOU’s with a committed investment of 13.35 lakh crores and committed employment of 24.6 lakhs.

Industrial Policy

Finally, we come to the poorly conceived industrial policy of the State, which is another reason for the investors not to look towards Andhra Pradesh for investments. The industrial policy is narrowly focused on small and medium enterprises. The industrial policy does not have any scope for upfront incentives, investment support for the innovative projects giving little scope for emerging entrepreneurs to set up their units in Andhra Pradesh, making it tough for any new employment opportunities to emerge. In the absence of investment from non-locals, the lack of detailed measures to support local entrepreneurship has further dented any possibility of job creation in the State. The recent National Start-up Awards were indicative of the incumbent government’s failure in this direction.

[1] F.Y.I 2014-15 is not considered as it has overheads of the combined state.

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