Across the aisle: Letter to the Prime Minister

I read that there are 85 lakh persons registered with the employment exchanges in Tamil Nadu. If we extrapolate that number for the whole country, don’t you agree that the situation is alarming?

Written by P Chidambaram

Dear Mr Prime Minister,

I am an average citizen. I belong to an average family, had an average education, live in an average town, hold an average job, and have average ambitions. I am aware that because I am the son of a school teacher, hold a bachelor’s degree (second class) and have a job, I may actually be above the average. It only shows how low the average is.

In the last week, my fellow citizens and I have been bombarded with editorials, columns, statements, interviews, blogs, tweets and what not, and I am quite confused. I thought your letter of May 26 that appeared in all newspapers would put things in perspective but, I am afraid, it left me more confused. So, please bear with me while I ask you a few questions.

Where are the Jobs?

My first question is, how is the economy doing? To me and my children, and to all families on our street, the most important concern is jobs. Will you please tell us the number of jobs that were created in the first year of your government? The numbers I have seen are a little over one lakh of jobs every quarter, so that makes a grand total of 4 to 5 lakh jobs in the whole year. I also read that there are 85 lakh persons registered with the employment exchanges in Tamil Nadu. If we extrapolate that number for the whole country, don’t you agree that the situation is alarming? So, please tell us the truth about jobs.

That takes me to the next question, who is creating the jobs? My neighbour who teaches economics in the local government college told me that no real new jobs can be created in farming. She thinks that only if more people start new businesses, and more large plants are built to produce power or steel or cars or mobile phones or anything, will there be more direct and indirect jobs. She said the key word is investment and encouraged me to ask you what were the amounts invested in the last year by the public sector enterprises and the private sector, what is the number of jobs they expect to add once the projects go into production, and when. By the way, why don’t we see advertisements of a bhumi puja or an inauguration of a big project costing a few thousand crore rupees as we used to do a few years ago?

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