The Centre’s move to provide 10 per cent reservation in jobs and educational institutions for economically weaker sections in the general category is welcome, but it should be followed by the removal of quotas for the Scheduled Castes and Tribes. Reservations should be universally applicable to economically weaker sections across the board. This will automatically include the SC-ST segments and mean a level playing field for all. Of course, this is easier said than done with the general election just months away.
The real question is how will the Prime Minister and his government create the jobs that will enable them to implement the 10 per cent quota? It would require 10 lakh more educational seats and jobs. Where are the jobs going to come from, when there has been a 30 per cent fall in new investment in projects in 2016-18. The government, which is mostly the sole investor in infrastructure and other projects, will have less to invest in the months ahead as it gives loan waivers to farmers and other concessions to woo voters.
It may be recalled that Mr Modi had, in his party’s manifesto, promised to create two crore jobs annually, but just a pittance of a few lakhs, not even one per cent, have actually been created. With this new announcement, he seems to be simply changing the goalposts as he heads for the mid-year election.
Jobs can be created only through growth, but growth has been slowing down under his watch. It is expected to be lower at 7.2 per cent against the 7.4 per cent estimated by the Reserve Bank and 7.5 per cent forecast by the finance ministry....