Honourable Prime Minister Modi Ji,
I write this letter with fear and anxiety. The abject failure of Indian governments in the past 40 years is leading our great nation into a nightmarish demographic situation. Though your government isn't solely responsible, you may well be handling this problem in the coming decade.
There's only one metric that India should look at—how many jobs have we added?— in measuring growth and to judge government achievements. Nothing else matters.
You have repeatedly spoken of the promise that India holds because of our demographic dividend. India has the greatest number of people in an age group that can contribute productively to the GDP. Yet, a cursory glance at the data shows that we are most likely to have a nightmare in our hands. It is a volcano that is slowly but steadily building up and will erupt within this generation—we will all be alive to see it.
Sir, look at the numbers.
1. We have about 259.5 million students between class 1 and Class 12.
2. Another 34 million students are pursuing higher education.
3. Add another 50 million people who are unemployed or under-employed.
Sir, by 2028, India needs to create 343.5 million jobs for just those who pass through our education system. The rising education costs would mean that many will have loans to be repaid to our banking system. And we are not even talking of the uneducated and unemployed.
Simply put, India is not up to the task.
1. In 2015, India added the fewest organised-sector jobs in the last seven years across eight industries.
2. The contribution of unorganised sector jobs in 2017 will rise to 93%. And 60% of those with jobs do not find employment for the entire year, indicating chronic under-employment.
3. To add to our woes, McKinsey even talks of 50-60% of our IT workforce becoming irrelevant. We now have a problem of job losses instead of job creation.
4. A Deloitte report says the number of Indians in the US looking for jobs in India went up 10-fold.
5. In the last couple of months, we saw our bellwether IT sector laying off people, freezing recruitment and hiring less. Banks, manufacturing, SMEs, MSMEs are all recruiting fewer people. From Wipro to L&T to HDFC, layoffs are the new normal. Startups are laying off by the thousands. The formation of companies has slowed to 2009 levels, and existing companies are growing at 2%, the lowest in many years.
We need to create 30 million jobs a year and with each passing year, we are adding to a backlog.
And all this Sir, though not your doing, is something you will need to face. We need to prioritise job creation over everything else. There's only one metric that India should look at—how many jobs have we added?— in annual reports, in revenue reports, in measuring growth, in ministry reports and appraisals and to judge government achievements. Nothing else matters. Everything else is data. Job creation is real.
Sir, we have a nightmarish situation ahead. By 2045, we will have more unproductive people than productive ones. We will have more employable but unemployed people than employed ones. We will have more unemployable than employable. We have been in the "demographic dividend" state for two decades now. And we enter a "demographic nightmare" situation in two decades from now. We need to create 30 million jobs a year and with each passing year, we are adding to a backlog.
It is time we deal with the problem, head on. We cannot fail the nation, its youth and the promise of a better tomorrow. It is time we relook at our priorities. The nation looks to you. And the youth trusted you. And I sincerely hope you will prioritise this over every other problem and win over it.