Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday said that the Budget had failed to address rising unemployment in India, ANI. He also noted that in 2014, the Centre had guaranteed 2 crore jobs every year, whereas this year it has promised 60 lakh jobs for the next five years.

“Widespread unemployment is prevalent in the country,” he said. “Youths are in distress because big factories are shutting down, investment is not coming, and the number of govt jobs is shrinking.”

Kharge was talking in Rajya Sabha during the motion of thanks to President Ram Nath Kovind’s address.

“In 2014, you [the BJP] promised 2 crore jobs every year,” he said. “You should have provided 15 crore jobs by now. But how many jobs did you actually provide?”

Kharge claimed that over 2 crore people are unemployed in the country currently and 60% of micro, small and medium enterprises have been shut down, reported The Hindu.

India’s unemployment rate stood at 7.9% in December with nearly 35 million people out of jobs, according to a report by Mumbai-based think tank Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy.

The loss of livelihoods during the pandemic meant that the income of 84% of Indian households fell in 2021, stated an Oxfam report released in January.

Meanwhile, there are nine lakh posts vacant in the central government, Kharge claimed on Wednesday.

“About 15% of posts are vacant in the Railways, 40% in Defence and 12% in the Home Affairs,” he said. “Today unemployment rate in urban areas stands 9% and in rural areas, 7.2%.”

Kharge also disapproved of the government’s slashed budget for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, or MGNREGA in Budget.

The scheme ensures 100 days of guaranteed wage employment of unskilled manual work to at least one adult member of every household in rural areas.

This year’s allocation was 25.51% lower than last year’s revised estimates.

“During Covid-19, this MGNREGA served as a lifeline for workers who lost jobs... 1.80 lakh crore should have been allotted to MGNREGA, but you have kept only Rs 73,000 crore for the scheme.”

Opposition leaders have said that the Budget does not have anything for the poor, the salaried and the middle class, who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic and inflation.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the citizens had many expectations from the Budget but were eventually disappointed. “The Budget has nothing for the common people,” Kejriwal tweeted. “There is nothing to reduce price rise.”

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also said the Budget has nothing for common citizens, who are “crushed” by unemployment and inflation, and that the Narendra Modi government was lost in “big words signifying nothing”.

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