Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday alleged that the Narendra Modi-led government “did not want to accept” there was a “job crisis” in the country, and urged the Prime Minister to hold discussions with the youth to address the matter. “Youngsters of this country are the ones who are actually capable of moving it towards progress,” he said.

During an interaction with students of Delhi University at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the capital, Gandhi said the state must pay for a large part of education of students, PTI reported.

The Congress chief said he was “absolutely convinced” that India could overtake China’s economy. “In a county of over 1.2 billion people, India is creating about 450 jobs per 24 hours while China is creating 50,000 jobs in the same 24 hours,” said Gandhi, citing figures given by the Ministry of Finance to the Lok Sabha.

“Our current government does not even want to accept that there is an employment crisis,” he claimed. “We need to first acknowledge that there is a problem, and then we need to galvanise support to fight it. That is what we [Congress] believe in.”

Gandhi said he had already challenged Modi to debate with him on the Rafale fighter jet deal, corruption, unemployment and other issues. “The prime minister should not be telling his views to the youth, but listen to their voices,” he added.

Data from a leaked report of the National Sample Survey Office showed that unemployment in India was at a 45-year-high of 6.1% in 2017-’18.

Meanwhile, Gandhi said the Congress would provide the status of “martyr” to those paramilitary jawans killed in the line of duty if the party is voted to power in the upcoming Lok Sabha election.

“Paramilitary forces don’t get martyr’s status when they lay down their lives,” the Hindustan Times quoted him as saying. “If we form the government, we will give the status of martyrs to those paramilitary soldiers who lay down their lives in the line of duty.”

At least 40 Central Reserve Police Force jawans were killed when a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden vehicle into a convoy in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14. Earlier this week, Gandhi had met the family of one of the CRPF jawans in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district.

“While talking to the families of martyrs, I knew what it felt like to be where they were,” Gandhi said. “My father, too, was blown to pieces and my grandmother was shot with 32 bullets.”

Gandhi alleged that a lack of jobs was leading to anger among the citizens. “In my journey to Shamli, I interacted with many youngsters, and many stated that they are not employed,” he said. “We should solve the employment crisis to remove anger in the society.”

The Congress chief described demonetisation as “the biggest scam” in India and also accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government of “demolishing” the Right To Information Act in a bid to reduce transparency.