The Shiv Sena on Monday said that the country is in an economic crisis, and asked Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to find a solution to it. In an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana, the Shiv Sena said that while the stock market cheered the return of the Narendra Modi-led government, the Gross Domestic Product growth rate has declined and the problem of unemployment has increased.

The GDP growth rate for the fourth quarter of 2018-’19 hit a four-year low of 5.8%, government data showed on May 31.

The Shiv Sena said that the Centre must focus its attention on combating unemployment for the remainder of the year. It said that while farmers voted for Prime Minister Narendra Modi despite the destruction of their crops and lack of works, unemployed youth also cast their ballot for the prime minister in large numbers.

“The question of increasing unemployment cannot be tackled by mere talk and propaganda,” the Shiv Sena, which is an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party, said. “Action is necessary. According to the data put forth by the National Sample Survey Office, unemployment has increased to 6.1% in the year 2017-’18. This is the highest in the last 45 years.”

The report was released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation on May 31, though unofficially, the numbers were leaked in January.

The party said that while Union minister Nitin Gadkari was right in his claim that the problem of unemployment was not created by the BJP, the government had promised to provide two crore jobs a year. “The Nehru-Gandhi family cannot be held responsible for failing to achieve this promise,” the Shiv Sena said. “In fact, employment levels have continuously decreased.”

The party said that in 2015-’16, over 37 lakh job positions were vacant, but only 1.48 lakh people were recruited. In 2017-’18, as many as 23 lakh job positions were to be filled, but only 9.21 lakh people were recruited. The party said that in urban areas, 19% of men between the ages of 18 and 30 are unemployed. For women, this figure stands at 27%.

The Shiv Sena also pointed out that in the last five months, 315 farmers had committed suicide in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra alone.

The party said that foreign investment is an unreliable indicator and cannot reduce unemployment. “Unemployment can be reduced and GDP growth rate increased only through investments in new businesses, ports, roads, airports, transport and other such sectors,” it added.

The Shiv Sena also said the proposed Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train and the Rafale jet deal will not provide jobs to people. “Unemployment cannot be overcome by mere play of words,” it said. “This is an economic crisis. The new finance minister should find a solution!”