Congress leader Rahul Gandhi once again targeted the Narendra Modi-led government and warned that India will not be able to provide jobs to its youth because of the severe economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, ANI reported on Thursday. He claimed that his predictions would come true within six to seven months.
“India will not be able to provide employment to youth,” Gandhi said in a video message. “Media made fun of me when I warned the country that there will be heavy loss due to Covid-19. Today I am saying our country won’t be able to give jobs. If you don’t agree then wait for six to seven months.”
On Wednesday, the Congress leader said that nearly two crore people became unemployed in the last four months due to the pandemic. The news report cited by Gandhi claimed that around 1.89 crore people lost their jobs in India since April.
“The future of two crore families is in the dark,” he added. “The truth about unemployment and destruction of the economy cannot be hidden from the country by peddling fake news and hatred on Facebook.”
Gandhi was referring to an August 14 report in The Wall Street Journal that claimed that Facebook had chosen to ignore hate speech made by the Bharatiya Janata Party on its platform, to protect its commercial interests in India. A political controversy has erupted over the allegations, which the saffron party has denied. The Congress on Tuesday even wrote to Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg asking him to investigate the matter.
Gandhi has repeatedly attacked the Modi-led government over the past few months over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak in India. On August 9, he claimed that Modi had failed to provide the two crore jobs every year that he promised. He also accused the prime minister of enacting policies that “destroyed India’s economic structure”, and left many people jobless.
Since the pandemic shut businesses in March, unemployment in the country has surged sharply. On Monday, a report by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy said nearly 50 lakh salaried persons lost their jobs in July as a result of a partial lockdown.
The finance ministry, in a report released on July 6, said that India’s Gross Domestic Product is expected to contract 4.5% in the 2020-’21 financial year as predicted by the International Monetary Fund. The ministry cited the “unprecedented Covid-19 induced supply-demand shocks” for the downward revision of the economic growth.
The Reserve Bank of India’s projections have also shown that India’s Gross Domestic Product will contract in 2020-’21.
The Narendra Modi-led government imposed a complete lockdown in the country from March 25 to April 19, banning all except essential activities. From April 20, very limited economic activities were allowed to resume. In June, the government began the “Unlock 1” phase, slowly reopening the economy and devolving decision-making power to the states.