Former finance minister P Chidambaram rapped the interim budget announced by the central government, arguing that it had two words missing-- education and jobs. In a jibe at the government, he said the reason for the missing words was that had they been uttered, the youth of the country would have rejected their 'pakodanomics'.
Mr Chidambaram was referring to the remark made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year in which he had compared selling pakodas a proper job.
"Two words that are missing from the Budget speech are education and jobs. In the 10 point vision document presented by Finance Minister (Piyush Goyal), there is nothing about education, nothing about jobs," Mr Chidambaram was quoted as saying by news agency IANS.
"There is nothing about jobs because if they say anything about jobs, the youth will dismiss it as 'pakodanomics'," he added.
The country's unemployment rate was at a 45-year-high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18, according to the National Sample Survey Office's (NSSO's) periodic labour force survey (PLFS), which has been accessed by the Business Standard newspaper.
After the disclosure, BJP's main rival, the Congress, renewed its attack on the government over unemployment. "NoMo Jobs! The Fuhrer promised us 2 Cr jobs a year. 5 years later, his leaked job creation report card reveals a National Disaster. Unemployment is at its highest in 45 yrs. 6.5 Cr youth are jobless in 2017-18 alone. Time for NoMo2Go," party chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted on Thursday.
NITI Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar on Thursday defended the government, saying it is "not verified" and the "veracity of the data is not known".
"The data shows unemployment to be highest in 45 years and the government doesn't have a word about jobs in the budget speech. The government doesn't have a word on what it intends to do about reforming education both quantitative and qualitative," Mr Chidambaram added.
In the interim budget presented in an election year, the government today offered sops to the people of the middle class and farmers. While the income tax exemption limit has been hiked to Rs 5 lakh, farmers with less than two acres of land will receive direct annual handouts of around Rs. 6,000 rupees.
There was no mention of employment generation, which was one of the promises made by the BJP before 2014 general elections.
The general election will take place before May this year.
With inputs from IANS
Get the latest election news, live updates and election schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on ndtv.com/elections. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the 2019 Indian general elections. Election results will be out on May 23.