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Tuesday, 8 May 2018

The Hindu Editorial: Stop This Jobs Charade

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The Hindu Editorial: Stop This Jobs Charade

Title: Stop this jobs charade 

(India must debate solutions to the employment problem, as a true democracy should and would) 

Context:- In January this year, the Prime Minister made this statement: “7 million new jobs created in 2017.”. 

Here is another: “10-12 million young people join the workforce every year and 7 million new and formal jobs were created in 2017,” said the Minister of State of Civil Aviation, in April. 

The Minister not only parrots the Prime Minister but also expounds how 10 to 12 million youth enter the labour market every year looking for a job and that the government has created 7 million newformal jobs for them — implying that almost everyone who is looking for a job found one, formal and informal jobs combined. 

And another: “6.22 million new jobs created in 2017-18,” said the Vice Chair of NITI Aayog, in April. He goes a step above by giving us a seemingly precise estimate of 6.22 million new jobs being created by the government. 

The icing and cherry on the “jobs cake” is then placed by a member of this Council who claims that even the Prime Minister was wrong and that India did not create just seven million but 15 million new jobs. 

Hence, summarising all these pundits, every Indian who was looking for a job was besieged with multiple job offers. Perhaps the only thing the government needs to do now is to set up youth counselling centres across the country to help India’s youth decide which of their many job offers they should choose, and match their career aspirations. 

Every single ‘Mood of the Nation’ survey (such as Lokniti CSDS, India Today, Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy) shows that unemployment and jobs for youth are the biggest concerns of Indians. Yet, the Prime Minister and his team are squabbling over whether every Indian who is looking for a job got one formal job offer or two. 

Data sources 

One single data point from the government’s 2018 Economic Survey is proof of how grave India’s jobs problem is. The survey observed that 90% of all employees in the formal sector earn less than ₹15,000 a month. 

That is, most of those who are privileged to have a formal job in the country (including experienced seniors) earn less than ₹15,000 a month. One can then impute that new formal sector jobs for first-timers will pay perhaps half — ₹7,500 a month. 

To put this in context, if a person in India can find no job whatsoever and is forced to enrol himself in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act programme, he is guaranteed to earn at least ₹6,000 a month, which is the equivalent of India’s unemployment insurance. 

If, as our pundits claim, India’s economy is spewing jobs all over and there is so much demand for youth in formal sector jobs, surely it should reflect in higher salaries than just ₹7,500 a month? 

Serious topic 
The issue of jobs is a global issue that is confronting all major economies today, including the developed ones. We are yet to bear the true impact of automation and other technological disruptions on job creation. It is not about the National Democratic Alliance versus the United Progressive Alliance. It is not about the left wing versus the right wing. 

Final Words 
As a nation, we have to deal with this very serious issue in a mature manner. Let us begin by accepting a few truths, however harsh they may be. Let us then debate and discuss ideas to find solutions, as a true democracy should and would. 

Idioms & Phrases 
1) A wee bit = A little 
2) Under one’s thumb = Under one’s control 

One word Substitution 
1) Lasting only for a moment = Momentary 
2) One who is indifferent to pleasure or pain = Stoic 

Title: Where the law needs to change track 
(The recent deaths of schoolchildren at an unmanned rail crossing highlight why the Railways Act must be amended) 

Context:- In late April, a bus with schoolchildren collided with a train at an unmanned railway level crossing, near Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh. Thirteen of them died. This is not the first time that an incident of this nature has occurred, so some questions need to be asked. Is there any mandate for manning all level crossings? 

In an incident such as this, where the bus driver was reportedly negligent, is the railway administration liable even if the train engine driver cannot be faulted? 

Legal issues 
We can look for some answers in a 1997 Supreme Court judgment (Union of India v. United India Insurance). In May 1979, at Akaparampa in Kerala, 40 passengers and the driver of a passenger bus that had been hired were killed when the vehicle was hit by a train at an unmanned level crossing. 

A claim for damages for negligence of the defendant falls in the arena of a civil wrong called a tort action. 

Railway Claims Tribunals 
Only a passenger on a train can make a claim before the Tribunal. Passengers of a bus or motor vehicle who may have been harmed after a collision with a train can only approach the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal. 

However, this tribunal can entertain the claim against the Railways also as a joint tortfeasor if the negligence of the Railways is established. 

The Supreme Court borrowed the neighbourhood principle. It said that the duty of care for the Railways extends not only to those who use the Railways’ services but also to people who are “neighbours” — namely, users of vehicles on roads that intersect with tracks. 

Need for continuous audit 
The decision by the Railways to equip all level crossings in India with gates by 2020 does not mean that unmanned gates will be relegated to history. 
After all, these gates have not come about because the Railways laid tracks across roads and kept these places unguarded. 
On the other hand, because of the operations of the Railways, where tracks are laid across large tracts of land, there is greater human movement in these areas; in turn, roads are laid across tracks on both sides. 

Final Words: 
The railway administration should have continuous audit of tracks; when new roads come on either side, traffic must be calibrated, adequate infrastructure built, and safety measures put in place. 

Phrasal Verb 

1) Fall back = Withdraw or retreat to a previous position 

2) Back down = Stop defending opinion in a debate 

Vocabulary words: 

Collide (verb) = Hit by accident when moving (भिड़ना) 

Man (verb) = Defend or fortification 

Measly (adj) = Ridiculously small or few (तुच्छ) 

Aggrieved (adj) = Feeling resentment at having been unfairly treated (दुखित) 

Tort (noun) = A wrongful act 

Tortfeasor (noun) = A person who commits a tort 

Tribunal (noun) = A body established to settle disputes 

Nonfeasance (noun) = Failure to perform an act that is required by law (कर्त्तव्य पूरा न करना) 

Breach (noun) = Violation (उल्लंघन) 

Precedent (noun) = Exemplar, model (मिसाल) 

Corollary (noun) = A direct or natural consequence or result (परिणाम) 

Plaintiff (noun) = A person who brings a case against another in a court of law 

Belie (verb) = Fail to give true impression of something (झुठलाना) 

Irrational (adj) = Not logical (तर्कहीन) 

Perilous (adj) = Full of danger or risk (जोखिम) 

Inherently (adv) = In a permanent, essential (स्वाभाविक) 

Adjudication (noun) = A formal judgement on a disputed matter (निर्णयादेश) 

Stampede (noun) = A sudden panic rush (भगदड़) 

Hitherto (adv) = Until now (अब तक) 

Parrot (verb) = Repeat mechanically 

Expound (verb) = Present or explain in detail (व्याख्या करना) 

Berate (verb) = Scold or criticize angrily 

Precisely (adv) = In exact terms, exactly (ठीक) 

Besiege (verb) = Surround or harass 

Sordid (adj) = Involving immoral actions, disgusting 

Squabble (verb) = Quarrel noisily over a trivial matter (तकरार) 

Inane (adj) = Lacking sense or meaning (अनर्थक)


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