National Unemployment Day on PM Narendra Modi’s Birthday

This irreverent expression of dissent on the birthday of the Prime Minister by such large numbers of people, unaffiliated with any groups, in the middle of a pandemic, would have been unthinkable even a few months ago.

national unemployment day

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday today is being celebrated by the people of the country as ‘National Unemployment Day’. After the recent protests held for ‘5 minutes at 5 pm’ on September 5, and ‘9 minutes at 9 pm’ on September 9, the people of the country are protesting for 17 minutes at 17:00 hrs today, on September 17.

#NationalUnemploymentDay and #राष्ट्रीय_बेरोजगार_दिवस (National Unemployment Day) have both been the top trending hashtags on Twitter today as protestors express their views about the complete failure of the economy under the current government.

This is part of a recent wave of opposition to the Modi government, with the youth at the forefront, where thousands of people are expressing their discontent with the government. The government’s recent decision to conduct various exams in spite of widespread opposition and appeals from students began this wave a discontent, that has been further solidified by the effects of the massively mishandled pandemic, the record fall in the GDP of 23.9 percent, rising unemployment and inflation, and large-scale privatization.

According to a report by Koustav Das on India Today, over 18.9 million salaried individuals or 21 per cent of the overall workforce had lost their jobs due to the pandemic as of July. Currently, 1 in every 10 people living in urban areas does not have a job. According to another report by Anand Patel, The National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO) job survey for 2017-18 had shown a spike in the unemployment rate to over 6 per cent, the highest in 45 years, but the report was not released by the government, which termed it as a draft report. For the first time, there has been a huge reduction in regular salaried jobs as well, hitting the middle class more than before.

And yet, the government has turned a blind eye to the massive financial crisis looming in front of the country, choosing instead to focus on corporates and their profits. Amit Bhaduri writes,

“No matter lockdown or pandemic, the government changes labor and environmental laws to help the industry. It gave them tax break in terms of foregone government revenue which is almost double the money it spends today on MGNREGA…

The government is not interested in the economy. Instead, the government is interested in protecting and augmenting the fortune of its selected group of industrialist friends who in turn would help it in times of election.”

This irreverent expression of dissent on the birthday of the Prime Minister himself by such large numbers of people, unaffiliated with any groups, in the middle of a pandemic, would have been unthinkable even a few months ago, when Modi was still seen as an infallible, supreme, leader. The BJP IT cell is falling behind, and the will of people is making itself unapparent against the inhumanity of this government.

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