Karnataka’s Congress government created jobs during its five-year tenure while the BJP-led Cental government destroyed them due to the mismanagement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his team, said former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday.
“The Congress government in Karnataka has been creating jobs for the youth. The southern state’s track record is in contrast to the national record in job creation. Instead of creating 2 crore jobs a year as promised by him in 2014, Modi has presided over a period where jobs have been destroyed due to his wrong policies,” he told reporters here.
On a day’s visit to campaign for the Congress ahead of the May 12 assembly elections, Manmohan Singh said in the 15-24 years age group, nearly 72 lakh jobs were lost over the last four years.
“It is normal in an economy to have sluggish job growth, as it happens when external factors are unfavourable. But job destruction is due to economic mismanagement and blunders like demonetisation and hasty implementation of the GST,” he said.
Observing that true leadership created opportunities and not destroy them, he said if the problems were not fixed at the earliest, the country would risk turning its demographic dividend into a demographic disaster.
Manmohan Singh also said that the Siddaramaiah government’s support to the industry made Karnataka highest in translating investment intentions into reality, more than Gujarat or any other state.
Indicating that Bengaluru provided an example of how a turnaround was possible, he said its entrepreneurial spirit made it a tech hub, move to the top from 12th position and rank as the world’s most dynamic city.
“In spite of pressures due to explosive growth in population and vehicles, the state government brought about a tangible change to the lives of the city’s 10 million people,” he said, adding that Bengaluru was the inspiration for the then UPA government to focus on urban development and launch the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.
“Development of cities should be a priority for every government with sustained efforts, funds and innovation. Instead, the Modi government has been content to come up with catchy tags like ‘Amrut’ and Smart Cities, which have under-performed. We are missing out on crucial years which require planning and investment to ensure our cities remain engines of growth,” he reiterated.
As the youth need quality education and support, Manmohan Singh said the state government was the first to announce a dedicated start-up policy and a third version of biotech policy to cater to the changing demands.
“Such a response to a dynamic environment has helped Bengaluru contribute $50 billion to our export basket. Credit for it goes to the many people who innovate daily and the Congress government that assisted in this transformation,” he said.
As youth flock to Bengaluru for its vibrant and open environment where entrepreneurship thrives, the former Prime Minister urged Modi to ensure the city’s professionals continue to work here and in the US by protecting its H1, H4 and L1 visas.
The Siddaramaiah government’s innovative policies like ‘Elevate’ has also made Bengaluru the country’s startup capital, he said, adding that with Bengaluru and Karnataka having shown the way, he hoped Modi would will learn and implement some of their lessons in his remaining tenure.