NEW DELHI (AP) — Hundreds of jobless young people marched Thursday through the streets of the Indian capital demanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government tackle what they called a rising unemployment crisis.
The protesters disputed the government’s claim that it has created millions of jobs since it came to power in 2014 with the economy growing around 7 percent annually. They marched from the 17th century Red Fort to a park near India’s Parliament building.
Dismissing the economic expansion as a jobless growth, the protesters said authorities should immediately fill 2.4 million vacancies in government jobs to reduce unemployment.
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Media reports say the government is suppressing data showing the country’s unemployment rate has hit a 45-year high of 6.1 percent. The government says the figures are premature and official numbers will be announced in March.
“We are frustrated. I think this government has to give lot of answers to a lot of us today,” said Ngurang Reena, a 27-year-old university student.
Amlokant Mako, another marcher, noted that Modi had promised to create 20 million new jobs a year. “He has not kept his promises,” he said.
In a sudden move in 2017, Modi’s government demonetized high currency notes of 500 rupees and 1,000 rupees to try to reduce black-market dealings and encourage digital transfers. But that hit India’s informal economy badly, with tens of thousands of jobs lost and businesses in several cash-intensive industries taking a beating.
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