By Arun Srivastava
Narendra Modi has directed BJP leaders and his ministerial colleagues to market his product Agnipath in a more professional manner and to accomplish the mission they should reach out to every individual.
Modi is known as a marketing guru. He can market anything. People of the country are aware how he fabulously marketed his own image notwithstanding being smeared by the Gujarat pogrom. It is interesting to watch Modi, a marketing expert promoting the democracy and Capitalism.
Marketing is the Engine of Capitalism. It is a widely established fact that without marketing, capitalism would collapse. Marketing’s job is to create a make believe value for some defined group. A company creates value by developing an attractive product or service and promoting it so that the intended market knows about the product’s existence and develops a desire for it. These are the primary principles of the Marketing.
The same principle is being adhered to in the case of Agnipath. The youths of country are hapless as they are bereft of any kind of job during the last eight years. The Modi government has virtually shut the job-door for the youths. Getting job with the Army was viewed with respect and reverence. But the same job has been turned into a commodity, a product.
No doubt a new entrant must get an honourable payment. But it should not be forgotten that the persons joining army in the prime youth are not joining only for money. It is their zeal, commitment, emotion and obsession that drive them to offer the supreme sacrifice. Unfortunately the manner in which Modi government has been projecting the financial gains to a new recruit simply gives the impression that Modi and his government did not have any respect for their sentiments and emotions. For him these youths are offering their services only for some attractive bucks.
It is strange to witness the top military officials, the chiefs of army, navy and air force, speaking the language of Modi. It is simply a case of looking at them with contempt. A question may be put to them; had they joined the Indian military only for money? How could these top officials forget that these youths are feeling cheated and their protest is the manifestation of their hurt feelings. Will they reply why the vacancies were not manned during last 4 years?
Marketing job today is to sell materialism and consumption. It is going to be more complicated and different in future. The reason is capitalism itself is passing through a bind. Its protagonists and even capitalists may espouse the cause of the capitalism, but they are not sure about path to move on. Making capital has different dynamics.
Modi by not filling up the huge vacancies is simply putting in practice the capitalist dictum of producing fewer goods and provide less employment. Capitalist dilemma is also witnessed in Modi changing the track just within 48 hours of the scheme. Once the youths turned violent and their agitation acquired a serious dimension Modi on Saturday asked top bureaucrats to prioritise the process of filling vacancies in government departments. He has come to believe that the capitalist economy is yet an alien idea to the common Indian and unless the economy is completely overhauled, his policies to hand over the country to his capitalist friends would not work.
His direction to expedite the filling of vacancies in the next few months gains importance with the opposition trying to turn “vacancies” into an issue of unemployment just ahead 2024 elections. The government had informed in February that there were over 8.7 lakh vacant posts in central government departments as on March 1, 2020.
It is sad that he has not bothered to put in place a mechanism or an agency equipped to handle recruitment of this scale in such a short time period. The jobs market in India has been contracting since the pre-pandemic days. As the CEO of the country and more over a person claiming to usher into New India should have taken distinct measures. Interestingly the announcement comes amidst the opposition’s charge that the Modi government failed to keep the BJP’s promise on jobs made before the last Lok Sabha poll.
Capitalism is failing. The workings of capitalism have been challenged both from the populist right and the socialist left. Before capitalism, there was work. Before markets, before even money, there was work. But now the capitalist flagbearers are averse to provide jobs. The reason is want to go for contractual workforce. Earlier at the beginning of the century work was perceived as the means to live, hence the campaign for a “living wage”. The workers’ fight was for a job that delivered maximum benefits, especially in terms of wages, especially in terms of time.
Modi government has resorting to this nature of initiative at a time when spiralling inflation and a tight monetary policy in the United States and elsewhere globally are threatening to derail growth and pushing the world towards recession. The slowdown is evident in India and has meant job cuts. In this situation, it is government spending, and more particularly on job recruitment, that can help mitigate the impending crisis. But the compulsion to protect the interest of the capitalist economy is so acute that the Modi government preferred to bow down.
Ironically the Modi government has not been concerned at all to protect the interest of the vast workforce. It was clearly manifest during the initial stage of the covid pandemic, when he gave only four hours to them to leave for safer places. Unfortunately it has also been revealed that both the Union and state governments do not have a complete picture of the number of workers. Even it does not have a detail information of the employees. As on March 1, 2020, the number of sanctioned civilian employee posts was 4,077,687, of which 3,190,903 posts had employees in position and there were 886,784 vacant posts, says the annual report on Pay and Allowances of Central Government Civilian Employees (2019-20).
There are apprehensions that with a large share of discouraged workers, India is unlikely to reap the dividend that its young population has to offer. To meet the needs of youth workers India needs to create at least 90 million new non-farm jobs by 2030, according to a 2020 report of McKinsey Global Institute.
There is no doubt that Modi was telling lies when he announced the Agnipath scheme will provide youngsters a proud future and serve the nation by working for the armed forces. He tweeted; “This will build their capabilities and skills, and India’s defence system will be further empowered as well”. Though in the wake of agitation has come out with the declaration that after 4 year stay in army, they would be given decent job alternatives, it is unfold the real picture.
A giant chunk of the disinformation is created and highlighted by an ecosystem close to the ruling BJP, the Narendra Modi government, and their supporters. The crooked concept about the future employment for the ex-Agniveers that the BJP leadership nurses is manifest in the offer made by their senior leader Vijayvargiya; priority would be given to Agniveer soldiers if he has to hire security services at party offices. The party would employ them as the door keepers. There is little doubt that Vijayvargiya has insulted the young aspiring army personnel of the country and belittled the valour of the armed forces guarding the country. (IPA Service)