Can running a Pakoda Kiosk be equated to unemployment?

In one of the editorials some days ago, we talked about why PM Modi’s pakoda seller statement was in bad taste. At the time of writing the editorial, I wanted to add one more point to the article, but didn’t see any reason to do that because adding that one more point would mean dragging the debate unnecessarily.
But after hearing BJP president Amit Shah’s speech in the Rajya Sabha on yesterday, it will be good to share that point with you.

In his maiden speech in Rajya Sabha yesterday, Mr. Amit Shah said and we quote:

“It is better for a youth to earn a living selling pakodas instead of being unemployed. Making pakodas is not shameful, what is shameful is comparing such a person with a beggar,”

On the face of it, Mr. Amit Shah supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement in which the PM equated employment growth with the increase in the number of pakoda sellers alongside roads, may look alright. On the face of it Mr. Amit Shah placing the act of pakoda selling over unemployment, will also seem logical. But is it that simple?

Can the employment question be compared with that simple reasoning: If you don’t get a job then why not start a road side kiosk or start your own business or start your own tech company or become a entrepreneur?

The answer is NO.

The statements such as: Hard work is better than begging OR instead of asking for jobs increase your employability, are easier said than done. In other words, it is an advice which any unemployed person can get. That too, free of cost. If becoming an entrepreneur (starting a business of any level or size) would have been that easy then we would be seeing a World where Employees were more than the Employers. We know that this is not the reality and it will remain so in future.

Now let’s come to the point we are talking about today.

Telling a young woman or a man with a College degree or multiple degrees in higher education, to run a Pakoda kiosk or even a modern day start-up doesn’t solve his/her employment question. It is rude as well. The advice can be used as a motivating slogan. But for real reasons it cannot replace the employment question. It will seem blunt to some readers, but after a level of institutional education (school, college education) the advice — Why cannot they run a roadside kiosk, is very similar to saying, why don’t you beg! is the same as advising someone to beg or break stones. For one simple reason, you don’t need college degree to beg or to break stones. If that is what a person with higher education is supposed to do, then why not do that without a college degree. And in that respect it will be like unemployment.

In addition, many a times we hear the reasoning of – Too crowded job market. That is there are too many engineers, graduates, post graduates etc. in India. The reasoning for unemployment can indeed be too much competition for jobs. But we must also remember that if jobs don’t grow at a required rate, then the unemployment situation becomes even worse. So the reasoning of – A highly crowded job market is a bad reasoning.

And finally to conclude, if the Government knows that the question of employment cannot be solved easily and people will have to take jobs below their level of education and living, then it must not encourage Colleges to release crores of freshers in job market every year. Is it acceptable that more than 15 Lakh engineers, Lakhs of BEds, crores of Post Graduates, graduates, professional degree holders reach job market every year, and all they get is some ADVICE?

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