Jawaharlal Nehru gets blamed for IT sector job losses

Ranjona Banerji

Which of the following are the biggest issues affecting India today:

1) A just-retired judge of the Rajasthan High Court informing us that peacocks are celibate and peahens conceive by drinking peacock tears?

2) Actress Priyanka Chopra wearing a knee-revealing dress when she met Prime Minister Narendra Modi?

3) Farmers in Maharashtra on an indefinite strike over loan waivers and their various largely ignored problems?

4) India’s growth rate for the fourth quarter of 2016-2017 falls to 6.1 per cent, because of November 2016’s demonetisation exercise?

Let’s leave the usual bull out of the reckoning for now and move on. Let’s forget those really bad puns also, please.

The Rajasthan judge certainly took Twitter by storm because, well, it’s obvious. Such a breathtaking grasp of biology and ornithology, and even evolution, is most uncommon and must be admired and applauded. These are our judges who keep our judiciary’s standards high; long may we prosper.

Actress Priyanka Chopra, if you go by our most loyal fans of the PM and upholders of the best of Indian culture on social media, has committed a disastrous act of moral repugnance. To show someone, and that too a prime minister, her knees? It is possible that Indian culture may never recover from this.

How about the farmers? Farmers largely exist in India to be ignored and to suffer quietly by themselves. Lip service is paid to their efforts in slogans now and then, usually the same slogan which has been in use for 50 years. The rest of the time, city folk, corporatewallahs and economists discuss how India has to move beyond agriculture (while voting for the cow people, of course. Sorry, I couldn’t resist that dig).

That leaves the Indian economy. The most taboo subject of all. I heard on TV the other day that the Indian economy has never been better and demonetisation has been a success. Of course, this was outright pandering to the ruling party by the news anchor. But still. Despite all evidence to the contrary, fanboys and fangirls of the government have been applauding demonetisation since the results of the Uttar Pradesh elections were announced.

We have all heard the Union finance minister telling us that everything is fine and on track. Various corporate heads, analysts, former corporate honchos and economists have also assured us that India is the fastest growing economy that has never done better. Yes some have admitted perhaps jobs have not increased that much but the fiscal deficit is down, yaay! Others have played down the loss of jobs in information technology because well, these things happen, and Jawaharlal Nehru definitely has to share some of the blame.

Now, despite all these fantastic PR efforts to shore up our confidence in our able political masters, what do we find? That figures released by the government show us that India’s GDP growth has fallen from 7 per cent in the third quarter to 6.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016-2017. Various experts are clear that the demonetisation exercise carried out at the end of 2016 is responsible for this.

I’m not an economist and I don’t even pretend to be one. Nor am I a corporate honcho or a former corporate honcho or a TV expert on just about everything. But like anyone else who lives in India, and is not an economist, I am aware of the effects of demonetisation, of the collapse of various industries, of the loss of jobs, of the panic and despair felt by the economically underprivileged.

Given all this, it is hardly surprising that we have become obsessed with cattle and the fact that peacocks are celibate creatures that excrete sperm as they cry.

Frankly, what else can one do but cry?

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