Daily Newsings: 29th April

Political parties in India promise to do a number of things if they are voted to power. The list of these promises is published in the form of an ‘election manifesto.’ The Congress’ election manifesto, the Nyaya Patra, has a number of promises that bode really well for the country if implemented well. I’d like to highlight 2 of these promises and show why they must be commended.

Fill job vacancies

The Congress’ manifesto promises to fill the nearly 30 lakh vacancies in sanctioned posts at various levels in the central government.

Unemployment is one of the major issues in the country right now. In an academic paper based on the study published in the Indian Journal of Labour Economics, it was stated that there were approximately 2 Crores 43 lakh (or 24.3 million) people in the country who were unemployed. And an additional 11 Crores 90 lakhs (119 million) people were not added to the potential labour force during the same. [1] (The data is from 2020-21)

Increasing the MGNREGA to ₹400 a day

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rozgar Employment Guarantee Act is an act of the government which guarantees 100 days of employment in a year to every unemployed person in the country. The people would have to register for it. They would be given various jobs such as building ditches or building roads, etc. This is a huge source of relief to many people in the rural parts of the country.

However, they get paid around ₹300 a day currently. So, for hard physical labour often in the sun, they can only a little more ₹30,000 for the entire year.

Increasing the amount to ₹400 would make things slightly better while still making it possible for the government to pay all the workers.

God cares about justice and equity

The God of the Bible is someone who cares deeply about the poor of the land. As God delivers judgment upon Israel in Amos, oppression of the poor is one of the sins that the Lord condemns: [they] trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth and turn aside the way of the afflicted. (Amos 2:7) And in Proverbs 31:8-9, Lemuel calls upon us to defend the rights of the poor and the needy. When Jesus begins preaching in Luke 4:18, he reads from Isaiah, saying that he is preaching good news to the poor.

In the Old Testament, the people of Israel were commanded to not harvest the crops till the edge of the field. (Leviticus 23:22). This was left for the poor and the foreigners in the land. Generosity was in a sense forced upon the people of Israel through the law. It costs the owner of the field to leave the fruits at the edges of the field. In addition to this, the owner had to give a tenth to the Levites. And yet, the Lord calls upon his people to be joyful and generous.

Today, ensuring that a few lakhs of people in India can get a job, or that their pay for all their hard labour could be increased would cost the rest of the tax-paying citizens. It might increase the taxes of the rich by a bit. And this is in addition to the offerings and tithes we give to church and other ministries. And yet, the people of God ought to rejoice that perhaps one more person in the country could get even perhaps ₹40,000 a year.


[1] https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/iim-study-points-to-structural-problems-in-indian-labour-market/article67857448.ece

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