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India’s Congress Party Promises ‘First Job’ Guarantee for Graduates in Election Manifesto

India's Congress Party Promises 'First Job' Guarantee for Graduates in Election Manifesto

In a bid to address the pressing issue of high youth unemployment in India, the main opposition party, Congress, has unveiled a bold election promise. The party, led by former chief Rahul Gandhi, announced on Thursday its commitment to providing paid apprenticeships to every graduate under 25 if it secures victory in the upcoming national elections.

The proposal, part of the Congress party’s manifesto, aims to tackle the alarming unemployment rates, particularly among educated youth, which have been a growing concern in the country. With opinion polls forecasting another challenging electoral battle for Congress against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the promise of employment opportunities for young graduates underscores the party’s efforts to resonate with voters.

Rahul Gandhi took to social media to unveil the ambitious plan, stating, “We are going to ensure your ‘first job’ of Rs1 lakh ($1,209) per year. This historic plan of ours is a forever cure for the disease of unemployment.” Gandhi, currently engaged in a nationwide campaign to mobilize young voters in favor of Congress, emphasized the significance of the proposed ‘Right to Apprentice Act.’

Under this proposed legislation, every graduate under 25 would be guaranteed a one-year apprenticeship in either a government or private institution, with the possibility of continuing employment thereafter. Gandhi described the initiative as revolutionary, asserting that it would bridge the skill gap between Indian industries and the country’s workforce, thereby transforming both sectors and shaping the future of India’s youth.

The urgency of such measures is highlighted by statistics revealing the severity of youth unemployment in India. According to a report by Azim Premji University, the unemployment rate among graduates under 25 stands at a staggering 42.3 percent. This stark figure contrasts sharply with the unemployment rate of less than 5 percent for those aged 35 and above. Recent data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy further underscores the gravity of the situation, indicating an overall unemployment rate of 8 percent in February, up from 6.8 percent in January.

Economists and industry leaders have long lamented the mismatch between the skills possessed by young graduates and the demands of the job market in India. A study conducted recently revealed that less than half of India’s young graduates who apply for jobs possess the necessary skills to be employable, highlighting a systemic issue that needs urgent attention.

In response to these challenges, Congress’s proposal aims not only to provide employment opportunities but also to enhance the employability of India’s youth. By offering apprenticeships that combine practical training with on-the-job experience, the party seeks to equip young graduates with the skills and expertise required to thrive in today’s competitive job market.

As the election campaign heats up and parties vie for voter support, Congress’s promise of a ‘first job’ guarantee for graduates has emerged as a significant policy announcement. With youth unemployment looming as a critical issue affecting millions of young Indians, the party’s proposal offers a ray of hope for a brighter future, promising tangible solutions to address the pressing challenges faced by the country’s youth.

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