Mumbai, Dec 8: Amid fears of jobless growth, former President Pranab Mukherjee today urged the government to ensure employment creation with a special focus on the rural unemployed.
"What type of a growth would we like to have? We must have growth with jobs. Jobless growth cannot be the object of a country like ours, he said speaking at the RD National College here.
"We must have job creation and there must be a balance between the job creation in the urban unemployment and the rural unemployment," he added.
Mukherjee, who demitted office in July this year, said recent figures suggest a "marked improvement" in the reduction of unemployment ratio in urban areas but the rural areas continue to face troubles.
"I do hope the government and particularly the finance minister, while presenting his budget, will take note of this," he said.
The remarks come within months of the complaint by then Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, about jobless economic growth in the country.
"The current growth is a jobless growth. Many European and Asian countries, including India, are facing it... growth is being reported but it is not reflecting in employment generation," he had said.
A slew of experts have been stressing on the need to create enough jobs in the economy, warning that the country's demographic dividend can turn into a demographic nightmare if this area is not addressed.
He said providing employment for a limited days every year is now a constitutional guarantee after the UPA government passed the right to jobs in 2008.
The country s GDP growth accelerated to 6.3 per cent for the second quarter after plummeting to a three-year low of 5.7 per cent in the preceding three months.
Mukherjee, who has held the Finance portfolio twice, welcomed the growth uptick and said that the next two quarters will see the economy growing by over seven per cent.
He also said that the present level of inflation measured both by the wholesale prices and consumer prices is at a "comfortable level."
He said the current state of non-performing assets in the banking system is a "major concern."
Without touching upon the need for reforms at the state-run lenders, he welcomed the Government's move to inject capital into the banks and added that every finance minister will have to do it.
He claimed that the banks have been able to overcome the problems of NPAs without the government having to provide huge support as seen in some western countries post-crisis.
Mukherjee asked for massive investments in the education sector so that we can deliver on the constitutional promise of social justice.
The country s universities have not been able to produce one Noble laureate since C V Raman and the people of Indian origin like Amartya Sen won the coveted prize after working in foreign varsities, he pointed out.
He stressed on the need for an enabling atmosphere, and also rued that the present education system has not been able to create the motivation which is needed for research purposes.